I was reading Tony Gentilcore’s blog post last week and I noticed a comment he made: “(…)there are numerous people (and nutritionist for that matter) who, despite knowing better, like to push off things like 100 calorie snack packs as viable “healthy” options.” That reminded me of a blog post I wrote about a year ago: Let’s Stop Over-Complicating Nutrition. (As a matter of fact, I was just re-reading it as I put the link to the original post, and it’s so good I have a hard time believing I wrote that!)
A lot of nutritionists, people involved in health and fitness, and people in general have been focusing way too much on calories when trying to improve their health. I have a groundbreaking news for you: IT’S NOT THE ANSWER! As I mentioned in my blog post linked above: “Good nutrition, no matter what your goal is, should be to eat as much natural, unprocessed foods as possible. Our ancestors never had any weight or cholesterol problem because they were eating too much red meat or too many eggs! And I’m pretty damn sure they never EVER counted calories either.” (Wait….did I just quote myself here?!? Next thing you’ll know is I’ll be referring to myself at the 3rd person!)
With that being said, counting calories is not the way to healthy eating habits. But why?
Focusing on the number of calories you’re eating, believe it or not, can lead you to making poor decisions about your diet. Here are a couple examples:
- Choosing low fat dairy products. While it seems like the smart thing to do, as you may already know dietary fat doesn’t necessarily translate into body fat, which is usually a huge misconception among most people. Also, there are estrogen hormones found in conventional (non-organic) milk that are linked to the growth of many tumors and different types of cancer; and “(…)one of the most biologically active and dangerous estrogen metabolites is found in the highest concentrations in skim milk(…) Whole milk also had the lowest total amount of estrogens”, according to Brian St. Pierre, a reputable nutritionist.
- Choosing low-fat variations of vinaigrettes and marinades. While a lot of the condiments available on the shelf of your local supermarket are not great to start with, when choosing the low-fat variety you’re basically substituting a source of fat (usually oil) that contains 9 kcal/gram for sugar, which contains 4 kcal/gram to make up for taste. Even if you get less calories here, processed white sugar is still one of the worst things you can put in your body. The best alternative is always to make your own vinaigrettes with olive oil, vinegar and spices.
- Choosing 100 calories snack packs over a natural food snack. If you’re going to eat a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts you’re already way over a hundred calories, but even if you smash me as hard as you can with a steel chair over the head, I still pick the piece of fruit and nuts over a 100 calories snack.
Those 100 calories snack packs are packed with processed ingredients and preservatives which realistically don’t bring you any nutrients nor do they fill you up. (Don’t tell me you couldn’t eat 5 of these 100 calories snack and still be hungry!)
These are really just a couple examples to show you that counting calories is not the answer. Focus on eating whole, natural foods; when doing that you get a bunch of fibers, vitamins , minerals and all the good stuff that helps make you feel fuller, longer. By doing that, it’s very difficult to over eat. Try and exercise a little bit every day in combination with that, and I guarantee you that you’ll never EVER need to count calories or go on a diet to loose weight.
Too many 100 calories snack packs for Yokozuna…
This might just be one too many wrestling references for a single blog post….so I’m done!
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