Calorie Counting: Let’s Start From the Start
We like simple things.
If I ask you to add two numbers, you wouldn’t mind doing it.
I DON’T KNOW DIVISION!
This is exactly what attracts people to Calorie Counting – A diet technique invented by an American fellow, Lulu Hunt Peters way back in 1918.
But in 1918, nutrition and fitness sciences were not fully developed (they still aren’t today, but we’ve come a long way). A large scale study or research – the most crucial step in proving a thesis, especially the effectiveness of a diet, was simply absent.
Then as nutrition sciences evolved and large scale studies became increasingly common, it became more and more evident that Calorie Counting is a highly flawed dieting technique.
Calorie Counting: Why Do People Love This Diet Technique
Calorie Counting is hands down the simplest (second simplest if you know about our Lean Queen Program for Weight Loss) diet technique known to mankind.
In Paleo Diet, the basis is that humans have progressed a lot, but our bodies and digestive systems still haven’t. So Paleo Diet focuses on what a typical human diet would be during the Paleolithic period devoid of all the processed food we have today.
The main idea behind the Mediterranean Diet is promoting the diets of Mediterranean countries of Greece, Italy, France and Spain. The features of these diets like using olive oil, eating a lot of fish etc are promoted and the diet is based on these features.
Mediterranean Diet Summed Up In a Picture
Beyond Diet promotes clean eating, tells you which foods to eat, which to avoid and believes in coupling exercise with nutrition to achieve fitness and weight loss goals.
In Atkins Diet, you can eat as much protein as you like, just avoid carbs and you are bound to lose weight. This is because; according to Mr. Atkins a low-carb diet increases your rate of metabolism thereby increasing the chances of weight loss.
Atkins Diet is a Fad Diet now!
Note -Atkins Diet has, like Calorie Counting, also been rejected as a legit diet, but it was highly popular once upon a time.
These are some of the most prominent diets around the world.
Each of them is either complex, based on science or both and has a lot of takers around the world.
Except Scientific Nutrition’s Lean Queen Program. We have a program, not a diet, which is really simple, based on science and facts and doesn’t ask you to count calories or lift weights. Did we mention about the successful users of Lean Queen?
Calorie Counting asks us to count calories and stop eating once you reach a certain limit. (People with bad math hate Calorie Counting, but the rest do just fine)
See? Calorie Counting doesn’t involve the intricacies of Mediterranen Diet, the science of Paleo Diet, the logic behind Atkins Diet or the reason behind Beyond Diet.
It simply asks you to add the number of calories you consume and stop for the day when you reach the limit prescribed by it based on your gender, age and lifestyle.
The simplicity of Calorie Counting is its biggest virtue.
Is there a logic or science behind this technique? Yes, a flawed one. (more on this later)
Is it complex? No way! Even a 5th standard kid can follow Calorie Counting.
The following paragraphs talk about Calorie Counting in more detail and illustrate its flaws.
Calorie Counting: Why Do Experts Hate It?
What is a Calorie?
It is so surprising that people find it hard to explain what a calorie is despite using the word several times a day!
A layman would be typically confused between food calories and scientific definition of calorie as a unit of energy.
Forget about the scientific calorie; let us concentrate on food calories…
Food Calories indicate the amount of energy that a particular food item supplies to your body.
Also, when it comes to food calories, there is no difference between a calorie and a kilocalorie. Some labels have the tendency to confuse shoppers when they mention ‘kcal’ on their labels.
Be assured, a calorie and a kilocalorie is one and the same in our topic of discussion (which is nutrition).
To give you an example, say, you had 2 boiled eggs for breakfast. Now each egg supplies 75 calories, so two eggs have supplied 150 calories to your body for carrying out your usual tasks like walking, cooking, working etc.
These 150 calories will be utilized completely if you walk for 3-4 kilometers and they will become burned calories.
Extrapolating this to your entire day, all your meals supply you around 1800-2200 calories. If you fail to burn them on most days, you will start putting up weight.
Sounds simple? Well, it is!
But there are some rules you need to play by! But Calorie Counting Diet Technique disregards all these rules and this is where it fails.
