Harvard Says Calories In/Calories Out Model Is Flawed [So what do we use instead?]

by Charlotte on July 18, 2011 · 48 comments

“Just eat less and move more.” It’s the standard advice given for weight loss and one of the first “rules” of healthy living that I ran afoul of. It didn’t work that way for me. To which adherents usually explain, rather testily, that it’s math and you can’t argue with math. “It’s calories in versus calories out! Simple!” But in my experience there are more variables in the equation than that.

Back when I was first trying to lose weight the healthy way (let’s be honest, I’ve been trying to lose weight by various means my entire life), I figured if some diet and exercise were good then more must be better. I slashed my calories and upped my workouts and over a period of a few months, I lost a few pounds and then plateaued. So I took my calories down more and added more exercise (by which point I’d officially left “the healthy way” in the dust). And I gained weight. If the math was correct, how could I be eating less calories than a child, exercising like a professional athlete and still be gaining weight? My math didn’t add up.

The reason is pretty clear in hindsight: I’d killed my metabolism. Indeed, I had that medically verified when my doctor told me my thyroid was underfunctioning due to the strain I’d put on it from overexercising. So the math equation has a third variable, metabolism. And that variable is influenced by hundreds of other variables like genetics, sleep, stress, pollution and, yes, food. Our “simple” equation has morphed into quite the complex formula. New findings from a longitudinal study from Harvard that followed 120,877 healthy, non-obese, and well-educated adults for 12-20 years confirm is that it’s really not about the calories.

It’s not often that research actually makes me stand up and do a fist pump so here’s the money quote from lead researcher Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. “What you eat makes quite a difference. Just counting calories won’t matter much unless you look at the kinds of calories you’re eating.” And this is what it has taken me the better part of a decade to learn about myself. Note: he doesn’t say that counting calories doesn’t work, ever, just that it’s more important to worry about the nutrient density of your food than the caloric density.

He adds, “There are good foods and bad foods, and the advice should be to eat the good foods more and the bad foods less. The notion that it’s O.K. to eat everything in moderation is just an excuse to eat whatever you want.”

The rub comes in defining what is a “good” food and what is a “bad” food. (My one little quibble with the study: must we call them “bad” and “good”? Food is not a moral choice, it can’t be bad or good. Could we call it healthiest and least healthy? Or something?) The researchers tried to quantify this by looking at correlations between intake of certain foods and weight gain. The list is mostly unsurprising – hey chips and pop are bad for you! – but I found it very interesting nonetheless.

Yogurt -.82
Nuts -.57
Fruits -.49
Whole Grains -.37
Vegetables -.22
Diet soda -.11
Low fat dairy -.05
Whole fat dairy +.10
100% fruit juice +.31
Refined grains +.39
Sweets/Desserts +.41
Processed meats +.93
Unprocessed red meats +.95
Sugary beverages +1.00
Potato chips +1.69
French fries +3.35

The number next to each food is the average number of pounds gained (+) or lost (-) over a 4-year period source

While this list isn’t comprehensive (“Where’s the chicken?” asked Quixotique on Twitter when I tweeted the study.) there are some things to note.

1. Why is yogurt is the food most associated with weight loss? Well it isn’t that it’s replacing raspberry cheesecake because it’s just that tasty. Rather, “Yogurt contains healthful bacteria that in animal studies increase production of intestinal hormones that enhance satiety and decrease hunger, Dr. Hu said. The bacteria may also raise the body’s metabolic rate, making weight control easier.” Plus it’s super cheap and easy to make your own!

2. Fruits and whole grains are more correlated with weight loss than vegetables. Is this because people generally eat more of these than veggies? Did they count potatoes and ketchup as veggies? Or have these carbs been unfairly villified? When researchers “compared the effects of refined carbohydrates with the effects of whole grains in both animals and people, they found that metabolism, which determines how many calories are used at rest, slowed with the consumption of refined grains but stayed the same after consumption of whole grains.”

3. Red meat is highly correlated with weight gain but the study doesn’t differentiate between conventionally raised and pastured which given other research might have showed a big difference.

4. Nuts are #2 on the list showing yet again that eating fat not only is good for you but will not make you fat.

Exercise also fared well in the research showing that “high-exercise subjects lost about 1.7 lbs vs. the very-light exercisers. On the other hand, watching a lot of TV led to a weight gain of .32 lbs in four years, and drinking more alcohol to a +.39 lbs.” But as Dr. Walter Willet, co-author of the study, explains, “Both physical activity and diet are important to weight control, but if you are fairly active and ignore diet, you can still gain weight.” Dr. Mozaffarian added, “Physical activity in the United States is poor, but diet is even worse.”

