I don’t eat calories – I eat food! I don’t want to be a mathematician at meal times. Part 1 explained that food labels are not precise… in fact Dr Jonh Bernardi of Precision Nutrition states they can carry up to a 20-30 percent error rate. Energy expenditure calculations can also be 25-30 percent inaccurate. So, even if you are extremely conscientious, meticulous and take the time to painstakingly calculate all these numbers, you could be 60 percent inaccurate!

Counting calories can raise awareness about portion sizes, but there are much easier methods that require much less time. Furthermore, the calorie theory has never been proven. Francis Benedict, in 1917, was the first person credited in conducting calorie deficit experiments. Researchers have shown that in the Benedict study, and every subsequent study where a calorie deficit has been created in a human, the outcome has been “some weight loss, accompanied by immense hunger and tiredness with an overwhelming desire to want to eat more and do less”. These studies show, says one of the UK’s leading dieticians, Zoe Harcombe, that “weight loss has never matched the 3,500 formula. It has never even come close; weight regain has been observed every time.”

Harcombe’s research points to the 1945 Minnesota Starvation Experiment as being the definitive study. “36 men were put on a 1,500-1,600 calorie a day diet with a moderate walk scheduled each day. They lost a fraction of the weight that the 3,500 formula would have predicted. The men turned into miserable, food-obsessed shadows of their former selves. Within six months, researchers found it increasingly difficult to induce any further weight loss, even dropping calorie intake to around 1,000 a day. Some men started regaining at a calorie level that should have seen them continuing to lose weight. Within weeks of the conclusion, the men had regained all weight lost, plus about 10 percent,” states Harcombe.

Unsubstantiated Theory

Harcombe asked the British government and health authorities to explain the theory. The responses were amazing. No leading agency had any idea where this founding piece of diet advice came from or supported its validity, yet it’s in all their literature!

There is almost a century’s worth of crushing evidence that the calorie theory doesn’t work. The mantra of “do more, eat less” for weight loss seems to be only making society fatter. It’s time for a recount… more crucially to start counting more important dietary and lifestyle elements. So before you sign up to any drastic weight loss programme, you should really investigate the method or theory. You might end up in a worse position than you started. 

Phil is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (Starfitnesssaigon.com), online or at your home. Contact him though his website Phil-kelly.com or Facebook.com/BodyExpertSystemsVietnam.