They said, "a calorie is a calorie," but not all calories are equal. They're not equal because they vary in effects in your weight and health. Each food is metabolized differently by your body, for energy and fat storage. There are a lot of confusing ideas, hearsay or factual information about counting calories. What is important is the source of the calories and not on counting them.
A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition and layman's language, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and energy usage through physical activity.
We don't need to count calories because it over simplifies healthy eating. Maintaining a healthy diet is often confusing and complicated. It is a common misconception that low-calorie foods are desirable, commendable and good as is that high calorie foods are undesirable and bad. It's a lot more complicated than that. These concepts can lead to eating anxieties, reproductive malfunctions and depression. Counting calories tempts and motivates people to consume processed rather than nourishing foods.
Counting calories kills the joy in eating. Eating with family or loves ones is a priceless thing and it should not be interrupted by counting those calories. It also interferes with a positive and healthy relationship with food. If you are calorie conscious, you probably focus on how to eat, rather than on how much you eat. This prevents you from building a relationship with food that is based on health rather than restriction. Instead of treating food as "life giving nourishment", counting calories makes you paranoid towards food. You become very defensive and overprotective to the extent of it being destructive to the body.
By eating less caloric foods, the body burns less calories. Your body is smart and clever. When you eat voraciously with proper foods, it normally burns more calories. When you overfeed your body with unhealthy foods or underfeed it with a lack of nutrient dense foods, it burns fewer calories. Prolonged caloric limitations slows our metabolism, and the Minnesota Starvation Experiment proved this. Healthy fit men were placed on a very low-calorie diet. It turned out that these fit and healthy men increased their obsession with food in order to gain more energy.
Counting calories is also extremely inaccurate. It is a misconception that calories from various foods are all the same, or that what is written on the label is always true and correct. The calorie tables we have today are not updated as we expect them to be. This is supported by dietitian Rich Miller who stated, "We've known for some time that the calculations in certain foods such as vegetables and high fiber foods are inaccurate. The calorie figures you see in a food label aren't always the amount you will ingest." The FDA allows a company to have some discretion in the labelling of nutritional information to their products. Example; food with a 5 or lower than 5 calories can be labelled as a calorie free food.
During an interview, ABC News' medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard stated that "there is something about diet foods that changes your metabolic limit, your brain chemistry." Savard said another recent study, which included more than 18,000 people, found healthy adults who consumed one diet drink a day could increase their risk of health problems and metabolic disorders by a whooping 30 to 40 percent.
Counting calories is not a way to guide your nutritional health. It should be used as just one of the many tools for weight loss and not a long-term remedy. It is a learning tool to be more conscious of how many calories are in soda and other junk foods that we encounter every day. A precautionary tool is the best term for it.
Counting calories only makes life harder. It adds more to your already busy life. Time and effort are needed to constantly tabulate calories in every meal, record all food intakes in a journal. You don't need to add burden to your busy life, but instead forget calorie counting, enjoy life, cook fresh, nutritious food and spare time for daily exercise.
Jee Ivan is a mother of two who just love to write about diet, weight loss, health and fitness related article, follow her on www.ways2diet.com or on her facebook page to get the latest update.