Should we count calories?

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When I started this health journey, it all started with food for me. I read about macros and counting calories, and it was all just so confusing. Googled like crazy how much calories are in what food and the kitchen scale was working overtime. Yes, the weight was coming off, but what a tiresome thing to do! With a job and three school going kids, it was just impossible to maintain this amount of dedication and believe me I am a good planner. I could not keep up with this method. Until one day, I heard dr Jason Fung talk about this concept. And I was very relieved, this doctor was speaking a language that made sense to me, and I packed the kitchen scale away with a happy heart.

When we consume food, many things happen. When you search the internet for what occurs during the metabolism of food, there are a staggering number of things that happens; a receptor for this, a pathway for that. Measuring a calorie, though, is not one of them. The body doesn’t have a receptor to measure calories; it doesn’t know how to measure it. There is no way for the body to respond to a calorie measurement. The body does not know what to do with a calorie. Calories are a concept of physics, not a physiological one.

When you eat 100 Calories of sugar and 100 calories of olive oil, the physiological response to those two things is entirely different. The human body responds to hormones. There are different receptors for various food and a hormone response accordingly. That is how the body knows what to do. 

You should rather know the hormonal response of the food you eat, than the caloric intake. If you understand that the sugar you ate has a massive insulin response compared to the low insulin response of the olive oil, you will start to make better food choices. Carbohydrates have the most significant insulin response, followed by protein; fats have the least insulin response. Makes you question why mainstream tells us to eat low fat or fat-free?

Fat will be stored in the presence of insulin for a time when there is no food available. It has been like this for millions of years. In the absence of insulin, when you don’t eat, that food you stored as body fat, is being used as energy. 

The food and beverage industries love the concept of calories. They want you to believe that you can drink this sugary drink and exercise for 2 hours. You can exercise your muscles but not your liver. If you eat fake food and drink sugar-loaded beverages, you will develop insulin resistance and a fatty liver. Have you ever heard of athletes running marathons and developing type 2 diabetes? Well, I have.

Since I started eating whole foods based on the hormonal response I want, I stopped counting calories and eat until I’m full. It’s easy to maintain, healthy whole food cooking that the entire family enjoys. 

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