Who cares! That's the wrong question.
Calories are the smoke and mirrors of the fat loss industry. Sorry to burst your bubble if you've tried to lose weight with calories or points for years, but the calorie theory is a very compelling, and very WRONG theory.
Finally, the scientific community is catching on to this lie by the food and fat loss industry and starting to study food from different angles. There's a few aspects to the calorie theory you need to know...and they will give you the key to actually losing weight and keeping it off.
- Our ancestors NEVER counted calories, and they did not suffer from obesity the way modern people do
- You can lose weight quickly on a diet of anything if you keep calories at the right number, but almost nobody holds onto those results the second they get off their diet- meaning??? Calories are not the right focus
- The TYPE of food you live on and lose weight with makes all the difference, NOT the number of calories
- Quality and what you eat is everything. 100 calorie snack packs or soda will never make you burn fat. 100 calories of Broccoli, meat or almost and whole food will
And I am very excited by the findings of this recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They've actually shown that the Primitive Fat Loss System that I teach beats out the other two more popular diets over the last few decades.
Here's a quote from Mark BIttman, in a recent column he wrote in the NY Times opinion pages, called "Which Diet Works?"
"There’s an increasing body of evidence, however, that calories from highly processed carbohydrates like white flour (and of course sugar) provide calories that the body treats differently, spiking both blood sugar and insulin and causing us to retain fat instead of burning it off."
He goes on to discuss the results and conclusions from this study, which was focused on the more challenging goal of keeping weight off. He states correctly that more people struggle to keep weight off then lose it in the first place.
Those who ran the study created three groups to try three different diets, each consuming the same number of calories. One was similar to Atkins, with very high protein and very low carbs. One was the tired old low-fat diet, with the highest calories coming from carbs (many of which were over-processed carbs). And one was the low-glycemic diet (whole foods, very low processed carbs, meat, etc.)
Low-glycemic is the closest diet to what I teach, because as Mark properly states, it's really the traditional diet for humans. And again, as I like to remind the anti-meat crowd, people didn't suffer from obesity historically. And trying to create a low-glycemic diet without meat is like swimming upstream: Not very likely.
There were several conclusions that I think are fascinating. The first isn't a surprise to me at all. Those on the low-fat diet burned the least amount of calories metabolically during the day (ie. they didn't burn fat as easily).
And Two, even though the Atkins diet burned the most calories, it had significant health risks, like increased inflammation which leads to heart disease and other nasty symptoms. It's very tough to maintain because you're restricting a whole class of nutrients. Atkins stresses very low carb intake, even in its whole form like fruit.
The sane and easier to follow low-glycemic diet comes out on top. It's the easiest to follow, because you eat a balance of protein, fat and carbs. It's the best for your health, as you restrict foods that spike blood sugar, and those are the ones most closely linked to a litany of health risks. And from this study, it had the best success for people looking to achieve long-term weight loss.
Want to lose the max amount of fat possible and keep it off? If you follow the advice of this recent study, and all of human history, stop focusing on calories and put your attention on low-glycemic foods, whole foods, and high quality foods.