Calorie Counting is too proud!
Calorie Counting: The Technique
As mentioned before, Calorie Counting is an ultra easy diet to understand and perhaps even to follow for some.
Step 1: Identify Yourself
Are you a male or a female?
How old are you?
How much do you weigh?
Do you live a sedentary lifestyle or an active one?
After you have asked these questions and jotted down answers, you decide ideally how many calories you need to consume in a day. This is your magic number.
The following calorie calculator is helpful.
Calorie Counting doesn’t require you to segregate meals as breakfast, lunch or dinner.
You eat any time you like; you eat whatever you like; you eat however much you like.
But you keep a track of how many calories you are eating. Simply use the internet to determine how much calories your choice of food shall supply you.
Step 3: Eat
This is easy, right?
Eat and keep calculating the amount of calories you are consuming.
Step 4: Stop
Once you have eaten enough calories (the magic number in Step 1), stop eating for the day.
Do this day in and day out.
That’s Calorie Counting for you folks!
No restrictions on eating! Eat whatever you like. Exercising is a choice. Drink and smoke all you like!
By now, most of you, must have realized that Calorie Counting is as useless as it is simple.
But wait! It is not over yet…
In the next part we shall have a look at the flaws associated with Calorie Counting.
Sure they are just flaws, but they can give you handy tips and thumb rules when it comes to nutrition.
A wise man once said…
Success is nothing but modified Failure.
Calorie counting is a failure, for sure, but it can teach you valuable nutrition lessons through its flaws. So let’s go!
Calorie Counting: The Flaws
You Can Eat Anything!
The best criminals are the ones who can bend the law and still be within the law.
And trust our experience, dieters can be dangerous criminals.
You need to brief them precisely like a major does during wars. One command here and there and they can go berserk blaming it all on you.
This is the reason why we have precise instructions coupled with ample of freedom. This is the beauty of Scientific Nutrition’s Lean Queen Weight Loss Program.
But, calorie counting falls flat on its face in this regard. It gives you complete freedom to choose your foods.
People can literally gorge on burgers and pizzas and ice-creams and still be on this diet.
A diet without guidelines is bound to fail.
You Can Eat Anytime!
What is the best time to eat heavy foods or carb-rich foods?
Any seasoned dieter or someone who takes nutrition seriously will answer this correctly as – Breakfast, duh!
But if you are counting calories, you are not bound by this rule either!
You can binge eat all your 2000 odd calories at midnight and Calorie Counting wouldn’t blink an eye!
All it wants from you is to limit the calorie intake one day at a time. How it is to be done, is the dieter’s concern!
These two major flaws are actually nutrition lessons!
- Eat healthy foods throughout the day. Calorie Count doesn’t matter, the quality of the foods you eat does.
If You Eat Healthy, The Quantity Hardly Matters
- An adage that will hold its values for many, many years to come. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!
There are other flaws that work against Calorie Counting, but hardly any match the brazenness of the two mentioned above. Just for the record, let us list them down to you.
- You can never accurately count calories of your foods. The numbers on the internet are mere guidelines. A potato in Mumbai has different number of calories from a potato in Lucknow. Moreover, size is subjective. An apple that is medium for me might be a large one for you.
- If you finish up eating your stipulated number of calories by 4 p.m. in the evening, you have to go the rest of the evening and the night without eating anything else.
- Efficiency is subjective. I might be absorbing 80% of the calories I eat whereas someone else might be absorbing 50%. You can never accurately find out how many calories did you actually absorb.
- Baking, Roasting, Frying, Steaming and any other cooking techniques impact the calorie counts of foods by considerable margins. Remember how we said a boiled egg is worth 75 calories. That doesn’t mean a raw egg is the same. In reality, a raw egg is around 50 calories.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has said in a statement:
“Foods, being biological materials, exhibit variations in composition; therefore a database cannot accurately predict the composition of any given single sample of food.”
So there you have it, now you are a complete expert on Calorie Counting.
The next time someone says, “Hey have you heard about calorie counting?” You can tell them why it’s not the best of practices.