Calorie Counting, Does It Help?


Calorie counting as a way of keeping weight down doesn’t work.

It’s easy to count calories, but that’s not the same as burning them. There are lots of things that vary the rate that our bodies burn calories and simply just counting them doesn’t work for very long to keep our weight down.

Calories come from fat, protein and carbohydrates. Too many calories from any of these sources are stored in our body as fat. However, our bodies burn some foods better than others.

Vitamins and Minerals are Essential to Burn Calories 

Healthy bodies need 20 minerals, 13 vitamins and fibre – these don’t have calories. Their presence ensures efficient burning of calories. Calorie counting doesn’t take this into account.

With the amount of refined and processed food we eat it’s easy to get the ‘perfect’ number of calories everyday and at the same time suffer malnutrition. Lack of essential nutrients causes weight gain and disease.

Refined foods have had most of the fibre, vitamins and minerals taken away. Fibre fills us up. Refined foods are calorie dense and it takes a lot more of them to fill us up. To fill up on these we eat too much. To restrict the calories with this sort of food we are left hungry.

Also our body will continue to be hungry until it’s had its vitamins and minerals. Foods can’t be used by our bodies properly without vitamins and minerals, so instead they are stored as fat until they are available.

Not All Calories Are Even Burned

Essential fatty acids and other unsaturated fatty acids (fats found in whole grains, nuts, seeds and some oily fish) are used for structural and hormonal functions rather than for energy. Some of the protein we eat is used to repair and rebuild bits of our bodies.

Essential fatty acids, like all fats, have a lot of calories but they speed up our metabolism – not all calories are equal!

High Metabolism or Low Metabolism?

Some people have a ‘high metabolism’ and burn calories quicker than people with a ‘low metabolism’. This is a bit like doing the same journey in a Porsche compared with a 1L engine Mini. Both will get you where you want to go but the Porsche will use a lot more energy to do so.

So calorie counting does very little for us since we don’t know how many of them are used for energy and as an individual we don’t know how many we need each day.

Better ways to lose weight include:

  1. Eating a whole food diet – ensuring you get the fibre, vitamins and minerals you need
  2. Exercising regularly – to speed your metabolism so you burn calories faster

Comments and questions welcomed

Uber Health to you, Dr Julie (any ads that appear are nothing to do with me, I am NOT endorsing)

PS   I am looking for a hand full of volunteers to who want to lose weight and would like my help over the course of a few months, starting June/July 2013. Please email me if you are interested  :)

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5 thoughts on “Calorie Counting, Does It Help?”

  1. Great article. I agree, not all calories are the same. Have you read the studies showing how those with a low metabolic rate live longer? What a conundrum, high metabolism to lose weight, or low metabolism to live longer? Hmmm?

    1. Hi there – no I haven’t, I understand it to be the opposite in fact. What studies have you read? I’m really interested to know.
      What I have learned is there are 2 types of metabolism – anabolic and catabolic.
      People who have a high anabolic metabolism live healthier and longer lives. That’s because they are in repair, rebuild and rejuvenate mode. This type of metabolism also keeps us slim and is common in kids, young people and older people who really look after themselves.
      If we don’t look after ourselves we slip in catabolic metabolism, get fat, ill and die early.

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