Calorie counting is accepted as “the right way” to choose what to eat to lose weight, but the truth is it doesn’t work.
That isn’t hyperbole – calorie counting does not work, and I’ll prove it to you. What if I gave you a choice between a small fries and a piece of grilled fish? Both have the same amount of calories but are definitely not the same in terms of benefit!
Most of the calories in the fries come from carbs and fat. The fat in fries is the worst kind of fat as well – trans fat! About 148 calories come directly from carbohydrate, and 153 from fat. Carbs are “empty” calories. They have no function in the body except to provide energy in the form of sugar. So those 148 calories are digested and released into the blood stream. as sugar. If not immediately used, this is turned into body fat.
Quite apart from being stored as fat, the simple sugars also lead to an insulin spike. The bad fat also does a number on the system, triggering inflammation and increasing bad cholesterol levels.
Now lets consider the fish. Only 3 calories in the fish come from carbs and 30 from fat. The bulk of the calories – 284 calories – come from protein. Protein provides “functional” calories. It is needed for many things other than providing energy, including building and repairing muscle.
Protein from the fish which is not used in those roles must also go through a complex and energy consuming process to be converted into sugar, and most of it is consumed.
As a result, only 79 calories are left to be used by our cells or stored as body fat. Also, because that energy comes through such a long process, the release of sugar into the blood stream is much slower and more consistent, and there is no potentially damaging insulin spike. So although both foods have the same number of calories, they are vastly different in their effect upon our bodies.
Which is why counting the calories they have is at best misleading, at worst irrelevant, and for weight loss just doesn't work.