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Calorie Myth Book FAQ: Is Jonathan Bailor Claiming Calories Don’t Count?

JONATHAN: Calorie Myth leading up to the release of the book, which we’ve done and I so thank everyone for the amazing reception of this science to the mainstream, so thank you, thank you, thank you and as I probably should have anticipated there are some reactions and that is awesome.

It’s great to see the conversation out there and figured hey, might as well keep these little mini bonus, bonus Calorie Myth specific shows going to chat about some of that commentary so that first big thing is the – for some individuals who are not familiar with what we’re talking about here, right, not super familiar with SANEity, not familiar with Eccentricity, not familiar with the modern science of eating and exercise, have the following impression of the Calorie Myth book and that is that it is yet another book because there’s been one every ten years or so that says that calories don’t count and that calories have no bearing on weight and that you can just eat any amount of calories you want and not gain weight.

Now, if that is what I was saying, I would totally agree that that book would be bogus and no one should read it. Fortunately, that is not what I am saying, nor is it what the research is saying, nor is it what the book in any way shape or form says, in fact, there is a very specific section of the book that says the following:

Do calories count or not? Yes. So, it’s pretty unambiguous, calories count and it’s stated explicitly so in the book, but just to empower you because if you’re talking about the Calorie Myth with your friends and family and there’s anyone who is less than receptive — first of all, that’s all good, but I want to empower you with some things that may be helpful in those conversations because sometimes we may have to overcome a little bit of an initial gut reaction because people think they’ve heard this before. They think they’ve heard this oh, calories don’t count, (Inaudible 00:02:26) and they have, but that’s not the message we’re talking about, right? That’s not what you’re doing. That’s not what I’m talking about. That’s just not what we’re saying, so let’s make sure that folks actually understand what we’re saying and what is actually written in the book and what is actually backed by science and that is – calories count. On the record, Jonathan Bailor saying, calories count, however, that does not mean and can’t mean, that you have to count calories. Let’s unpack that.

Calories count. It is 100 percent true that if you were able to fit 10,000 calories of SANE food into your stomach, consistently that you would gain fat. That is absolutely true. Here’s what’s also absolutely true. Nobody will ever unintentionally stick 10,000 calories worth of SANE food into their stomach. First of all, their stomach would explode and second of all, nobody would do that. Overeating is not pleasurable. It’s painful when we overeat, it hurts. We’re stretching our stomach to an uncomfortable level and people don’t generally want to do that.

More importantly, again, calories count – that doesn’t mean we have to count them. There are three key – arguments or points that need to be made here separate from the science, so we’ve got whatever, — 326 pages and whatever of science supporting this in the Calorie Myth book, which if you haven’t checked out, please do so at caloriemythbook.com, but let’s just give you some talking points in case this comes up in conversation, shall we?

So, again, calories count, absolutely. If you over-consume calories, you will gain fat. Absolutely. Just like if the opposing team in an athletic competition scores more points than you, you will lose the game, but that’s just the tautology, it’s saying nothing. What we’re actually talking about is why people overeat, how you can avoid overeating, or the optimal qualities of food. We’re not debating whether or not a surplus of calories can cause body fat gain. Of course it can.

So, the three key points. You cannot be required to count calories. You can’t. You cannot. Why? Well, no one knew what a calorie was let alone counted them up until the 1970s and the scientific community like literally nobody knew what a calorie was until the 1800s, yet somehow people avoided obesity and Diabetes before they knew what a calorie was. So, that in of itself is a non-debatable fact that shows you cannot, you cannot be required to count calories to avoid obesity and Diabetes. Why? Because billions, billions of people have existed that did not know what a calorie was, yet avoided obesity and Diabetes. Also, animals, humans are animals. There’s a lot of other species of animals on the planet. None of them can understand the concept of a calorie. Only humans with our unique human brain can understand the concept of a calorie, yet somehow miraculously every other species on the planet when left in their natural environment does not over-consume calories.

Think about cows, grazing on grass. They have an unlimited amount of grass, however, they don’t become obese. Think of giraffes chomping on leaves. They have unlimited amount of leaves available to them, yet somehow they do not become obese. Think about fish, swimming under the ocean, lots of food available for them. Somehow they do not become obese. No other animal on the planet could possibly count calories, yet they avoid obesity, therefore, you cannot be required to calories count. It’s not saying that calories don’t count, it’s saying that the idea that you must count them is false.

Further, it is impossible to accurately count calories. It cannot be done. Even if you only ate foods that had the calorie count on the nutrition label, those are at most 90 percent accurate, so you’ve got a 10 percent margin of error, which over the course of a year could lead to plus or minus about 100,000 calories for the average person. That is a huge margin of error if calorie math was accurate and we needed to be precise. You can’t have to count calories because you can’t accurately count calories in. It’s not possible and don’t even get me started on calories out. That’s an even more ridiculous proposition because there is no way. There is no way to know consistently the number of calories you are burning. Seventy plus percent of the calories we burn through the course of the day have nothing to do with physical movement, none at all. In fact, if we manipulate our protein intake, our caloric expenditure on things like muscle protein synthesis can change dramatically. We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of calories which we could never know. So, you can’t accurately know calories in. You can’t. It’s even more difficult to know calories out, so again, if we had to count calories in and calories out, we would fail because it’s simply not even possible.

Finally, and this is my favorite, but I’ll leave your favorite up to you. Why is it that for those who believe we must count calories, we have to count calories, but that logic does not hold for any other substance we ingest. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, all of these things required – they are required to maintain life, however, we do not and cannot track the amount of them we take in, and the amount of them we excrete, however, the body somehow is able to maintain itself. Are we to believe that besides the fact that it can’t be required to count calories, seeing as how humans are the only species that could even do it and we couldn’t do it up until 40 years ago and actually we still can’t do it because it’s impossible to know accurately that we are to count just this one thing, calories, but nothing else.

Hopefully, it’s starting to become clear why I get so passionate about these Calorie Myths, because again, it’s just nonsense. It can’t possibly work that way and we are led to believe that we’re just stupid and lazy and if we would just count our calories more precisely we’d be better off, but that’s just wrong and ridiculous and it’s also wrong and ridiculous to think that calories don’t count. They do, but saying that calories count is not the same as saying we need to count them. Therein lies a key distinction. And therein lies a distinction that I hope will bring the mainstream along because man, that’s really when we’ll start to see change. When we get the mainstream to adopt this modern science rather that the Calorie Mythology of 50 years ago, that’s when we’ll start to see change. So, it’s really important to communicate that nuance, to your friends and family so we can see that mainstream change because we’re not here, right? The science is non-controversial and the science is not extreme. The science is what it is. And the science is quite clear. Calories count, but you don’t need to count them. That’s what why we’re talking about here is different, and that’s why what we’re talking about here works.

Thank you so much for joining me this week and remember this week, and every week after, check out a copy of the Calorie Myth book if you haven’t already, at caloriemythbook.com and be sure to eat smarter, exercise smarter, and live better. Chat with you soon.

This week we’ll get to the bottom of one of the most common questions circling around the web about THE CALORIE MYTH: “Is Jonathan Bailor Claiming Calories Don’t Count?”