Why calorie counters are confused


We’ve all been misled about calories.

A few years ago I believed it myself. Losing weight was exclusively about “consuming less calories than you expend”. The mantra was: “eat less, run more”.

Fat people’s problems – I believed – came from them eating more calories than they expended. They were gluttonous and slothful; they lacked strength of character, which meant that thin people like me had such strength of character. This was uplifting news to me, if a bit prejudiced.

This way of looking at things seemed so obvious and simple. Today however, more and more people realizing how inane it is. Soon we’ll look back and laugh at the silliness. 

The mistake

The following explanation may be difficult to understand if you’ve been confused with the “calorie in, calorie out” logic. It takes time to digest the concept (it did for me, too).

Here’s what’s wrong with calorie obsession: It’s absolutely meaningless as helpful advice. It may seem logical and smart, but in fact, it doesn’t help people lose weight.

A typical example:
This sounds plausible, sure. But what does it really tell us? The fact that an excess of calories will cause weight gain is obvious. Really, it’s obvious to the point of the two things actually being one and the same. An excess of calories is simply the same thing as weight gain. When you realise this, you realise how the statement loses all substance:

This is plainly meaningless. It may be true, sure, but it’s devoid of any valuable information. It doesn’t say anything about the real causes of obesity.

Other generic statements from calorie fundamentalists include:
As a calorie deficit is equivalent to weight loss, we can expose this flawed proposition as well:
Again: a statement so obvious it becomes useless.

Comedy or tragedy?

This brainwashing would have been comical, had it not been for the tragic consequences. When a person with weight issues seeks the professional help of calorie experts today, they often end up hearing the following:


“Now now. There are many ideas about diets, fad diets and other things, but it’s really very simple. There is only one way. Forget everything else – there are no shortcuts. It doesn’t matter what you eat. Let me tell you: the only thing you need to focus on if you want to be thinner… Is to lose weight.”


Here’s what it would look like if people solved their maths problems by applying the same thought patterns as calorie believers do:


A little too simple, you’ll surely agree! This is as gross a simplification as believing that obesity simply results from excess calories.

Although many people are now realizing that the calorie paradigm being fed to us is meaningless, there’s still a long way to go. The believers are so convinced that they can’t see how redundant the reasoning is. The problem is they’re still misunderstanding the practical impact.

A better way

Here’s better (free) advice on losing weight. No calorie counting or hunger needed!

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