Why Counting Calories is a Waste of Time

Food & Calculator

There are many areas of false information floating around about the subject of nutrition. Counting calories (or kilojoules) is one such area. While this practice may have some limited workability it is really missing the main point - it's not so much about the quantity of what you eat but the quality and type of food that you eat.

Calories in vs calories out is a very basic way of attempting to lose weight and most people would know that certain types of calories are much worse for you than others.

A slice of cake worth 250 calories is not of the same value as 250 calories worth of vegetables. Cake is largely empty calories - sugar and flour which are highly processed carbohydrates and have very little nutritional value. 3-4 servings of low starch vegetables contain loads of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

The problem with empty calories is that they "suck" vitamins from the body in order to be digested so they create a vitamin / mineral deficit. Not only don't they add anything of value, they drain nutrition from your body.

The other problem is that they raise the blood sugar level very quickly. When the blood sugar level soars, insulin pours into the blood stream to try to level it out. The body cannot utilise this volume of sugar so some of it is stored - and it is stored as fat. This is your body being efficient - planning for the future by not wasting energy. Unfortunately, it doesn't look good.

All food is converted to sugars in order to be utilised by the body, but if it is converted too quickly then the body can't cope with the flood of sugar. The worst culprit is just plain old sugar. A close second are highly processed carbohydrates - white flour, white bread, white rice. Third are root vegetables with a high glycemic index (rate at which they raise blood sugar levels) - potatoes, pumpkin, beetroot, cooked carrots (not raw). And lastly, fruits which contain a high percentage of sugar - ripe bananas, watermelon, pineapples, etc.

On the other hand, it is true that if you engage in higher than normal activity levels, you will find that burning off those calories can lead to weight loss. A higher amount of energy expended can definitely be beneficial but generally speaking, only if the other side of the equation is taken care of - eating the proper foods!