We know that the dieting and weight loss game has changed forever, yet most of us continue to follow the same programs that have been around for a long time. From counting calories to simply repackaging old techniques and attempts to introduce these programs and products as shiny new ways to lose weight and improve health, not much has changed. Truth is, most of what the general population is following now are the same techniques for dieting and exercise that were introduced in the 1940s and 50s.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have continued to believe and follow as the one and only solution to lose weight is the calorie-counting game. We have all heard it. The best, fastest way and sometimes argued as the only way to lose weight is to simply reduce caloric intake. Basically, don’t eat more calories than you exert daily. There are calorie counters on everything from treadmills to jewelry! Of course they are also on most food labels by law. Let’s blow up the one simple problem with this. Everyone knows how to count calories except the human body! In fact, all those people who know how to count calories could not define what a calorie actually is. In the past, when food was actually food, counting calories would have been more effective.
In 2018, the calorie has morphed into something truly insignificant. There is even a term for the calorie that defines it much better in terms of food and health and that is called an “empty calorie”. People load up on these empty calories, which have zero nutritional impact, and they continue to eat until there are only crumbs in the corner of the bag. Our focus needs to shift from calories to a nutritional approach. It’s not about how much we eat; it is about what is in what we eat. If we can feed the body from a premium fuel source, the body will work synergistically and take care of most day-to-day ailments on its own. The way most Americans are eating is essentially like fueling a Lamborghini with cheap gas.
In a perfect world, the body internally regulates every system at a high efficiency. If it needs to cleanse itself, it will. If it needs to burn off extra fat, it is designed to do so. The easiest way to burn fat is to stimulate the body’s metabolism. To increase metabolism over time, the body needs highly nutritious sources of calories.
Because the body’s hormonal and natural processes have been confused by increased exposure to synthetic chemicals, artificial sweeteners and overall poor nutrition, we need to change our eating habits to be healthy and maintain a reasonable body weight. Today’s food largely lacks vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, which are often destroyed in food preparation. Humans are consuming more calories in order to compensate for nutritionally barren food. Therefore, reducing our caloric intake can no longer be considered a reliable way to maintain health and achieve weight loss. Even food companies that put forth “fortified” or “enriched” products often substitute synthetic chemicals for naturally occurring nutrients that are no longer abundant in most foods.
Conventional dieting just does not make any sense anymore. And yet there seems to be a new diet every week, encouraging people to reduce calories to reduce their waistlines. However, reduced caloric intake can lead to a further reduction in nutrients, and thus less protection against toxins and worsened health.
Scientists are now concluding that so much of our food supply is becoming almost nutritionally bankrupt. This covers a wide array of fruits and vegetables where some of the nutrients are almost non-existent. This gets back to the whole idea of a calorie without nutrition is basically like eating air. This is why many people experience hunger after consuming huge quantities of nutritionally bankrupt processed foods. And we wonder why we keep eating and eating. Well it is because our body is still looking for the nutrition that continues to vanish.
In the book Beating the Food Giants, biochemist Paul A. Stitt provides evidence that supports the premise that calories should not be the standard by which we base our eating, health, and longevity.
“The organ that controls our cravings for food is called the appestat. It is located at the base of the brain, possibly in the hypothalamus (an area of the pituitary gland). The appestat is constantly monitoring the blood for nutrient content. Only when 51 nutrients are present at their proper levels will the individual feel entirely full and satisfied. If any one nutrient is missing, the individual feels hungry” (Stitt, 1982).
He continues with more scientific evidence about nutritional deficiency’s effect on hunger. In an extensive study on dietary relationships conducted by nutritionists Dr. R.A. Harte and Dr. B. Chow discovered that the absence of a single essential vitamin, mineral, amino acid or fatty acid could create a “shock wave” that hinders metabolizing all other nutrients (Stitt, 1982).
It is clear that getting an improper nutrient balance can be almost as bad as getting no nutrients at all. It is important to remember that the body’s hunger mechanism is affected by the presence of nutrients, not just calories. Although much more complex, the body works synergistically, like a car. A car can have a perfectly tuned engine, but without gasoline it won’t run. Or a car can have a full tank of gasoline, but the battery is dead. A car can have gasoline and a new battery, however if it has a flat tire it is not going very far. This is how the body works as system. All the systems need to be functioning if we are to ever have optimal health, and to be able to live healthier longer.
It should now make more sense as to what we are up against and why old-school dieting methods will no longer work. We need to level the playing field and strap on the equipment needed to keep us healthy. We have one body to last us a lifetime. At the time of this publication, we have yet to figure out how to swap out of an old, unhealthy body into a fresh-out-of-the-oven and healthy as ever, brand new shiny model.