Calories – Should You Be Counting Them

Prior to 1945 European physicians knew that obesity was a direct result of eating too many carbohydrates and sugars.

By the 1970's, the American medical establishment convinced the world that the obesity problem was due to total calories. Therefore, the answer to obesity was a semi-starvation diet.

David Ludwig, MD, PhDThe problem with a semi-starvation diet, is that obese people eat no more in terms of total calories than people with normal fat composition.

It isn't the amount of calories you consume, but rather the quality of calories that matter most for staying healthy, losing weight, and maintaining those results.

David Ludwig, MD, PhD, an endocrinologist, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School, and author of the 2016 weight-loss book Always Hungry?" says that when you eat the right quality of calories and balance of foods, your body can do the rest on its own. Ludwig says there is no need to count calories or go by the numbers.

For over two decades, Dr. Ludwig has been at the forefront of research into weight control.

His groundbreaking studies show that overeating doesn’t make you fat, but rather the process of getting fat makes you overeat.

For Dr. Ludwig, one of health’s most fundamental truths is a 2,000-year-old quote by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine: “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”

Get Your Copy of Dr. Ludwig's - Always Hungry? - by linking on image...

Always Hungry by Dr. David Ludwig MD


Jonathan Bailor, author of the book,The Calorie MythJonathan Bailor, author of the book, The Calorie Myth, says that counting calories leads to failure 95.4% of the time and often leaves people fatter.

Bailor says that many menopausal women consume 1,000 calories a day and yet, they still can’t lose weight. He says, "If you starve yourself, your body slows down your metabolism and burns muscle rather than fat.

And when you start eating normally again after a restrictive diet, you gain back more weight because you have a pokey metabolism that can’t do its job".

After over 15 years of research and collaboration with some of the top academics, doctors, scientists, and thinkers in the field of health and wellness, Jonathan Bailor has developed a revolutionary new model for weight loss and lifelong health.

He exposes the fundamental flaw upon which the diet industry has been built: the “eat less + exercise more = weight loss” equation simply doesn’t add up says Bailor.

Who Is Jonathan Bailor

Jonathan Bailor is a New York Times bestselling author and the world’s leading wellness engineer who specializes in using modern science and technology to simplify health.

Bailor has collaborated with top scientists and technology companies for more than 15 years to analyze and apply over 1,300 studies.

After analyzing and applying these 1,300 studies with the new science of fat loss, food, and fitness, Bailor explains how eating more of the right kinds of foods and exercising less (but at a higher intensity) is actually the key to burning fat, healing the body's hormones, boosting metabolism, and creating long-term weight loss.

As Dr. Ludwig says, so does Bailor, that eating lots of high-quality foods like whole plants and nutritious proteins, only then can the body achieve a natural, healthy weight on its own.

When Did Counting Calories Get Its Start

When Did Counting Calories Get Its Start

Physical Culture Study explains how counting calories got started…

“Although some state that Favre and Silbermann first coined the term calorie in 1852, recent works into the calorie’s origins tell a different story.

Between 1819 and 1824, it is said that French physicist and chemist Nicholas Clément introduced the term calories in lectures on heat engines to his Parisian students. His new word, ‘Calorie’, proved popular and by 1845, the word appeared in Bescherelle’s Dictionnaire National.

By the 1860’s the term had entered the English language following translations of Adolphe Ganot’s French physics text, which defined a Calorie as the heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water from 0 to 1°C.

By the 1880’s, the term was first introduced to the American public by Edward Atkinson in 1886. Professor Wilbur O. Atwater came next when he published on the calorie in 1887 in Century Magazine and again in the 1890s in Farmer’s Bulletin.

Atwater is in many ways the driving force behind the calorie’s popularity. From the 1890’s, Atwater and his team at Wesleyan undertook an exhaustive study into the caloric content of over 500 foods with the intent of producing a scientific and healthy way of maintaining one’s weight.

By the early 1900’s, Atwater was one of the leading authorities on dietary intake and his advice was simple. Cut out excess and ensure a balance between foods”.

Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, author of The Portion Teller Plan: The No Diet Reality Guide to Eating, Cheating, and Losing Weight Permanently says that when it comes to weight gain or losing weight, a calorie is a calorie.

Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD - author The Portion Teller Plan

Young says there are a myriad of reasons to base your food choices on criteria other than calorie content. For example, if the food you eat contains fiber, it will keep you feeling full longer, which can help prevent you from reaching for extra calories in order to fill yourself up.

It is extremely difficult to count calories accurately. A survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation reports that 67% of Americans say they take calories into account when making food purchases. The survey says that says 9 out of 10 have no idea how many they actually need.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, writes saying that researchers found that all people, no matter what their size, are more likely to be able to accurately guess the number of calories in small meals than in large ones. Overweight people tend to eat larger meals and larger portions, which explains why they tend to make mistakes counting calories.

