Achieving a Healthy Weight Is Not About Counting Calories, It's About Making Every Calorie Count

Counting calories is the most common diet method among the estimated millions of Americans who are on diets today. One of the greatest misconceptions about weight loss is that reducing caloric intake will permanently reduce body weight.

Unfortunately, the calorie has become the weight loss measuring stick for the consumption of food and nutrition. You know the drill – people who count calories are constantly counting, reducing, restricting, and rearranging – all to achieve and maintain a healthy weight loss, better health and better wellbeing. But they are missing a critical component.

A Calorie is not a physical thing. A calorie is a unit of energy … period. It is not a unit of nutrition.

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In the U.S., the popular use of the term calorie actually means the kilocalorie, sometimes called the kilogram calorie, or large Calorie (equal to 1,000 calories), in measuring the calorific, heating, or metabolizing value of foods. Thus, the "calories" counted for dietary reasons are in fact kilocalories. This unit of measurement is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012).

Thus, the amount of calories indicated for a given food expresses how much energy is supplied to the body in consuming it. Most health professionals and the general public associate calories with whatever they drink or eat. However, calories cannot be directly equated to levels of nutrition.

Conventional diet companies, books and health education are firmly based upon the concept of restricting calories as a sure way to lose weight. The problem with this is calories cannot be measured in the body, only in a laboratory setting because the human body cannot compute calories in a nutritional sense. The body can only use what's available to function as efficiently as possible.

However, if calories were regarded as the most important form of measurement and all calories came from foods like cookies, candies, ice cream and sodas, these calories would have seriously detrimental effects on the body. Too many calories from these simple sugars contribute to obesity and diabetes, along with numerous other diseases.

Making every calorie count is the key to getting the results you desire.

If 1,200 calories a day were consumed from fruits and vegetables, versus 1,200 calories a day from cookies and candy, would there be a difference? Clearly, each diet consists of the same amount of calories, by a basic measuring standpoint, but in the long run each would result in two very different outcomes for the body.

Eating only sugars and carbohydrates would lead to poor health and looming obesity. It is the nutritional composition of the food that matters, not the calorie itself. So, instead of counting calories as a means to lose weight, focus on maximizing the levels of nutrition in each calorie consumed. "Low Caloric High Density Nutrition "

What we think we know about healthy food is at best misleading.

From his book, The New American Diet, Stephen Perrine agrees that the emphasis on the counting of calories is not the way to go. "We have plenty of things that look like "health food," low-fat cakes, low-carb cookies, juice boxes that claim their contents are made from "real fruit." But they're not actually food" (Perrine, 2010).

We are eating foods low in calories that are nutritionally bankrupt.

He says that these processed food products are packed with empty calories, not nutrients, and they do basically one thing: make you fat. For example, after you eat a big bowl of empty calories from a cardboard box, your body is still waiting for some actual nutrients. That's why we eat again when we should be full (Perrine, 2010).

Perrine agrees with the basic premise that it is not the concept of counting calories that is most important, but it's the amount of high quality nutrition in the calories we eat.

Making every calorie count is the key

We are overeating because our bodies are starved for real nutrition, meaning we eat more calories because our bodies are not satisfied with the amount of nutrition in the foods available in modern society. This implies that the focus should not be on the amount of calories consumed, but on the nutritional density of those foods.

In a perfect world, food would contain at a minimum the 51 nutrients that research has said we must have in order for the body to be nutritionally satisfied. That is the minimum. And, of course those nutrients would ideally be included in the fewest number of calories to sustain us. "Low Caloric High Density Nutrition "

According to Paul Stitt, "Calorie intake is only one part of good nutrition. Dieters especially are prone to the misconception that calories are all they need to count, so they fill their meager caloric allowance with foods that are high in processed carbohydrates and almost devoid of other essential nutrients, foods which can only aggravate their hunger, yet never give their bodies what they really need to lose excess fat and acquire and maintain health. At the same time, the empty calories they eat rob their bodies of what nutrients they have stored" (Stitt, 1982).

In this day and age, calories and nutrition are not one in the same. As nutrition becomes scarce in the calories that we consume, we need to concern ourselves with the absorption of the nutrients that exist in the foods we eat. Only by achieving a balance in the nutrients absorbed into the body can the body's natural processes function normally and efficiently. Otherwise, we will continue to be overweight and undernourished.

According to some estimates there may be as many as 170 million Americans who are now overweight and nearly 34% of those are obese. The incidence of obesity in children under 14 doubles every six years and has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and a pandemic worldwide (Ogden, C.; Carroll, M., 2010).

Yet, there is so much more to this story you need to be aware of. Over the next few articles I will reveal many facts that will prove to you that the old theories on weight loss and health and wellness are no longer sufficient for our day and age. Just look at the results and epidemics around our country to know this is true.

People who attend my live talk tell me though that to know the truth and find real solutions for yourself and those you love and care about is priceless. You do not want to miss the next article where I will show you the remarkable new scientific evidence that proves that our real enemy is not calories … it is Toxins!

Peter and Drew Greenlaw are a father and son team that has spent the last 10 years becoming one of the preeminent authorities in the realm of health and wellness. Since 2007, Peter has traveled roughly 1.6 million miles and has hosted over 1,200 lectures on topics ranging from global toxicity and its effects on the human body to how nutritionally bankrupt our food sources really are. You can find out more about Peter and Drew at

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