Have you noticed how calorie counting is ineffective as a way to manage your diet and exercise? It is time-consuming and grossly inaccurate?
Do you know how food is digested, absorbed and used can affect how much energy we get from it? That is because biological systems aren’t the same as the machines, still even if we do know exactly how many calories are going in the body which we don’t. It’s very hard to know how many calories we will digest, absorb, and use. This means that for the most part, precise calorie counting won’t help you.
But calorie counting feels really precise, right?
You are probably aware that 1g of fat has 9 kcal, 1g of carbs 4 kcal, 1g of protein 4 kcal, and 1g of alcohol 7 kcal. Now let’s look up those numbers. If you burn 1g of fat outside of the body in let’s say a chemistry lab, you get; 1g of fat is 9,44 kcal, 1g of starch is 4.18 kcal, 1g of sucrose is 3,94 kcal, 1g of glucose is 3,94 kcal, 1g of protein is 5,65 kcal. Why different numbers? Because energy which the body will get is different from the amount of energy which each macro nutrient will give while being burned in the lab.
Here are some factors which can change how much energy the human body can get from food:
We lose some energy through digestion – that wouldn’t be a big problem for calorie counting if we would know exactly how much we burn for each type of food, but we don’t.
Our GI tract absorbs different amounts of energy depending on how healthy it is, again this wouldn’t be a big problem for calorie counting if we would know how much we could correct for it, but we don’t.
We don’t use all the energy which we eat as some of it is lost through excretion. Since your body is more than a furnace burning energy, sometimes biochemical processes end up getting rid of molecules which also have energy. Calorie counting for protein doesn’t and can’t count for lost energy through deamination, yet another problem for calorie counting.
· We aren’t 100% efficient for making ATP from macronutrients. We are about 90% efficient and that’s different from person to person and day to day, yet another problem for calorie counting. So calorie counting isn’t looking so good, but there is more.
Inside our body, we have many things that can affect how much and how well we get energy from food. And food itself can also vary.
Have you noticed that numbers on food labels seem scientific? Truth is, they are just approximations. Here are just a few factors that can change the nutrient and energy content of the food: resistant starches and fiber, data are outdated, imprecise testing, product variety, growing conditions, ripeness, animal diets, storage, and cooking methods. All of these factors mean that calorie count on label can be off as much as 25%. All of this means that outside of lab we can’t know exactly how much calories and nutrients we do absorb, use and excrete. We can’t know exactly how much calories and nutrients are in our food. We can’t know exactly how much calories and nutrients we do expend through metabolism and movement. As you realize, all these point to one thing, calorie counting as a way to manage your exercise and diet is grossly inaccurate, time-consuming, and difficult.
Company Name: Pentagram of Health
Contact Person: Dom Draganic RD & PT
Phone: +385 95 533 7528