Calorie theory doesn’t hold water

In my latest Q & A I answer questions about supplement usage for raising testosterone and gaining muscle while offering advice to a reader who lost prescription drug coverage. I also delve into the “calorie theory,” below, explaining how burning food in a calorimeter just isn’t the same as eating it. Yum.

Q: Hi Mike,
First I just wanted to say I find you articles very informative, and am glad you’re debunking the myths of saturated fat and cholesterol causing heart disease. These myths just won’t die.

I was curious though as to what you suggest someone do to get shredded. I believe you have mentioned that you believe reducing carbs is the best way to get lean, as Vince Gironda did? But do you believe in calories in vs calories out as well? If you are cutting weight do you reduce your food as well (same as reducing calories) or do you just drastically reduce or eliminate carb sources of food (grains, fruits, veggies, dairy)?

Thanks for your help,

Antaeus

A: Antaeus,
A calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degrees Celsius at sea level. What does this mean? A Double Whopper with cheese contains 990 calories. If we were to burn this burger, it would produce 990 calories. This is enough energy to raise 990 kilograms of water 1 degree Celsius.

Calories are measured in sealed device called a “calorimeter” which locks in heat of burning food. A small vacuum of water is contained above the food. Once the food is completely burned, the temperature of the water is measured. The rise in temperature will determine the amount of calories. The calorimeter can show the total amount of energy of a Big Mac, but it cannot account for what the body doesn’t absorb, or the energy used in the digestion and assimilation of it.

Does counting calories consumed matter, or even necessary when trying to lose weight? In a word, NO. Counting calories is completely inaccurate and a waste of time. Our bodies do not process food like a calorimeter. Our bodies do not use all the food we consume as energy, nor do we assimilate it all in the same manner. More-over, we do not store food we consume with the same efficiency. The assertion that macro-nutrients are all processed the same between individuals is just foolish. This is the basis for the calorie theory.

The best thing one can do is eliminate as much sugar and processed foods from their diet as they can. Eat as many whole natural foods as you can, including: beef, fowl, fish, vegetables, raw dairy products and some fruit. The following Nutritional principles will help anyone on their way to getting leaner.

Plan your meals in advance.

Prepare your food in advance.

Do not starve yourself. Eat when you?re hungry and stop when your full.

Eat at least 4 times per day.

Eat protein with every meal.

Q & A with Mike Furci

  

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