Does Calorie Counting Work? No! And I'll Tell You Why!

Losing weight by calorie counting is as accidental as eating healthy food by randomly throwing goods into your shopping cart.

Why does calorie counting not deliver reliable results? Why does it work for some people and not for others? I'm going to explain this, right here, right now.

The basic idea and where it goes haywire

The principle of calorie counting is: You eat food, which contains calories. Point taken. And you burn energy moving, reading, talking, sleeping, which can be measured in calories. Point taken.

So far, so good. But there is one example I always like to cite when it comes to calorie counting. Read on and make up your mind about it:

Let's say you have two plates on your table with foods you can choose from. 

Plate number 1 has a very big chicken salad on it. The salad consists of green leaves, chicken, tomatoes, some herbs and very little cheese, olive oil and pumpkin seeds as dressing.

Plate number 2 has only a couple of cookies on it. These cookies are sugar-coated, full of chocolate and look simply delicious.

Calorie count: Both plates have the same amount of calories!

Image courtesy of foto76 /

Before you tell me something like "but the salad is healthier", let's not digress from our topic. We are talking about calories, and only calories. Nobody has yet come up with the statement that you should count calories AND eat healthy. People always say "if you eat less calories than you use up, you are going to lose weight". So let's stick to it right now: As  a calorie counter who is feeling hungry and knows that only calories are of interest, I am going to pick the cookies. End of the story!

This is a reality. It may seem unrealistic to you now, but think about it for a minute. The example may have been exaggerated, but it's only to show you how your daily choices look in general. When you have the choice between different foods. Are you telling me you want to rely on that logic?!

Why does calorie counting work for some people then?

Yes, some people are actually successful with counting calories and losing weight. But remember what I said in the beginning: Losing weight with calorie counting is accidental. Just like throwing random goods into your shopping cart, hoping to eat healthy.

Some people may actually eat the right foods, but this is not because they are great at counting calories. Maybe they just know that you should eat the salad and not the cookies. Or they know that you should rather eat vegetables than fruits, or at least to prefer fruits instead of noodles, potatoes, fries, rice and bread.

Some people know the tricks from other diets, such as no carb, atkins, south beach and whatever they may be called. We should not attribute their success on counting carbs.

Another reason why people sometimes still lose weight is that they accidentally do things right. Some people exercise while eating nothing in the morning, or not eating for a long period of time. Other people go straight to their grape juice and banana after exercising and are then disappointed when weight loss doesn't occur despite counting calories.

Why calories are not calories

Carbohydrates, fats and proteins all contain calories. It's like the weight measurement for nutrients. But claiming that calories from carbs and calories from proteins is the same is like saying that men and women are the same just because they are both human. This doesn't do it justice at all. Carbs are used differently and in a different efficiency than fats, or proteins. You have a totally different level of success if your meals consist mainly of protein than of carbs. Don't treat nutrients all the same, they simply aren't the same!

What should I do instead of counting calories?

If you want more than just average success, if you don't want to be just another weight watchers member, if you want other people to be impressed by your weight loss, and if you want to impress yourself, try a Low Carb Diet. Forget about calories, don't spend endless time calculating the energetic amount of your meal.

Why is a low carb diet the best diet in my opinion? Low Carb Or Low Fat is a post that might give you an idea. All my other posts also hint in the same direction. Check them out. All I can say is, you are not going to regret it. And I'm giving you the information for free. Just browse through this blog and get all the information you need. Forget calories, they are useless. And now, enjoy your low carb diet!

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