Are you a calorie counter? If so, your health could be in jeopardy. People who count calories are usually not consuming the right types of foods and often develop all types of problems such as obesity and heart disease.
Calories found in natural, whole foods eaten until your body feels full can never make you gain weight. If you are regularly eating processed, packaged foods and thinking you can get away with continuing to eat those foods because you watch your calories, think again.
Research shows that people who eat full-fat, natural foods are able to maintain correct body weight. Contrary to popular belief, eating low-fat foods do not eliminate weight gain – in fact, they contribute to the putting on of pounds. A Swedish study conducted at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute revealed that drinking full-fat milk and eating full-fat cheese led to a decrease in weight in a group of overweight women. The study took place over a ten-year period of time, and resulted in a 15 percent less weight gain from drinking milk and a 30 percent less weight gain from eating full-fat cheese.
Even companies like Weight Watchers are finally having to admit that counting calories doesn’t work. Here’s an interesting commentary about it from Dr. Joseph Mercola’s web site.
Let’s find out why counting calories doesn’t cause weight loss:
When you work out at the gym, you can look at your treadmill and see that a 30-minute run burned 300 calories, but it doesn’t reveal whether you consumed 300 calories from the breakdown of fats, carbs, or muscle. What could have easily occurred is that you burned 300 calories from the breakdown of carbs. The other thing that could occur, which is worse is that you may have used up 300 calories from lean muscle tissue (protein), which is counter-productive to exercise and harms your health.
Our bodies are designed to burn calories throughout the day from fats, as opposed to carbs and proteins. But most people with weight issues are burning more calories from the breakdown of carbs and proteins, not fats. So they are not in the “fat-burning zone” throughout the day. Calories are being spent, but they’re not burning calories from stored body fat (and also the toxins that are stored in that fat, which contribute to health problems). Even if you don’t have any carbohydrates in your body, your body will still continue to break down lean muscle.
So, the reason those with weight problems aren’t burning stored body fat efficiently is not related to the amount of calories consumed or used up, but how the metabolism is regulated in the body. And guess what causes the metabolism to run the most efficiently? Eating plenty of healthy fats and proteins.
Fat burning is regulated by hormones which are governed by the metabolism
Because our metabolism is controlled by our hormones, it is important to understand that some hormones burn fats, some store fats, and some tell the body to burn proteins and carbs. When we automatically assume that burning 300 calories from a workout and we are eliminating body fat from doing this, we are assuming our metabolism is working correctly. The metabolism of a person who is overweight is having a difficult time regulating the burning of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates because of the signals it receives from the body when digesting the food it eats. If you are eating low-calorie foods, your body is being told to conserve because not enough fat is coming in, and it holds onto fat and lets go of carbs.
Hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, insulin, and glucagon are produced due to our dietary habits and stress factors. If you are stressed-out – which can be caused by emotional or physical issues – the result is an over-production of cortisol and adrenaline. This reaction tells your body to burn carbs and proteins rather than fats. The same is true about insulin and glucagon. An excess of carbs in your diet will cause the production of more insulin – which stores fat. Glucagon has the opposite job of burning fat and is produced when you consume protein.
Watch Part 1 of this informative discussion with Gary Taubes, author and speaker, about why people get fat and can’t lose weight:
So, stop counting calories and eat full-fat, real, whole foods:
- meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy from healthy animals and birds on pasture
- organic or sustainable produced fruits and vegetables
- whole, organic grains prepared properly through traditional methods of soaking, sprouting, and fermenting (sparingly)
- real, healthy fats like butter, ghee, tallow, lard and other fats from animals and fowl on pasture, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
Your body will likely be able to shed those pounds it has been stubbornly keeping on for so long, and you will probably find you have more energy and that everything, including exercise, becomes easier and more enjoyable.
More information? Suggested reading:
Eat Fat, Lose Fat
Good Calories, Bad Calories – Gary Taubes
Eat Fat Lose Fat Blog
Fat-free, low-fat, and non-fat do not equal health
Lowfat diets – Mary Enig, Weston A. Price Foundation