Calorie counting is a surprisingly controversial topic. It’s been the base-line method for how people have lost weight for decades, and yet in recent years it’s become common to hear claims that if we eat only certain foods that calorie counting becomes unnecessary.
So which is it? Do they count or not
Well, it turns out that calories count in some instances but not in others and hopefully, this article will clear up some of the confusion.
So when DON’T calories count?
Well, for one, calories don’t make any difference when it comes to chemicals in foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body because they stress the body and set off a cascade of reactions that cause swelling and water retention.
For example, MSG (monosodiumglutamate) which is a popular additive to many foods and has zero calories has been known for years to cause weight gain in lab rats and in humans.
The same happens for Aspartame which is another zero calorie food.
Coffee, even if black and not sweetened with sugar or having fat like cream added to it can also cause weight gain because it stresses the adrenals and causes the body to release cortisol which causes water retention and insulin to raise.
I’m sure there are other substances, medications and foods that I haven’t mentioned here, but suffice to say unnatural foods that are “zero calories” CAN DEFINITELY CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN.
But what about natural foods like raw fruits and vegetables? Do calories count there?
Or can we eat them in unlimited quantities since they are raw and therefore the body processes them differently?
The answer is that yes, calories do indeed count here.
While most raw foods are less calorie dense due to their high-water content and high fiber content as opposed to cooked foods, it is still possible to overeat on nuts, seeds, avocadoes, durian and fruits for one’s daily caloric expenditure.
It’s important to do the “goldilocks” approach here: not too little, not too much, but “just right” for our needs.
There is no “one size fits all” here.
If you are sedentary, then you will not require the same amount of calories as someone the same height, weight and age who is more active.
AND metabolisms DO count as well.
Some people can simply metabolize more food more easily. That’s a fact. It may start out with genetics and later poor eating habits wreck their metabolisms, but those with genetically slow metabolisms know it.
Be smart about your own body. Take other people’s advice on these issues and then tailor it to your own particular circumstances.
If you are eating a 100% raw diet and gaining weight, then it’s time to look at stress, sleep, exercise AND counting calories based on your activity level and weight. Cut down on juicing which removes a lot of fiber, especially fruit juices and carrot juice which has a lot of sugar, and eat more water-rich fruits and vegetables which fill you up with water and fiber.
Eat smaller meals through-out the day, exercise every day and eat when hungry and not just for boredom.
Once you have down the amounts, foods and portions that maintain your weight, then calorie counting ceases to be necessary.