Calorie counting is probably the worst possible system that exists for maintaining weight or good health. Why?
Calorie counting, as a system for the selection of foods in the diet, completely omits the recognition of nutritional elements. Using the calorie counting system only, can literally kill you.
Health is obtained through nutritional elements. The calorie system does not take nutritional content of food into account. It can thus give the false perception that one is eating healthy. Toxic sludge could be assigned a calorie count, and in this way could be made to sound like the “healthy choice”. (In fact, this is a regular practice.)
Prime example, there is not one valuable nutritional element in Coca Cola. Any doctor will agree with you on that. The only truthful advertising by Coca Cola is “Coca Cola Zero” – as in, zero nutritional value. But many people who are dying to lose weight would think this is a healthier option – after all, it has no calories.
According to the calorie-counting logic, an orange has about 45 calories, while Coca Cola Zero has none. So Coca Cola Zero now “looks” like the better option. Yet an orange is full of nutrition that helps the body. Coca Cola Zero contains zero useful ingredients, other than water, and it contains harmful ingredients that will set one back in one’s health and weight-loss goals.
On the other end of the spectrum, the web is full of articles on “the latest and most incredible super-nutrient,” the “magical supplement,” the “one food item you need to eat every day in order to maintain good health.” And while there is truth to most of those statements, plenty of people alive today are doing well without access to Goji berries, coconut oil, avocados, or whatever superfood is part of the latest marketing effort. All of these examples are foods I eat due to their health benefits, so I am certainly not saying they aren’t valuable. But different societies and peoples have different foods available to them at different times of year. Where we can err is in thinking that good health can only be obtained if we include a specific food item in our diet, or that we can ignore other aspects of our diet as long as we are consuming one specific item.
So, what is the most important nutrient? How do you objectively decide what is the most important? And what is an ideal diet?
Well, the truth is that modern science has not yet established the “ideal diet.” Yes, there are many movements regarding what a good diet consists of, but no real consensus. There certainly is hot debate between the different factions: Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Raw Food, and so on.
So let’s take a look at the subject of nutrition. Let us put a few facts in place that everyone can agree on no, matter what dietary position they choose to take.
The ideal diet would contain all required nutrients including a complete set of vitamins and minerals needed for good health, for the building and maintenance of bodies, and for the production of energy.
That would be the best possible scenario for good health, don’t you agree?.
Another important factor would be that the diet would not include things harmful to one’s health.
These two points give one the essential starting point to evaluate what one eats. One can formulate two simple questions about any food item in order to determine its relative value.
Does it contain real nutrients the body needs? And is it free from things that are harmful or damaging to these nutrients, or to one’s body?
The answer to these two questions will allow you to judge how good or bad something is for a body.
This is entirely different than the calorie counting system. These two questions should be the starting point for determining good health.
More about this subject in next week’s article.