The Big Misdirection: Counting Calories Vs. Counting Chemicals
For years the standard for gauging dietary compliance has been calorie counting. We have all been guilty of it. Frankly, it is pretty difficult not to get suckered into counting calories. After all, food manufacturers even add up and break them down on every label you pick up. Yet, here is the irony. For what appears to be an effort in transparency, the reality of what is in your food is still hidden. So, if more energy, increased motivation, weight loss, or any other health related change is something you desire, then maybe it’s time to rethink calorie counting.
The Diversion of Food Labels
Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins provide insight into what we are eating. They even go a step further and delineate what types of fats and carbohydrates are in the food product. Fats are divided into saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The implied undertone here being that saturated fats are a risk for cardiovascular disease. However, this it not a sound argument alone for the development of cardiovascular disease. But this position has been pushed so aggressively that we now consider the two intertwined when they are not.
Let me not just pick on fats. Carbohydrates follow the same model on food labels. Sugars, fiber and sugar alcohols fall under the carbohydrate category. While cardiovascular disease has been the villain of fats, diabetes is the “poster child” of carbohydrates. How many carbs are you eating per day? Tracking carbohydrates is en vogue right now. Yet, few actually realize the difference between the types of carbohydrates. For many, they may be avoiding carbohydrates that they could benefit from, even when following a low carbohydrate diet.
No Wait, Keep That
Keep what? Keep the carbohydrate. Especially the fiber. You have probably even been guilty of this yourself. You look at the label, see the amount of carbohydrates, not realizing that fiber is listed as a carbohydrate. To me, this leads to confusion. Fiber does not act like sugars or complex carbohydrates in the body. As a side note, complex carbohydrates are not listed on labels. Yet, along with fiber, this should be the category of carbohydrates most eaten.
Even more so than total carbohydrates and sugar, fiber should warrant your attention. I can be matter of fact in making this statement because lack of fiber intake is staggeringly dismal for the entire population. In fact, I will go further and say that if most of your food has labels, meaning you are not getting fresh vegetables and fruits that make up the majority of your diet, I am confident your fiber intake is too low.
Again though, don’t feel bad about this now. Labels have been designed in such a way to be transparently deceptive. You can add up the calorie count and still not be completely clear on what you are eating, much less the impact that it is having.
What Does This Word Mean?
At the crux of deciding whether you should stick with counting calories vs. counting chemicals has to be language. Maybe the more appropriate wording is foreign language. Unless you are a chemist or food industry insider, many of the words seen on labels have no meaning to you. This is intentional. Here is the logical thought, although it is wrong. “I don’t know what that word means, but it’s on the food label and they (the food industry) wouldn’t put anything in here that is unsafe.” Does that comment hit a nerve? If so, you have been played the fool by the food industry.
The words that you don’t know and glance over, in other circles are most often labeled as toxins. Toxins trump calories. Think about this logically. Would you rather eat a few more calories, or a few more toxins? Those few extra toxins that show up on labels as words you don’t understand are destroying your health much faster than a few extra calories. Even worse, their effects are not short-lived. Consume a few extra calories and increase your weight for a day or two. Consume toxins and increase your weight for possibly months or years. Is this really a hard choice?
The Professional’s Approach to Counting Calories vs. Counting Chemicals
So you might now ask, “Well Dr. Hill, how do you approach counting calories vs. counting chemicals?” You are going to be shocked at how simple I make this. Too often there is too much thought given to this question. Frankly you can save yourself a lot of time following my approach. It cuts out most of the potential for being misdirected by the food industry and if done right, you don’t even give the food industry a chance to fool you. My personal approach to counting calories vs. counting chemicals is eat as many foods as possible that are don’t have a label. Fresh vegetables and fruits from the farmers market, your local CSA, grocery story or even your own backyard garden.
Let me not mince words. Counting calories is a waste of time. I have never instructed a patient to count calories. Not to mention, no one wants to do it, myself included. I teach identifying chemicals and their sources with complete and absolute avoidance. The chemicals are the problem. They are fat promoting, brain deteriorating, hormone stealing and immune system sabotaging poisons. Not my opinion, but fact. Ask yourself how good you are going to look and feel with excess body fat, your brain fried from inflammation, no hormones and your immune system attacking you. That is what you can expect from focusing on counting calories vs. counting chemicals.
Think You Really Know What the Food Label Says?
If you made it this far, you have been doped. The food industry labeled you as another fool that bought into the marketing. Oh, they may not have written your name down in their stats. But if you think you are not another number displayed in a board room displayed to food industry executives, you are only fooling yourself.
The food industry lies and misdirection sicken me. However, before we starting ranting with negativity, which I am not a fan of, or you stick your head in the sand, I want to give you my FREE Low Tech Label Reading Quick Guide. Read a label like a pro in seconds and never be made the fool again.
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