Other factors that heavily influenced weight were sleep (anything less than 6 or more than 8 hours a night was correlated with weight gain), alcohol consumption (wine was neutral but everything else correlated with more pounds), and smoking (surprisingly new smokers lost no weight but quitters gained about 5 pounds – double whammy!).

So I think we can safely conclude that there is a heck of a lot more involved in weight loss or gain than just calories in/calories out. Yes calories still matter but so do a lot of other factors. But even more important than arguing the “math” is that focusing on the positives, such as which foods help your body run at its best, may be a better approach to helping people improve their health than just saying they’re lacking willpower and discipline.

I have not read the original paper (although I’d love to) so my conclusions are based on other people’s conclusions. Have any of you read this study? What do you make of a “good foods/bad foods” approach instead of a “calories in/calories out” model – same shtick just different words or does this feel more, dare I say it, sane?

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

M. Lindsay July 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I think that if you focus on the healthy over the unhealthy foods you’ll generally feel more sated (because your body is getting what it needs), and you’ll as a result lose weight. I think that there are a lot of things that need to be kept in balance in the body, and a variety of healthy foods keep everything organized. I also find I crave bad food a lot less when I’ve been eating well.

So…healthy foods do more than help you lose weight, they also help keep your bones strong, tendons in place, brain functioning, etc.- so really, even if I don’t lose weight, the benefits of getting enough xyz vitamin or abc mineral are good enough for me.

Reply

Marion@affectionforfitness July 19, 2011 at 6:29 am

Interesting post! Well, I have also read a study that says that people who drink protein shakes will lose some weight from that, even if they don’t exercise. Not that simple, I think.

I know for a fact that my skinny teenage son who is my same height eats much more than me, and I weigh much more than him. A lot of people have somewhat slower metabolism than others, I’ve read research on that too. But a person must work with what they are given.

I have gained weight during a peanut phase of my life (but good cholesterol went up), so quantity definitely matters!

And watching calories has helped many people lose weight, even though it is an imperfect system. But the people who watch calories usually end up eating eat healthier food too.

:-) Marion

Reply

Anne July 19, 2011 at 6:39 am

I really think that we make weight loss more complicated than it needs to be. I mean, here we have an extensive study to show us that eating more fruits and vegetables and laying off the soda and chips is “better” from a weight perspective. Shocking! This isn’t revolutionary – this is common sense.

Given that most of the differences are less than a lb in 4 years, I don’t think this gets rid of the “calories in/calories out” model – especially since they didn’t adjust for total calories consumed in their model. I’ll bet you a dollar that those who ate more fruits, nuts, and veggies ate fewer total calories than those who ate more red meat, soda, and potato chips.

Reply

Katie July 19, 2011 at 7:07 am

I do think weight is a bit more complex than the calories in/calories out equation. I know for me, I think part of it is that there is a certain weight my body gravitates to. My BMI is 22.5 so I’m not in the fat category, but I always feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds. Well, I eat a ridiculous amount of calories per day (like 3500 calories and yes I do run a lot and I’m breastfeeding), and I maintain my weight with no issue. If I want to lose weight, I have to continue the same amount of exercise and eat 1800 or less calories a day, but as soon as I increase beyond that the weight comes back. And eating 1800 calories a day makes me feel like I’m dying…I can’t think straight, my running starts to fall apart, I get sick, I feel extremely exhausted. So, yeah, I think weight is more complicated than people would like to believe. It might a little less complicated if you’re really overweight and initially trying to lose weight, but if you’re just borderline overweight to relatively healthy weight, then it becomes more complex.

Reply

Dr. J July 19, 2011 at 8:11 am

For me, the quality of the food I eat has always been paramount. Because of that it is calorie availability versus calorie usage. My concern with saying it’s not about calories is it is just another excuse for people who eat poorly to use.

Reply

Katie July 19, 2011 at 8:34 am

I love this post!! Especially this part – “The notion that it’s O.K. to eat everything in moderation is just an excuse to eat whatever you want.” I just posted about how I hate that phrase, because it is a cop-out. I prefer my new phrase: “Nothing to exess”

Its interesting that diet soda was correlated with weight LOSS. Wasn’t it you who posted a study about diet soda being linked with weight GAIN? Dang scientists….why can’t they just agree already!?!

