Forget about calories! A look into the most popular nutrition myth


Almost each of us, trying to start a new healthy lifestyle, made an exhausting calculation of caloric intake, heeding the advice of “seasoned” fitness instructors that to lose weight you need to expend more energy than you consume. In fact, the careful counting of calories has nothing to do with dietary science or our physical condition.


Reason 1.

No matter how hard we engage in statistics and analysis of eaten food, all our pains will have very approximate results. For an accurate measurement, a special device is required—a calorimeter, which measures the quantity of heat emitted by a particular product when it is burned. All those tables, figures in up-to-date mobile apps and data on the product label are indicated most often as an average, and therefore do not give a true picture.

In addition, the caloric content of a product varies depending on its heat treatment, storage conditions, growing region, soil composition and even the degree of ripeness of a fruit.


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Reason 2.

Permanent control over how much and when we eat causes psychological discomfort, which increases the stress from the rest of the “innovations” in self-improvement like exercise, changing the daily routine and other good habits that we are trying to develop.

Also, do not forget about food quality. For example, if you have 1,500 calories to eat set by your fitness instructor, you may eat 200 grams (7 ounces) of meat, vegetables, a piece of a chocolate cake for dessert, and wash it all down with no-calorie soda. However, this set is far unhealthier than a salmon steak with avocado and whole-grain pasta, and pesto toasts as a snack, which total 2,500 calories.


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It is not the quantity that really matters, it is the composition of products and dishes as well as the cooking method used. So we should exclude refined and chemical products from our diet, lay emphasis on whole and natural foods, and minimize frying in oil and deep frying. Other than that, we should listen to our own body and periods of activity.