Recently I have published an article Fighting Obesity: Stop Eating Chemical Food Surrogates where I referred to highly recommended YouTube video Sugar: The bitter Truth and excellent science-backed book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease by Robert Lustig, an internationally renowned UCSF pediatric endocrinologist. One of the key points of his book is that CALORIES ARE DIFFERENT: “A calorie burned IS a calorie burned, but a calorie eaten IS NOT a calorie eaten.”
A calorie is not a calorie
Robert Lustig’s position is clear from his following statements. “First, there is no way anyone could actually burn off the calories supplied by our current food supply. A chocolate chip cookie has the equivalent calories of twenty minutes of jogging, and working off a Big Mac would require four hours of biking. But, wait! Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a day and burns them off, right? If this were the case for all of us, diet and exercise should work – you’d burn more than you ate and lose weight. And diet drugs should work – if you take the drug, eat or absorb less, and lose the pounds. Except the meds don’t deliver on their promises. They work for a brief period, and then patients reach a plateau in weight loss. Why? Do the patients stop taking the pills? No. So why the medications stop working? The answer: because the body is smarter than the brain is. Energy expenditure is reduced to meet the decreased energy intake. So a calorie is not really a calorie, because your caloric output is controlled by your body and is dependent on the quantity and quality of the calories ingested. …Our consumption of fructose has doubled in the past thirty years and has increased sixfold in the last century. …And therein lies the key to understanding the obesity pandemic. The quality of what we eat determines the quantity. It also determines our desire to burn it.”
Here is another similar point of view by an invited publisher, Natural Health Care emphasizing that it is critical to ask yourself not only how many calories do you need, but also how to get highest possible caloric quality.
How many calories do you need?
Well, that depends on a lot of things. Your age, gender, type of work and physical activity all come into play. There is no one answer for this type of thing. I have to warn you, I don’t believe the general ideas on how many calories a person should have.
If you have a 2,000 calorie diet, you are starving yourself. I know that some people live and die by this number, but I just throw it to the wind. Why don’t I pay attention to a number such as 2,000? Only because it is stupid. Yes, you heard me right, stupid. How is a person who is very active going to live off of 2,000 calories? I mean, you would end up looking like those dying skinny kids in the 3rd world countries.
I think you get the drift though. I think those numbers are put in place by people who are so focused on health, that they are blinded by it. I mean, if you have 3,000 calories in one day, it won’t kill you. Though, they might want to make you believe that it will.
I’m not saying that you should throw all of this stuff to the wind. That would be foolish. What I am saying is: you should take it with a grain of salt. There is no reason why you should get bent out of shape if you go a few hundred or even a thousand over this limit. I mean, if you are going over by 5,000 then you should be worried. Some people do need to be concerned with such a thing. For example, people who are on a diet because of heart problems. You should be very focused on your diet. Also people with sugar problems would fall into this category as well.
Understand where your calories are coming from
If you don’t have some sort of health problem, I wouldn’t get too bent out of shape. Though, if you are eating from the drive through lane every day, then you might have a problem. What am I saying? Use common sense. Understand where your calories are coming from. If you are eating 3,500 calories and they are mostly from things that are good for you, don’t go ape crap on yourself. If on the other hand if it is all from candy and deep fried foods, I would be concerned.
You should be more concerned about where the calories are coming from. Ahhh, now I think you see what I mean. If you are eating 1,500 calories alone of fruits and veggies, that is better than eating that in fat. Isn’t it all the same? Not really. I would say that it isn’t the same. I know that some of you will argue with that. It isn’t the same because the calories are coming from a good source. They are coming from things that are good for you. The fruits and veggies will help you out in many ways. They will also help you fight off cancer and heart disease. This isn’t true if you are over eating on fats and sweets.
What to do?
Well, all I know is what I have stated above. If you are eating over 2,000 calories and you are eating things that are good for you, I wouldn’t be too concerned. As always, you should talk to your doctor. That is the best advice I can give you. You should always talk to him before you go and do something new. You might have a health condition that will require you to go on a diet that he tells you to go on.
If you are healthy, base most of your diet on raw fruits and veggies. That is where the action is. That is where you will get the most bang for your calorie. Happy eating!