You might not expect to hear this from a nutritionist, but I ask my clients not to count calories. Why is that, you might wonder. After all, isn’t consuming fewer calories than you expend the magic formula for weight loss? Well, it isn’t quite that simple. For one, it is very difficult to accurately measure the calories we consume and expend. But what’s more important is that counting calories puts the focus in the wrong place. Because it isn’t so much the amount of calories in a food but what your body does with the food that counts. And, in that respect, foods of equal calories are not necessarily equal.
Just as no two people are the same. Two people eating exactly the same food will extract different caloric value from it. This is due to the complex interaction between the food (and how it’s prepared or processed), the intricacies of our own body’s digestive system and processes and the composition of our gut microbes. Even identical twins may metabolize the same foods somewhat differently, as their gut microbes may differ. If all this intrigues you, you might enjoy reading this article. So, rather than count calories, I’d rather focus on making calories count.