From conventional wisdom to expert advice––do calories matter as much as we think?
Calories are a much maligned component of the diet; they always seem to be demonized, particularly for anyone looking to lose or maintain their weight. Calories are, in fact, necessary for our survival and act as our bodies’ fuel and building blocks. Calories are derived from macronutrients, including protein, carbohydrates and fats. In a single gram of protein or carbohydrates, there are 4.5 calories, whereas a gram of fat contains 9 calories. All of these macronutrients are necessary for our bodies’ wide variety of chemical, structural and energy needs. For instance, your muscles are composed of proteins, your brain is made up largely of fat, and carbohydrates act as an efficient fuel source, particularly if you are active.
Generally, most people are advised to stick to between a 2,000 and 2,200 calorie per day limit. At this level, you are giving your body sufficient energy and building blocks to maintain it’s current shape. Many diets, however, advise restricting calorie consumption, often to dramatically low levels. While some people can have success with this, often it is not a sustainable practice. Generally speaking, people are most concerned with the number of calories they eat when they are attempting to lose weight, but there is some evidence that cutting calories dramatically can actually be detrimental to weight loss, forcing your body into “starvation mode” in order to preserve the reserve energy that it does have. This can make losing weight much more difficult.
Ultimately, the practice of counting calories can be a tiresome, cumbersome and often unsustainable task for many. While it can be a useful tool, it is worthwhile to ask if it is necessary, particularly if you are trying to lose weight.
The Kaufmann Diet and Counting Calories
On The Kaufmann Diet, there is no need to count the number of calories you are taking in. Ultimately, what matters is what you eat, not how much. You are restricting many of the foods that many people eat every day, including grains, corn, sugar, soy and starchy foods like potatoes. Yes the goal is somewhat to restrict certain kinds of carbohydrates; this, however, is achieved not necessarily by counting anything so much as it is by eliminating certain foods.
The goal of the Kaufmann Diet is to starve potentially pathogenic yeast inside the body and eliminate foods that are contaminated with mold poisons, known as mycotoxins. While it is true that you are eliminating many foods, you are also permitted to have as much to eat as you want of the foods that are allowed on the diet. In other words, there is never a reason to be hungry while on The Kaufmann Diet. Subsequently, many people lose significant weight without ever counting calories, weighing their food or tracking anything other than the kinds of foods they eat.
Ultimately, you are more than welcome to count calories on The Kaufmann Diet if you so choose, and for people like performance athletes, this may be a beneficial tool. Generally however, it is not something that is necessary to glean the benefits of The Kaufmann Diet. When we stop quantifying foods and start worrying about the quality and types of foods we are eating, it is remarkable how often our bodies handle the rest.
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