So what’s up with calories?
I used to be a counter. A calorie counter. A human calorimeter.
I used to think too, that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, like so many of you guys, yes, YOU, I know you still believe that at the bottom of your heart, even though you read it somewhere, that it’s all about metabolism and hormones, and also about gut bacteria, and also … many things, but at the end at the day, you still count, just to be on the safe side, don’t you? I used to be EXACTLY like that.
Recently I’ve been asked this question, “Is it better to count calories or to control portions?”
Neither. Both inefficient and time/energy consuming methods to lose/maintain weight and improve body composition (How much muscle and fat you carry).
I’ve been studying nutrition, diet theories, practicing it all on myself and people I work with for many years now, and I’m really starting to see patterns and “laws”, that many people like you, who aren’t THAT obsessed about it wouldn’t normally see or think about.
Things like, where all these calories come from, how we really know how many calories our body absorbs when we eat certain foods, how we measure calories in our foods in the first place, and how we really know what actually happens to our food once it’s inside our bodies.
Why calories is NOT a calorie?
It’s been researched and proven, that our body spends the most amount of energy processing proteins and getting energy from proteins, breaking down protein molecules into different amino acids and either assembling new proteins, that the body needs, or using proteins for energy, if there is not enough from carbohydrates and fats we eat. Using proteins for energy is VERY energy consuming. That’s why eating a diet high in protein and low in carbs and fats is basically a form of starvation and people lose weight very quickly on high protein diets (Eating too much protein is not good for health though, but it works for weight loss).
“On average, a person uses about 10% of their daily energy expenditure digesting and absorbing food, but this percentage changes depending on the type of food you eat.
Protein takes the most energy to digest (20–30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it). Next is carbohydrates (5–10%) and then fats (0–3%).
Thus, if you eat 100 calories from protein, your body uses 20–30 of those calories to digest and absorb the protein. You’d be left with a net 70–80 calories. Pure carbohydrate would leave you with a net 90–95 calories, and fat would give you a net 97–100 calories.”
“Postprandial energy expenditure in whole-food and processed-food meals: implications for daily energy expenditure.”
Proteins, fats, carbohydrates are processed, digested and assimilated VERY differently depending on the food source. Carbohydrates from vegetables and carbohydrates from an Orep cookie are completely different on a molecular level. To get the energy from vegetables your body has to work hard! A workout from inside out, breaking down all those fibers. Even if you eat the exact same amount of calories, according to calorie tables, from both food sources, your actual usable energy consumption will not be anywhere close! Even if you don’t count in the fiber.
Same goes for proteins: protein shake VS steak, guess where you actually get more usable calories?
Same goes for fats: nuts VS oil, guess where you get more calories then?
You got the idea.
“Ever wonder how celery has negative calories? It takes more energy to break down and absorb the celery than the celery contains.
Eating costs calories: calories to chew, swallow, churn the stomach, make the acid in the stomach, make the enzymes, to make the rhythmic muscular contractions known as peristalsis that drive the food through, and so forth.”
Cooking. It’s been proven that cooked food, highly processed food, is digested much better than raw food.
Look at this example of a raw egg VS a cooked egg.
Isn’t it fascinating?
Think about it though, if you were to put both eggs into a calorie-meter machine, the result would be pretty much identical. (Out of curiosity google “raw egg calories” and “cooked egg calories”, the results are pretty much identical but what your body actually absorbs is at least 40% different!!!)
There are other factors, that play a role in how many calories you actually get eating different foods, hormones, metabolism, time of the day, your age, physical activity around meals, gender, gut microbiome, how well you chew, your emotional state etc., all these factors play a huge role in your nutrient absorption, resulting in weight loss, weight gain or maintenance, different body composition.
But the 3 above are easier to track and I noticed, that it’s not being talked about enough in diet books and different nutritional studies and it’s a hugely important topic!
How can you use this information to master your weight loss/body sculpting practice?
Eat whole, the least processed foods, foods that require the most chewing. Chew your fruits/greens and veggies instead of drinking juices and smoothies, eat your nuts and olives instead of oils, solid calories instead of liquid calories etc.
Eat your protein in a form of foods, not shakes. Eat protein with each meal, not overdoing it (Don’t go above 1 g of protein per kg of body weight, unless you are a hardcore competing bodybuilder). Protein from whole foods keep you satiated and full, protein also signals your body to build and preserve muscle mass, protein takes the most amount of energy to convert into usable energy.
Eat raw vegetables and green leafy salads, eat lots of uncooked fiber, especially from “al-dente” and raw non-starchy vegetables. Eat your negative-calorie foods. It’s a workout for your digestive system! And a great source of your essential vitamins and minerals. You’ll get slimmer each time you eat those foods!
That’s why ALL-WHOLE-FOOD DIET is so powerful and calorie is NOT AT ALL a calorie!
You get to workout from inside out several times a day eating the right kind of whole foods!
Even the best quality processed foods, like extra virgin olive oil, or the best protein supplements, are still inferior to whole foods, when it comes to leaning out and weight loss.
To control your weight loss progress — change the quality of your food first, and then measure your personal portions, keeping track of it, until you get the progress you seek. Don’t look at what others say or do. Change the quality of foods, track progress, if it works, don’t fix it, If it doesn’t work, change the foods, adjust portions eat more whole foods.
You don’t get healthy and stay healthy.
HEALTH is a DAILY PRACTICE. One bite at a time.
Daily Bite of Health
STOP COUNTING CALORIES.
CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT.