The Calorie Myth

I have always enjoyed reading but sometimes life just gets in the way. I have easily read a book a day on vacation. I have also found myself spending too much time staring at my phone when I could be reading or doing something more productive. Last month, I decided I needed to focus more on reading to continue to educate myself on health and wellness topics that are important to me.

Instead of downloading a bunch of books to my Kindle, I decided to go to a brick and mortar bookstore and browse through the stacks. It was really fun! I was specifically looking for books that focus on inflammation, metabolism, and thyroid health. I also wanted to pick up a few books on gardening because we are going to try and revive our front yard and plant a vegetable garden.

TheCalorieMythI found several books that interested me and I ended up purchasing The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor. I found this book incredibly interesting and want to share a little bit of what I learned. I hope you find this information useful and beneficial.

What I liked about this book was that it’s not a “diet” book in the sense that the author is trying to sell you a fad diet that promises immediate wight loss. This book was grounded in science and years of research. The author explains why many of the nutrition guidelines we were told as children are outright wrong and is causing our bodies more damage than good.

He also asks the question – have you ever lost weight, only to gain it back, or worse, gain even more weight? I answered YES!!! I learned the reason is that your body has a “set-point” and no matter how much weight you lose, your body will want to return to that weight. But, don’t lose hope – the author explains how you can change your set-point and it all goes back to the types of food you eat.

Calorie Myth #1: Weight Loss = Calories In – Calories Out

The author explores the diet and nutrition guidelines that we were taught growing up and why many of them are inaccurate. How many times have you heard “weight loss = calories in – calories out”? To this day, this is still ingrained in my mind. I am constantly looking at my iWatch to see how many calories I have burned. However, this in fact is not true. Our bodies need calories to function. When we decrease our caloric intake, we are sending our body into starvation mode. This can have long lasting effects on your body – and may cause your set-point to rise. When you enter “starvation mode”, your body wants to hold onto stored energy, which is body fat, and get rid of metabolically active tissue, which is muscle mass. In order to prevent this, we need to fuel our bodies with foods that are rich of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty and amino acids. This includes non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense proteins, whole-food fats (like avocado), and low-fructose fruits.

Calorie Myth #2: A Calories Is a Calorie

Not all calories are created equal. There are two types of calories – a quantity calorie and a quality calorie. A quality calorie is what we want to be eating. These calories keep us fuller longer because they are full of nutrients, don’t increase the glucose in the bloodstream (which leads to body-fat storage), and can easily be converted into amino acids, fatty acids, or glucose.

Calorie Myth #3: All Foods Are Fine In Moderation

Many diets suggest that you can eat whatever you want, as long as it is in moderation. If only this were true. The author argues that when we are told to focus on calories and moderation, we forget about eating healthy. I am guilty of this – I have told myself plenty of times that it’s okay to eat the tortilla chips when I know I just ate them the other night!

What To Eat To Reset Your Set-Point

In order to reset your set-point, the author says to eat non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole-food fats, and low-sugar fruits. Half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein should cover 1/3 of your plate, and the remaining should be filled with whole-food fats and low-sugar fruits.

Examples of Non-Starchy Vegetables

Artichoke
Asparagus
Avocado
Bell Peppers
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots
Cauliflower
Cucumber
Garlic
Green Beans
Kale
Mushrooms
Onion
Romaine Lettuce
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini

Examples of Nutrient-Dense Proteins

Bison
Chicken
Seafood
Grass-Fed Beef
Lamb
Lean Conventional Beef
Pork
Tofu
Turkey
Venison

Examples of Whole-Food Fats

Almonds
Avocado
Cashews
Coconut
Hazelnuts
Pecans
Sunflower seeds
Walnuts

Examples of Low-Sugar Fruits

Apricots
Blackberries
Cranberries
Grapefruit
Honeydew melon
Lemon and lime
Peaches
Strawberries

After reading this book, I realized this is very similar to the Paleo and The Whole 30 diets. It’s all about eating nutrient-dense foods that help our body turn these quality calories into energy. I always try to eat as healthy as possible, but it’s so hard! My biggest weakness is corn. Being gluten-free, corn is a great alternative. But, as I know (and try to forget), corn is basically sugar. I’m going to work to decrease the foods I eat that are naturally higher in sugar, like corn and potatoes. But, who doesn’t love a potato?

Interested in purchasing a copy of The Calorie Myth? Click here.

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