I just looked at the article and potatoes are associated with weight gain, but that includes french fries along with mashed. But they then say this: “A secondary analysis of potato subtypes showed that weight changes were positively associated with increases in the consumption of french fries (3.35 lb) and of boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes (0.57 lb).” Shocking, right?

AND weight was self-reported, though they said a subsample of reported weights was correlated with staff-measured weight, which is apparently enough….Actually everything was self-reported, which begs the question of how well people understood “single serving”. But that’s me getting all nit-picky. Again.

Reply

azusmom July 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

This morning I came up with my new motto: frugality with cash, credit, and calories. It doesn’t mean I’m going to get obsessive with calorie counts, it just means staying aware. Just as I need to be more aware of how often I whip out that credit card (gulp!).
And if I focus more on how I feel physically (and emotionally) before and after I eat, I’m more likely to make better choices. Heaven knows I need all the energy I can get, so eating the good stuff will definitely help with that.
And weight loss IS more complicated than basic math, especially as we get older. Put the good stuff in, move, and rest: It’s probably a good way to go.

Reply

Michel July 19, 2011 at 10:48 am

This is a great post. It would be great if it was all just eat less move more but people don’t realize that they can starve their body when they do that and they don’t get the results that they need. Also it depends on your day. If you are busting out 15 mile runs and only eating 1/5 of the calories you need to recover from that than you are going to have some issues. I watched Food Matters the other day and they said if I remember correctly that 80% of our food available today is processed. That was pretty shocking to hear but it’s a big reality. Our fresh fruit and vegetable section at the local store is tiny compared to the rest of the processed food section so it is a reality. * sigh *

Reply

Carly July 19, 2011 at 11:21 am

This makes my head spin!

I do believe it is more complex then calories in vs out, however that is a good starting point. I think the biggest culprit too is many people looking to lose weight by eating “diet foods” and packaged junk.

Reply

Kirsten Jones July 19, 2011 at 11:48 am

I have always felt that weight loss/control was more than a simple equation of calories in vs. out. It is oversimplifying the complexity that is our metabolism. While caloric intake is a fine thing to monitor to help get an idea of what your body needs to best function without weight gain, it should never be the end all be all of proper nutrition.

I also think that a good food/bad food list only invites eating disordered behavior. We need to focus more on how food makes us physically feel. I feel better when I eat a balanced meal. Too much sugar makes me cranky, just like not enough protein or carbs makes me feel sluggish. It’s all about balance. If it doesn’t make you feel good, avoid it. Having something chocolaty every day makes me feel good, I deserve to indulge. But too much chocolate makes me sick. Moderation in all things.

Reply

J September 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

Kristen! Awesome comment about paying attention to our bodies. My body tells me too immediately if what I ate was what I should – I almost equate the feeling to a “runner’s high” when I eat a meal that has in it whatever I need. Food is ultimately for energy, and it shouldn’t make you feel sluggish or cranky afterwards. To me, that’s a clear sign of something I should avoid. And, I have never felt when cooking at home that I have ever had to sacrifice taste or anything else when chasing that feeling.

It is rare I get that endorphiney feeling from something processed from a fast food joint (though it does happen) but I get it all the time when I cook at home with simple ingredients – even if the meal is close to “the same” (For instance, a burger and sweet potato fries). I think the whole obesity/nutrition discussion is far more dynamic than many researchers or we us as individuals give credit. I feel like there are a lot of individual factors that are probably difficult to reconcile in a “study” as they are typically done. It is really tough to derive a singular be-all, end-all formula that applies to everybody universally, and unfortunately that’s what studies, and we as consumers tend to look for.

Anyway, good call on listening to your body. It seems people who listen to their bodies for nutritional cues are few and far between. Everybody wants a formula :), but if you pay close attention to yourself, maybe you can do without. Take care -J

Reply

Quix July 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Yeah, last week at the nutritionist was a wakeup call. Just because I *had* lost 100+ lbs on calories in calories out, doesn’t mean it will work for this 20. The problem is contrast I think. Eating crap with less calories of course is better than eating crap with more calories, especially as a sedentary person who was very heavy. Now, I expect a lot more of my body with training and racing, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that it expects a lot more of me (woah, that was actually a lightbulb moment there… I had never thought of it that way until RIGHT NOW).

