I count calories. I read food labels, and I weigh and measure my food. My calorie counting method is to record all of food in a computer food journal, which provides me with nutritional values for that food, and does the daily calorie math for me. The food journal that I use, DietPower, has an enormous food dictionary, and it also allows me to input food information from the labels of the food I actually use.
However, all of this carefully calculated calorie number is only an estimate.
We cannot be exactly certain of the amount of calories contained in the food we eat. This is partially because of labeling inaccuracies, partially because of measuring inaccuracies, and partially because of other things affecting calories, such as the the fact that even two pieces of the same fruit which are exactly the same size, can have small calorie differences due to the fruit’s ripeness etc.
The amount of calories going into a body are estimates,
How many calories a body burns once those foods are inside that body is also an estimate.
It is an undisputed fact that different bodies burn different amounts of calories. All of the charts and graphs and formulas for BMR and RMR, are merely based on AVERAGES. Different people, even those who are the same sex, the same age and the same size, with similar activity levels, will burn calories at a lower level or a higher level than the BMR and RMR average calculations which these formulas provide.
We cannot exactly KNOW how many calories we are taking in, or how many calories our bodies are using. However, even though this information is inaccurate, It provides us with useful Guidelines, which makes it well worth the effort. Calorie Counting has helped me achieve a large weight-loss, and it is helping me to maintain that weight-loss.
Many long-term, Low-Carb people seem to be coming around to an understanding that Calorie Intake matters. Although the Low-carb position continues to be “that it’s not a simple matter of calories in, calories out”, many long-term low-carb “experts” are now speaking out in support of the fact that calories do matter -- in that calories have a strong influence within a carbohydrate restricted context, and that low-carb eating is not a license for eating large and unlimited amounts of food.
This is based on the position that although “a calorie is a calorie” going into the body, calories are handled differently within a body, “downstream”, and while the basic process is the same for everyone, not all bodies handle the same number of calories in exactly the same way.
Regina Wilshire of Weight of the Evidence Blog, who defines herself as “Low-Carb Health Examiner”, states this position in the following way.
“while those who initially follow a low-carb diet do not need to count calories, calories do count - in context. The context is physiology, the chemistry within our metabolism which is driven by our endocrine system. It isn't simply a math problem to calculate input of calories and output of energy expenditure - it requires actual nutrients within the context of those calories because a calorie is not a calorie in our body - a sugar calorie acts differently in our body than a fat calorie. Context.”
I recently ran across a video about calories by Barry Groves, Oxford, United Kingdom, who holds himself out as a Nutritional author, lecturer and journalist; with a doctorate in nutrional science.
Dr. Groves is a well-known low-carb guy, and the author of books: Natural Health & Weight Loss (2007) and Trick or Treat (2008), and he blogs at Second Opinion. I’ve purchased and read both his books, as well as his blog, and found them interesting and informative with regard to providing support for the Theory that a low-carb diet should be high-fat, and not high protein.
I find this video posted below, “Why You Can’t Count Calories”, to be an interesting analysis of the calorie counting process.
A Note of Caution about inaccurate statements within this video about Protein calories and Protein requirements. People have a maximum and a minimum requirement for Protein. The official protein requirement is between 0.8 and 1.2 grams per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of Ideal Body Weight. Very few people have a 300 lb ideal body weight ... but if someone does, their protein requirement would be around 110 to 135 grams of protein daily. A generally accepted explanation regarding excess protein (and fat) is set forth below.
"So, what happens if you consume too many calories and/or too much protein? Basically, when energy sources are high, both glucogenic and ketogenic amino acids are converted to fatty acids through the intermediate acetyl CoA. Other amino acids that are degraded to intermediates in the Krebs Cycle are siphoned off into the production of urea, a nitrogenous carboxyl compound that is filtered through the kidneys and secreted in the urine.
Put another way, you now have fatty acids that can store as body fat.
It is for this reason one should not consider a low-carb diet as an all-you-can-eat buffet, just hold the carbs. Whether you're new to carbohydrate restriction, or a long-term veteran, you need to know how much protein you need at minimum, and also understand where the maximum is for weight loss and weight maintenance." ....... Regina Wilshire, Weight of the Evidence Blog.
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