Why is counting calories dangerous?

Counting: calories, points. This latter one is quite a new trend, maybe calories and counting them were getting boring somewhat, therefore a smart doctor or nutritionist came up with the idea of converting everything in points. Food on the one hand, and physical activities on the other hand. You can even find this “point-game” on the food-boxes. It is new as idea, but it is the same misleading as the calorie counting.

Let`s just see what this is all about. We need energy to function, basically to live. Food provides the energy, it is our fuel. Science invented the measure, the unit for this, the calories. Nowadays we are just obsessed with measuring everything, and we get confused if something is not measurable. It is strange. Why do we need figures for everything…? Anyway, getting back to calories. It is nothing wrong with the fact, that we can measure the energy provided by the food and the energy we need. However, as I said in a previous article, and as it is written in text books, it is very inexact and it shouldn`t constitute the point of reference when it comes about health, or even weight loss. It is inexact, because there are so many factors contributing to the fact how many calories we need on a certain day. Even the most professional doctor or nutritionist with the most professional tools will not be able to calculate the exact number of calories.

I want to point out why this is the wrong way. Why this is not the good approach if you want to be healthy, and it is the wrong way if you want to loose weight too. Again, you have to know that loosing weight is not the goal you should set.

Imagine your city`s drinking water supply. There is a certain quantity of water cleared, and ready to provide the city`s needs. Everyday, there is a quantity of water used by the population, and engineers make sure to clear the same amount of water in order to keep the supply balanced, to avoid shortage. The water tank has to have the same quantity of water all the time. Imagine our body as being the city`s water tank. The energy we use on a day is the water used by the city, and the energy we take in (through food) is the water filling the shortage.

Water out – water in, energy out – energy in. When we “operate at our best”, this energy out and in is the same. Of course taking more energy in than the energy we use, will lead to weight gain, and taking less energy in than the energy we use leads to weight loss. And here we are. This is the base of calorie counting and point counting. They say using this tool will help us keeping the balance. Mathematically, it is correct. But as for our health, it is totally wrong.

Let`s go back to the water tank example. Imagine that the engineers don`t pay attention to the quality of the water when they fill the tank, they just make sure the quantity makes up the quantity used by the population. They don`t care if the water is not cleared properly, they consider the job as being done once the tank is full again. What do you think is going to happen? Paying attention only to the quantity of the drinking water supply, will the population be affected? Of course they will. They will get sick. This will be an obvious result.

Now, going back to our body, and thinking about the water tank example. Do you think it is correct saying that after a pack of chips or cookies you have to run 30 minutes and you are done? This is a total ramp. Maybe you made the quantity part of it even, but what about quality? Just as the water supply needs to be cleared and safe for consuming, the food you eat needs to be clear and safe for consuming too. Only natural things are safe for our body, no artificial thing can make good to our health.

Despite of the fact that the nutritionist text-books emphasize, that nobody should follow a diet based on calorie counting, as it is inexact, companies and health professionals seem to forget it, and even more than that, they direct our attention on calculating. What we see now everywhere is eating this or that food needs this or that amount of sport to make things even. Unfortunately things won`t get even. Just as you would get sick after drinking the uncleared water, the same will happen if you eat the artificial food. In fact, you might get even in terms of energy, so you might not gain weight, but you do harm your health, which make you sick in the long run.

So stop counting calories and points, and start reading labels! Once your body gets only natural food, nothing artificial, it will be able to tell you what it needs, it will be able to tell you how much is enough, so you will be in the best shape ever without calculations. You will be healthy, and if you need to loose weight, that will come naturally, as a positive side effect of eating healthily.

Stop counting, start thinking!