I’m not even counting calories now…and being told to eat snacks as I’m hungry. While it’s weird to avoid some foods, it’s almost like someone put me in Candy Land … you mean I can eat when I’m hungry as long as it’s good food? This is magical!

I also find it hard to believe that my 96% fat free ground beef once a week or an occasional super lean filet mignon is doing me any harm. Sorry, study :P.

Reply

Alissa July 19, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I don’t think the calories in/calories out model is necessarily flawed, its that our idea of what drives “calories out”, and hence “calories in”, is flawed. A lot of people seem to think that the only options for “calories out” are what we burn (BMR and exercise) or what we store (body fat). But it isn’t that simple. And there are many factors that go into what our bodies choose to store versus what our body calls extra and excretes as waste. Add in the variable of exercise, and I think for an average person, it gets hard to really think through. I’ve just started learning about insulin resistance and what really happens in the body. Long story short, ‘eat less’ isn’t necessarily an easy thing to follow. If the only signals your cells gets are ‘STORE ALL THE FOOD’, well, it can be hard to overcome that through diet changes alone, especially in the short term. Next add in that our ideas of what really constitute ‘healthy foods’ is incredibly flawed by people who skewed their own data, or completely ignored it, and really it doesn’t surprise me any more that we have the rates of obesity we do.

Reply

J September 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

Great post, if you haven’t read it already, I recommend “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes. Discusses this phenomenon at length. We gotta give up the idea that it is as simple as calories in/calories out, or any notion that every individual will respond the same to eating/nutritional methods. Plus, we have so much garbage in our food supply that may look “healthy” on the surface, but really we don’t know what some of the things in them do to us. -J

Reply

JunieB July 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

thank you for writing this! for someone like me who has hypothyroidism and takes meds for it, my in and out and burned on whatever activity is not the ‘norm’ as people see it in charts and what not. Its much harder for me to lose because of this fact and the charts dont apply !

Reply

Athletes4life July 19, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Clearly the most important thing to remember in any health goal is balance. If we are able to have balance with our food choices and our fitness goals then we should be good to go. How you refer to it shouldn’t be a discussions. Thanks for sharing this article with us.

Reply

LeslieGoldman July 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm

poor potatoes always get the shaft. I wonder if eating potatoes in a healthy way (ie a small steamed sweet tater) is a pro or con when it comes to weight loss? Actually, I can tell you, b/c I just wrote about this exact topic for Women’s Health: PRO! Preparation is key.

Reply

Dana Menard July 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Loved the post but I love most of your posts. If you want a copy of the full article, please send me an e-mail: I downloaded a copy. I’m a graduate student so I have access to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Reply

bethlin July 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I still think embracing “quality” food was something that I just had to mature into. I used calories in/out to loose some weight, but then I realized that I can be a happy, glowing 1XXlb person or a somewhat anxious and depressed, sort of droopy 1XXlb person. And the quality rather than the quantity of the food impacts not just how I look, but how I feel.

We all start learning to read by learning to speak, and then learning the alphabet, and then small words and then big words, etc. Calories in/Calories out is a good way to start learning how to be healthier and it’s viable and valuable…it’s just that it’s only the first building block.

And maybe that’s what we need instead of good food/bad food – we need labels like high quality food/low quality food.

Ohhhh, one more thing (I can’t shut up today) – it’s weird that diet soda is correlated with a negative weight gain when we’ve seen so much research lately showing otherwise…

Reply

Emily July 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Wow, VERY interesting!

Reply

Esmerelda Crow July 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I have found that different foods affect my weight differently as well. Though not necessarily as the current diet gurus would predict. For example, veggies and carbs like pasta and rice = effortlessly maintain weight or even lose. Unfortunately for me, over the past six months I have started eating meat again, and I actually did gain some weight. Then I got a little influenced by Taubes/primal stuff on the Interet cut my carbs…gained even more. But it doesn’t surprise me. I have always suspected that more is going on than “calories in/calories out.” I think it might differ from person to person though.

Reply

Stephanie July 20, 2011 at 7:27 am

Very interesting! I’ve always gone by the rule “If it’s unrefined grains, fruits, veggies, nuts or seeds, I can eat as much of it as I want”. If I follow this, then I tend to lose weight without having to worry about calories. But it’s the junk that gets me…candy, white carbs, french fries. The yogourt thing is interesting…I don’t really eat yogourt because it’s so sugary and I’m not crazy about the plain, but maybe I should!

