Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Business of Debunking the Business of "Healthy Eating"

If you're trying to get fitter, you've undoubtedly read a ton of stuff about "healthy eating." There's paleo, there's vegetarian, there's vegan, there's gluten-free... And then there's all those miracles in a bottle -- let's not even get into those.

So it's refreshing when you come a cross a cut-through-the-BS article that breaks stuff down in ways that are easy to understand, right? Articles like this one...

It starts out great -- those huge all-natural smoothies you're drinking because they're "healthy"? Yeah, not so much. But then we get down to the nitty gritty, and what's the problem? Sugar. Carbs. The wrong ingredients.
We’ve been so conditioned to focus on calories and fat that we overlook the greatest nutritional poison: sugar. And it’s hiding in plain view, in countless foods and beverages that are "good for you."
Ugh. I don't know about you, but I hate crap like this.

Now look, Tim S. Carver has tons more experience than I do. No doubt, he's had tons of success helping his clients lose weight. But I'm not buying this one. One gram of carbs has four calories. One gram of protein has four calories. One gram of fat has nine calories. Period. If you're drinking a huge smoothie with all kinds fruit, yogurt and granola in it, it's very possible you're drinking 600, 800, 1000 calories in it. If you cut out those carbs and start losing weight, it's not a Atkins miracle -- it's because you cut your calorie intake.

And let's talk about what calories actually are. There's no physical thing called a "calorie." It's a measurement of the energy potential in the food you eat. Even the most sedentary of couch potatoes expends some energy -- things like breathing and even simply sitting upright require your body to burn fuel. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. If you burn less energy than there is energy potential in the food you eat, your body has to do something with the leftover food -- and that's how you get fat.

I'm guessing that I'm not saying anything you didn't already know. But if we all know this stuff, why does it seem so complicated?

Here's the funny thing -- I'm not a calorie counter. I pay attention to my protein intake, I try to eat mostly good things and limit the crap, and I do my best to limit my portions to human levels. I exercise a bunch -- a lot of running and some body-weight strength training. And I was able to go from 240 pounds to 195. I was able to run a marathon. My old clothes literally fall off of me. I have some muscle definition in places I never would have imagined.

I realize that it's not quite this simple. I'm curious as to what everyone else thinks.

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