3 Reasons why the calories in, calories out argument is false.

3 Reasons why the calories in, calories out argument is false.

You have probably heard before that all you need to do to lose weight is exercise more and eat less but is that really true?

A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition and everyday language, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking, and energy usage through physical activity.[1] The theory that the number of calories that you consume vs. the number of calories that you expend determines your weight loss or weight gain is actually not true.

Here are a few reasons that will hopefully make you think of food as information rather than calories. Food interacts with your biology, a complex adaptive system that instantly transforms every bite you take.

1.      Fructose Vs. Glucose

Even though Fructose and Glucose have the same chemical formula, Glucose can be metabolized by all of your body’s tissues, but fructose can only be metabolized by your liver. A high consumption of fructose coming from added sugars can cause insulin resistance, blood sugar and small, dense LDL compared to the exact same number of calories from glucose[2]

2.      The Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood glucose (sugar) levels compared to a standard food.[3] When we eat food that spikes blood sugar, it tends lo lead to a blood sugar crush a few hours later causing cravings for more carbohydrates. Your appetite is increased because of insulin’s effect on your brain chemistry. The insulin blocks your appetite-control hormone Leptin so you never get the message that “you are full” and you keep on eating.

3.      Inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense system; however, certain foods such as sugar, vegetable oil, refined flour, dairy, artificial sweeteners, conventional grain-fed meats, gluten, additives and preservatives can cause chronic inflammation which leads to weight gain, skin problems, digestive issues and a variety of health-related problems.

Even though calories are important, just remember that counting nutrients is even more important. Different calorie sources can have different effects on hormones, energy expenditure and hunger.


[1] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263028.php

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673878/

[3] Diabetes Canada, Glycemic Index

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