Reply

Alina July 20, 2011 at 11:43 am

Yes, finally! You know how I feel about this already, but I don’t believe in caloreis in, calories out logic. I basically do a version of what they are suggesting – focus on nutritious unrefined foods 80-90% of the time, and eat whatever I want for pleasure a minority of the time. This is the plan that keeps me healthy and sane.

Reply

Kelsey July 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Great study! Once again, though, pretty straight-forward and DUH! to the American majority, wouldn’t you think? Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Jenn (GH) July 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Ugh, this is way too complicated for me. I just eat real food and enjoy a little bit of crap every now and then without guilt. It’s really so simple if people would just quit eating processed foods we’d all be better off. I can’t quite figure out why that is so hard for people.

I will say if I want to lean out more reducing grains does wonders for me.

Reply

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Is it sad that I now want to go out and buy a ton of yogurt?

Reply

Heather Eats Almond Butter July 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm

P.S. I have to say sleep makes a huge difference for me. I need sleep and when I don’t get enough, it affects EVERYTHING.

Reply

Charlene Berry July 24, 2011 at 5:39 am

Hey ladies,
I am retired and naiive me just found out about the differences (for me). It can’t be calories in/calories out. I agree with the poster that it is the quality of the food. As Americans, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements that convince us that something is good or bad. If we just listen to our bodies we will know what works for it. We are all individuals and have to find what works for us on a personal level. There are too many variables in the human body that have to be considered. Research can only deal in generalities because all those variables cannot be controlled. While I still eat meat, I get vegan proteins in my protein shakes. This has worked great for me because I have problems with IBS. It helps me cut back on the red meat, but still get great protein!

Reply

Bob Dobolina January 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

Harvard absolutely DOES NOT say the calories in/calories out model is flawed. In fact, they say just the opposite. From the report you’re referring to:

“Some foods — vegetables, nuts, fruits, and whole grains — were associated with less weight gain when consumption was actually increased. Obviously, such foods provide calories and cannot violate thermodynamic laws. Their inverse associations with weight gain suggest that the increase in their consumption reduced the intake of other foods to a greater (caloric) extent, decreasing the overall amount of energy consumed.”

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1014296?query=TOC&#t=articleTop

Reply

KaBone April 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Calories out > calories in is still the driving factor. What the article clarifies is that your diet and fitness regime affects the rate at which calories are burned. There are no fat starving people. What matters is that you are strong. Stong legs, strong lungs, strong heart. Strong people don’t really view themselves as overweight.

Reply

Chuck D June 2, 2012 at 12:42 am

Sorry, but the law of conservation of energy is a reality. Energy in/energy out is a cold hard proven truth. Take a physics class.

Reply

James February 20, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Calories in/out is flawed as it fails to answer the real question… WHY do some people take in too much energy? Its a mis application of the law of themodynamics…Gary Taubes has answered that its cabohydrates that cause fat gain….it does so because it causes the fat making hormone insulin to store it as body fat in people predisposed to that.

In short weight gain is a hormone disfunction issue….not one of overeating and laziness making you fatter,,,,in fact its the total reverse…being predisposed to being fatter makes one overeat and become lazy…

Reply

Jason June 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Usually people who follow this line of reasoning object to the math, and yet fail to demonstrate their own calculations — then continue to embark on an anecdotal tirade. I doubt that you actually calculated your intake for any meaningful period of time. Studies show that virtually everyone underestimates their caloric input. If you were gaining weight, you were eating above YOUR maintenance. Exercise tends to increase appetite while reduction in metabolic rate decreases with lean body mass loss — the metabolism is not some magical furnace. None of these alternate diet theories have ever proven calorie balance wrong — no matter how sensationalized the media headline based on the misrepresentation of scientific studies.

Reply

Ben November 3, 2012 at 3:45 am

Great article but however the author didn’t mention his/her age, weight, height and body type. while i agree that “weight” i.e fat loss is much more complex than calorie in/calorie out. general rule of thumb is eat less than your body requires. remember it’s not WHAT you eat, it’s how MUCH you eat. “TOO MANY” calories regardless of healthy food or not will see a weight gain.

Everybody is different though and will eventually plateau at a certain weight/body fat percentage. our bodies will starting fighting to keep fat. so we can’t say calorie in/out is flawed.

