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Nutrition in Crisis - the Calorie Myth

I am starting a series of posts that will cover how the science of nutrition has become radically divided and controversial. I will use, as my main source Dr. Richard Feinman's book "Nutrition in Crisis: Flawed Studies, Misleading Advice and the Real Science of Human Metabolism" as a guide.

Dr. Feinman has an excellent section in his book entitled "A Brief Primer on Carbohydrate Restriction." The idea that the only way to lose weight is by counting calories is a myth. And the old saying that a calorie is a calorie regardless of the food choice gets at the heart of the crisis in nutrition. Actually, it's carbohydrates that trigger insulin and this in turn tells your body to store energy. (Insulin is both a storage hormone as well as a growth hormone.)

For most people, cutting carbs or going keto will make them lose weight even if they eat to satiety. This is because protein and fats make you feel full compared to carbs and sugar, which often bring on more cravings.

Doctors will often warn patients about the saturated fat in a low carb diet, but actually it is a low-fat diet that is problematic. Losing weight on a low fat diet means being hungry and miserable all of the time. Most people give up on this diet in a few days or weeks. As far as the warnings about saturated fat - we can simply look at old-fashioned foods such as eggs and cheese and see that these foods have been eaten for thousands of years with no ill effects. It is in fact the highly processed starchy foods that are bad for your health.

In fact, archaeological evidence points to the likelihood that the bones and dental health of members of early hunter-gatherer tribes (who subsisted on a relatively high-protein diet) were healthier than those of ancient farmers, whose diets were higher in carbohydrates.


While some people will reach a plateau on a low carb diet and will need to add intermittent fasting, it's important to understand that fats and proteins are self limiting in terms of consumption. This allows some peace of mind when eating. Low carb dieters don't need to weigh every gram of food or count every calorie.

Ultimately, we need to be less obsessed with diets and understand that eating a high quality diet is both good for us and very satisfying. If you have been struggling with weight issues, this can be a great burden taken off of your life.

For coaching on nutrition I suggest checking out

There is a way out of the dietary mess we are in and it starts with understanding that calorie counting is not the solution - we need science not myth and disinformation.

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