Risk Factors Of Counting Calories

Risk Factors Of Counting Calories

Obesity is a risk factor in the development of chronic respiratory disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, obstructive sleep apnoea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome.

Also included are cardiovascular disease, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, and diabetes among many other health issues.

The journal Frontiers in Bioscience published saying that repeated periods of weight loss and regain have been termed “weight cycling” (and many people who weight cycle, count calories – italics ours). It has been speculated that weight cycling may further increase the elevated disease risk common with weight gain, obesity, and physical inactivity. 

weight cycling

Elevated body weight and adiposity (body tissue used for the storage of fat) are linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes by way of an inflammatory mechanism. Thus, it is reasonable to speculate that weight cycling causes a more profound change in chronic inflammation than sustained weight gain.

Many of the diets offered by the weight loss industry, which emphasizes calorie restriction over good nutrition, generates $58 billion in revenue annually in the USA.

And long-term follow-up studies reveal that the majority of individuals regain virtually all of the weight that was lost while on the diet, irrespective of whether they maintained their diet or exercise program.

weight loss industry

The British Medical Journal published through Open Heart an editorial entitled – It is time to stop counting calories, and time instead to promote dietary changes that substantially and rapidly reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

not all calories are equalThe editorial stated, that if you want to lose weight and improve heart health, stop counting calories, as all calories are not equal, and concentrate on eating a nutritious diet.

A small study published in the Journal Of Diabetes (find the study here and scroll to page 98), reported saying that a low-carbohydrate diet in patients with diabetes reversed echocardiographic markers of diastolic dysfunction within weeks of implementation.

And the published article was entitled, “A low glycemic/insulinemic diet improves diastolic cardiac function and metabolic syndrome more than the traditional low-fat diet in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes.”

Stop Counting Calories

Stop Counting Calories

stop counting caloriesThe information discussed here is only the tip of the ice burg. There is a lot more studies showing why you should stop counting calories.

For over 6 decades now, we have been told to count calories if you want to lose weight. But yet, 64% of the US adult population alone is either overweight or obese and the percentage is growing.

Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC has posted on their website the following statistics for 2013-2014 on overweight or obese adults, adolescents, and children in the US…

  • Percent of adults aged 20 and over with obesity: 37.9% (2013-2014)
  • Percent of adults aged 20 and over with overweight, including obesity: 70.7% (2013-2014)
  • Percent of adolescents aged 12-19 years with obesity: 20.6% (2013-2014)
  • Percent of children aged 6-11 years with obesity: 17.4% (2013-2014)
  • Percent of children aged 2-5 years with obesity: 9.4% (2013-2014)

And most of those people are struggling to lose weight applying the rule of thumb, counting calories.

The NIH reports that overweight and obesity are risk factors for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, and gallstones, among other health conditions.

The World Health Origination or WHO says that most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than being underweight.

Other fact finding organizations have reported that…

  • There are as many overweight people alive as there were TOTAL PEOPLE ALIVE  – 100 years ago
  • More than 40 million children UNDER 5 are overweight
  • Obesity is now the #1 health concern among U.S. parents, TOPPING DRUGS & SMOKING
  • The rate of diabetes and pre-diabetes has INCREASED ABOUT 100,000% in the last 100 years
  • Diet related diseases have OVERTAKEN TOBACCO AS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH in the U.S.
  • Obesity is shortening average life spans more than accidents, homicides and suicides COMBINED
  • Overweight kids have a 70% chance of struggling with excess fat FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES
  • Thanks to the obesity and diabetes epidemics, for the first time in U.S. history, TODAY’S CHILDREN ARE EXPECTED TO DIE AT A YOUNGER AGE THAN THEIR PARENTS

Now is the time to stop counting calories. Counting calories only….

  1. Takes the joy out of eating
  2. Encourages you to eat packaged processed food
  3. Doesn’t guarantee you’re getting the nutrients you need
  4. Teaches you to ignore your natural satiety cues
  5. Doesn’t work for maintaining a healthy weight loss in the long term
  6. Doesn’t address the root cause of your weight problem

Still need convening to stop counting calories to lose real weight and keep it off?

Take a look at this 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism 

The study looked at 15 overweight men and 13 overweight, premenopausal women over a 30-day period.

Analysis of food diaries revealed that the group consuming a low-carb diet (~9-percent carbohydrates, 63-percent fat and 28-percent protein) lost more weight than the low-fat diet group (~58-percent carbohydrates, 22-percent fat and 20-percent protein) in spite of eating nearly 300 calories MORE per day.

The men on the low-carb diet lost three times as much abdominal fat as the men on the low-fat diet.

Find out more here about – Which Carbohydrates Are Better For You

Link here for recipes that don’t require counting calories, because they are prepared with whole fresh foods

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