ScaleWhat is the first word or phrase that comes to your mind when you read the word calories?!

When I hear the word calories, I think of weight loss or weight gain.

I was intrigued with the title of DaNelle Wolford’s new e-book Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too!, which is offered right now as part of the Village Green Network’s End of Summer E-Book Bundle promotion.

DaNelle, who blogs at Weed ‘Em & Reap, lost 35 pounds and she shares with her readers how she did it. She did not take weight-loss pills, did not exercise excessively, did not count one single calorie or use portion control and did not eat low-fat, low-carb, or low-protein.

Well, then what did she do? She ate real food, whole and unprocessed. She also ate whenever the heck she wanted to, even late at night. Ate dessert every single day and ate foods she desired, just substituted “bad” ingredients for “good”.  She ate all food groups, in a balance her body naturally desired.

In chapter 3, she focuses on modern weight loss myths which she claims have been causing confusion since the early 1900s.

  • Myth #1 “Losing weight is all about calorie intake.”
  • Myth #2 “Exercise is necessary for weight loss.”
  • Myth #3 “Get your lean protein here, get your lean protein there, be sure to get it everywhere!”
  • Myth #4 “A low-fat diet will make you skinny!
  • Myth #5 “Watch those carbs, they are evil!”
  • Myth #6 “Control those Portion!
  • Myth #7 Eat 6 Small Meals a Day!
  • Myth #8 Don’t eat past 7pm
  • Myth #9 Drink your weight in water!”

Myth #1 intrigued me because I’ve intuitively believed this ever since I was introduced to the dietary principles recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation. DaNelle explains that calories are not considered equal in the body. It is the quality of your calorie that matters. “What you eat makes quite a difference. Just counting calories won’t matter much unless you look at the kinds of calories you’re eating.” – Dr. Dariush Mozaffaria. DaNelle illustrates this point by comparing 2 tootsie rolls to an egg, both 70 calories.

2 Tootsie Rolls is 70 calories

tootsie-rollIngredients: sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, condensed skim milk, cocoa, whey, soya  lecithin, nature, and artificial flavors. No essential nutrients or minerals.

1 egg is 70 calories.

EggFull of fat-soluable vitamins A, D & E, as well as B1, B2, B6 & B12, one egg packs a powerhouse of nutrients. Additionally, it provides Folate and the minerals phosphorus, calcium, iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc, as well as antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

DaNelle asserts that the calorie theory, also known as the “eat less, move more” theory, is eternally flawed because it ignores the importance of nutrients – the very reason why we eat food in the first place!

What everybody seems to forget is that food is so much more than calories! When you ingest a food, whether it is a hamburger, a popsicle, or a whole-wheat brownie – each has many possible uses for the body. Depending on the food you eat, and the quality of it, your body may use it to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, make hormones, produce bile or stomach acid, store it for future energy such as glycogen or fat, or it may fail to be digested and become only partially absorbed, harming your delicate gut bacteria.

Yet, people like AnnMarie Michaels of Cheeseslave do report success losing weight by eating less and moving more in a recent article. She shared this last weekend that she has now lost 30 pounds. So while I do believe that not all calories are created equal, I do wonder if one path to losing weight is to eat nutrient dense food, but less of it … and move more?! I am interested to see if she will report that she has successfully sustained that weight loss over time.

Meanwhile, Kim Knoch, who blogs at Eat Fat Lost Fat  and The Nourishing Cook reports that she lost 40 pounds in her new e-book Kick the Weight with Keto How to Lose Weight and Feel Great on a Paleo-Ketogenic Diet, also available with this End of Summer E-Book Bundle.

Low Carbs

Kim lost weight by focusing mainly on counting carbohydrates, limited to 20 to 30 grams per day, so that she enters a state of ketosis. Nutritional ketosis, or keto for short, is a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate diet where your brain is using ketones for fuel instead of glucose. On the topic of calories, Kim seems to concur with DaNelle:

The little mantra everyone has been pounding over your head your whole life about “Calories In, Calories Out”, and my personal favorite: “Eat Less, Exercise More” is very oversimplified and has caused more harm than good. The truth is, calories do matter–but only to a point. What matters more is what types of foods those calories come from; 200 calories of coconut oil is not treated the same way in the body as 200 calories of a Snickers Bar.

So, while DaNelle didn’t count calories or carbs and Kim counted mainly carbs with a secondary focus on counting calories … both have lost weight. Both concur that not all calories are created equal. Read more about both of their different approaches to weight loss by purchasing their ebooks, offered  as part of the bundle on promotion for the next week. I am really enjoying reading each of these personal testimonials myself. Definitely food for thought!

What has your experience been of counting calories, carbs or neither and losing weight?