Do Calories Matter with food and exercise

The diet industry is full of misinformation, logical fallacies, half truths and hypocritical arguments. One of the worst is the concept that calories don’t matter in food but they do matter in the gym.

Almost all treadmills and exercise bikes display 'calories burned'

There are many diet philosophies that try to ignore the basic principle of weight loss being calories in vs calories out. They’ll talk about hormone regulation, specific food items that help change your hormonal make up and ‘mobilize fat’ and other foods that can ‘impair’ your ability to burn fat blah blah. You get the picture. In general they’ll find any excuse besides the total calories.

The hypocritical part comes in when the same people talk about the number of calories a specific exercise can burn. By doing this they are contradicting the original stance taken with specific diet foods saying that calories don’t matter.

So which is it?

Is it specific foods that somehow change you into a ‘fat burning machine’ or is it the total calories burned by a special workout?

This is a case of having your cake and eating it too (literally). Or it’s just ignorance of the way the body functions (I tend to think it’s the latter)

The point is the same marketing/media source will tell you that calories don’t matter when it comes to food, but that they do matter when it comes to exercise.

The real answer is that total calories matter when it comes to food AND exercise.

If you don’t believe me try overeating by 1000 calories every day for a week with all ‘fat burning foods’ or ‘healthy’ foods and I guarantee you will gain weight.

Then try undereating by 1000 calories every day for a week eating only ‘junk food’ and ‘fat storing food’ and I guarantee you will lose weight.

Or you can skip the personal experiment and follow the progress of a university professor from kansas state Mark Haub who started a calorie reduced diet eating twinkies and typical ‘junk food’ in order to prove the point that weight loss is just a matter of calories in vs out.

He reported that after the first week he had already lost 7lbs (I’m sure some of that was water, but the fact remains he is losing weight eating what many would call the wrong food)

His next step is to overeat ‘healthy’ foods to prove you can and will gain weight no matter what kinds of food you eat as long as you’re eating too many of them.

As long as people believe that calories don’t matter they will always be at the whim of the next diet fad promising people they can eat as much food as they want as long as it is healthy. Sadly these will be the same people frustrated that they’ve failed on yet another diet.