FOUR Problems with the Weight Loss Concept of “Calories in vs. Calories out”


The weight loss concept of “calories in versus calories out” is a greatly oversimplified way of looking at weight loss. There are other factors that greatly affect effective weight loss including:

  1. The state of our digestive tract. The state that our digestive tract is in greatly affects how we breakdown and metabolize foods.  Often we have foods that are not completely broken down to be absorbed into the body. This incomplete digestive means that the calories that you should have absorbed from your foods will instead travel through your digestive tract and then be excreted as waste and not be used by the body. Therefore part of a weight loss plan should be healing the gut.
  2. The type of foods we are eating. Eating a certain number of calories and not paying attention to the type of food, doesn’t lead to successful weight loss either.  The reason is that there are 3 types of calories that our body needs, these include carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Each has a unique role in the body therefore we need to get the right amount of each.  An example is if you eat too few proteins and too many carbohydrates, the work that the proteins do would not be completed and the excess carbohydrates would get stored in your fat cells.  We need to pay attention to the type of foods we are eating.
  3. The quality of the foods we are eating. Foods that are more densely packed with nutrients will be metabolized more efficiently, it is similar to providing your body with high-quality fuel.  Eating foods such as quinoa, vegetables or fruits, foods that are closer to nature, will be more efficiently broken down in comparison eating processed foods like a fast-food hamburger that contain a number of chemicals whereby the toxic load on the body will be increased and very few nutrients would be absorbed.  Therefore eating high quality, nutrient-dense foods will improve our metabolism of foods and aid in effective metabolism.
  4. Hormonal imbalances. Our thyroid plays an essential role in regulating our metabolism. If the thyroid is under functioning.

These all play key roles in our overall metabolism of calories.

I am not a strong believer in counting calories. I am not saying to ignore calories completely, but we do not need to be obsessed with counting them.  I believe in focusing on eating high quality, nutrient dense foods that are close to their natural state; work towards eating the building blocks; eat fibrous carbohydrates, limited clean proteins and healthy fats to help your body to function optimally; listen to your body as you eat and stop eating when you feel satisfied, before you feel full.