You’ve been counting calories forever and that’s totally understandable. But also — you’re probably doing it wrong, and one of the world’s most prolific nutrition coaches wants you to know it.
Max Lugavere is one of New York’s most level-headed exports, posting sensible information in a world of misinformation and detox tea.
Posting to his 327,000 Instagram followers, Lugavere recently weighed into the calorie counting debate, asking the same question The Economist recently posed: “given that the great majority of diets fail, could the calorie be one of the biggest delusions in dietary history?”
Taking the time to expose the problem with self-styled influencers’ rigid monitoring of kilojoules along the way, this is Max’s answer.
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While he admitted calorie counting “can be useful for some [people]… to assess the energy content of calorie dense modern processed foods and to see how they fit within [their] energy balance,” and guide you “past a weight gain or loss plateau,” Max then emphasised his initial premise — if you’ve been counting calories with the goal of keeping healthy, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
“In general I think (and the research supports)… [calorie counting is] less necessary when sticking to minimally processed foods that fill you up without providing excessive energy from combined sugar and fat.”
“Calorie counting,” he then added, “is a new phenomena enabled by technology. But the calorie counts for foods are subject to a wide margin of error. Not to mention the ‘calories out’ side of the energy balance equation is hard to measure and subject to flux based on hormones, musculature, activity levels, and more.”
“If calorie counting works for you [then] by all means continue to do it! There’s no doubt that it can work. Just note that many of us get by (and achieve healthy bodies and the weight we desire) without it.”
Piqued? Here are some of Max’s top tips to make achieving an energy balance (or deficit) more effortless.
- Get more and better sleep
- Lift weights
- Stick to unprocessed veggies, whole fruits, and meat/fish/eggs
- Use nuts and seeds as toppings as opposed to snacks
- Avoid ADDED sugar and fats
- Avoid packaged, processed foods
- Avoid drinks with calories