Reply

Devorah January 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm

This is an irresponsible artcle. You cannot just say “If the math was correct, how could I be eating less calories than a child, exercising like a professional athlete and still be gaining weight? My math didn’t add up.” You need to say what your actual calorie intake was, and how much you cut it. And if you were truly exercising like a pro athlete – you were probably gaining muscle! Most people are not even close to estimating what their real calorie intake is. But if you are exercising like a professional athlete, your metabolism will not slow down! It HAS to ramp up. You simply cannot fuel the exercise without glycogen. Period. Your body has to metabolize to keep your muscles and nervous system supplied If you expend more energy, your body MUST be metabolizing to produce it – that energy doesn’t come out of thin air!!!!

We should all eat healthy foods, but calories in/calories out DOES work for pretty much everyone! – if you know your true calorie intake and outlay are. People fool themselves about their food intake, and they fool themselves about how many calories they are expending.

Reply

http://fatburningfurnacereviewss.blogspot.sg/ May 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info specifically the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

Reply

Alex VanHouten June 5, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Thank you for posting this. I just posted a similar treatise on this topic and plan to go more in depth with the alternative model.

My blog speaks for itself as for as weight loss and fitness are concerned (http://thesmartjock.wordpress.com/). And I am happy to see other well-written articles on the subject!

Reply

Sports Betting Systems August 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Excellent, what a blog it is! This website provides useful information to us,
keep it up.

Reply

Buy Phen375 August 3, 2013 at 12:56 am

If you wish for to improve your knowledge just keep visiting this
site and be updated with the most up-to-date news posted here.

Reply

Joseph February 11, 2014 at 3:49 am

It’s always fascinating to read an article citing another that claims to repudiate a fact when all it does is reinforce it; namely, that a deficit of energy intake versus expenditure will result in weight loss. There is nothing whatsoever in those studies that denies this biological law, and plenty to support it.

The longitudinal study does not claim that any of its participants were trying to lose weight; and did not control for calories in any way (how on earth this could lead the author of this article to conclude that the Harvard study rebukes the calorie in/calorie out reality of physical life baffles me). What the study does say is the obvious: eating fatty or sugary foods that do not satiate will lead to an unhealthy weight. Wow. Hold the presses. The reason those that ate french fries regularly and exercised less (using the time to watch television instead, for instance) is that french fries have loads of calories per quantity than, say, tuna. Eat enough tuna to get stuffed you might have consumed 500 or 1000 calories; eat enough french fries to get stuff, you’ll have consumed 4 times that amount on each end of the spectrum. Then do nothing to burn the calories and you’re not offsetting the gain even minimally.

The only people who advocate alternate ideas of weight loss than the calorie control-exercise combo are those that have something to sell or those in denial for lack of discipline in admittedly destructive social environment constantly pressuring one to consume, and consume poorly. If you, the author of this article, are saying that you will gain weight no matter how few calories ingest daily compared to those you use in the same period of time IF you don’t eat the right foods, you’re one of the two above: in denial or selling something, perhaps nothing more than this website. In either case, the disinformation and ridiculously shoddy analysis is irresponsible to those who really would like be healthier.

Anecdotally, I’ve seen many people (friends, family, coworkers) try to shed weight using every diet plan/book/program under the sun only to fail, whether immediately or over time. On the other hand, I’ve seen those that dedicated themselves to re-learning how to eat by becoming aware that, contrary to the reality that made the old adage to “eat everything on one’s plate,” we live in a world of excess where portions are grotesquely mismatched to our physical needs, entirely in the name of profit and to the detriment of our youth and selves. The dieting industry is a billion dollar industry that ultimately–here’s the sick irony–promotes weight gain by assuring people that they will lose weight by doing X,Y or Z only for them to maintain their weight or gain more simply because they neglected to follow the only logical way to slim. It’s what your mother told you ages ago: eat less, exercise more. Incidentally, I lost 155 lbs in 9 months precisely by meticulously counting calories and moving more. Put a number in your head (whether 1200 calories, 1500, etc.) and stay loyal to it to the very best of your abilities, and you will not only succeed in losing weight but in developing a penchant for foods that naturally satiate and nourish. If I, and all of science and common sense, am wrong, I’d offer you your money back; but, then, I’m not asking for any. Just trust me.

Cheers

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 8 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: