Counting calories has really caught the attention of many Australians weight watchers. A constant stream of new wearable technologies and apps to count every daily intake are flooding the Internet. It’s hard to ignore. What’s all the fuss about?
Well here are a few facts about calorie counting you might like to know.
In 1896, Wilbur O. Atwater, founded calorie counting and his method of caloric averages are still used today. These ‘averages’ must allow for a considerable margin of error, for example, if a label reads ‘150 calories’ it actually means 130 to 180 calories. A dietary approach based on counting calories will always be inexact.
“Foods, being biological materials, exhibit variations in composition; therefore, a database cannot accurately predict the composition of any given single sample of food.” – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The basis of calorie counting is:
Consume more calories than you disburse, you gain weight.
Consume less calories than you disburse, you lose weight.
Except, even if the calorie count on packages were correct there are more questions to consider such as how the meal will be prepared and will that add further calories?
For example: One gram of protein contains a total of 5.65 calories of macronutrient, 4 calories for absorption and 1.65 calories that won’t be absorbed. It is far from an exact science. This doesn’t consider nuts and seeds – where absorption rates will vary between each individual. On average there will be a 10% inaccuracy when calculating the consumption of protein-rich foods. Similar calculations can also be made for fat and carbohydrates.
Our bodies absorb and digest meals differently too. People with an increased proportion of Firmicutes (cell wall), on average, absorb 150 calories more per day than those with a higher proportion of Bacteroidetes (a type of bacteria that which grows in the gut and skin).
When you cook, Chop or blend your meal the calories often become more available for absorption. This suggests the packaging on labels could be as much as 90% inaccurate.
For example: the average raw egg hold 47 calories however, once boiled it increases it’s calories by 35% and to sit at 74 calories.
Keeping our food portions to a reasonable amount can be a challenge. Measuring out servings of ingredients can be an issue with studies showing about two thirds of people accidentally consume more calories than originally intended.
For example: One additional tablespoon of olive oil in your dish could set you back an extra 120 calories and an extra half cup of beans 114 calories.
Counting anything can become stressful and lead to obsessive eating behaviours.
What’s the solution?
Live a Hopewood lifestyle! Eat plenty of fresh raw vegetables – favouring smaller meals often rather than big meals once or twice a dat. Take a look at our excess of beautiful, healthy recipes and pair this delicious natural diet with some reguar gentle exercise. Drink plenty of water, regulate your sleeping patterns and be kind to yourself. Calorie counting can be a thing of the past!
If you’re the sort of person who enjoys understanding more about nutrition and how the right food can really improve your health have a look at our food combining information.