Who Needs Carbs

managing an LCHF lifestyle in Israel

Calories, schmalories …

Hubby came home the other day, showed me an article in the news paper and started to explain why this was so wrong. Since the subject isn’t in any way new to me, I urged him to write a guest entry to let off some steam. 😉

Here are his words:

The newspaper last week had an article about how fattening the Passover holiday is. The article includes a table of various foods, the number of calories in each, and how much exercise is required to work off those calories. Of course, it’s all nonsense, and in a minute I’ll explain why, but what bothers me even more than the misinformation is that it came from a senior dietitian at Israel’s largest HMO (Kupat Holim) – someone who should certainly know better.

Here are some examples from the article: one matza with chocolate spread “has” 250 calories, and to work it off you have to dance for 50 minutes; 100 grams of meat “has” 300 calories, and you have to walk for an hour to work it off, and a glass of sweet red wine (why would anyone want to drink that?) “has” 170 calories, and you’d have to jump rope for 45 minutes to work it off.

So why is this nonsense? First it helps to remember that a calorie is a measure of heat, and it’s really just used as a convenient way to compare the energy values of different fuels. To run a car, the fuels may be gasoline or natural gas (or electricity which is mostly produced by burning some kind of fuel), and to fuel our bodies we burn food (in our bodies, not on the stove). But even though different fuels may have the same energy (caloric) values, that doesn’t make them the same. If you put the wrong fuel in your car, you can ruin the engine. And if you put the wrong food in your body, you can ruin it too. The body runs quite well when fueled by some foods, and rather poorly with others. Some foods will help the body be a lean mean machine while others will make us sick and fat.

And this is where the food industry and the health authorities we’re supposed to trust fail us big time.  They lead us to believe that all calories are created equal, and they’re just not. Gary Taubes explains this quite nicely in his book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”.

So just remember that just like all shoes aren’t the same, all cars aren’t the same, and all people aren’t the same, neither are all calories the same. And when you make diet choices, it’s important to know if the calories are from protein, carbohydrate, or fat. To complicate matters even more, not all protein is the same, not all carbohydrate is the same, and not all fat is the same. After all, meat and eggs are mostly protein, but so are botulism toxin and snake venom, and I doubt you’d want to eat those.


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This entry was posted on March 30, 2013 by in General and tagged , , , .

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