It’s FAR more important to look at the source of the calories than counting them. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need 45-65 percent of your daily calories in the form of carbs, as recommended by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.7It’s these kinds of nutritional guidelines that are responsible for promoting obesity in the first place! It would be one thing if the recommendation was that half of your diet should consist of vegetable carbs, but that’s not the case. No, the federal recommendations for carbs touted by health agencies and nutritionists around the country include starches, fiber, grains, sugar alcohols, and naturally-occurring and added sugars—the very things that drive obesity and chronic disease rates skyward… According to the 2010 Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,8 the top 10 sources of calories in the American diet are:
1. Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars), 139 calories a day 6. Alcoholic beverages 2. Yeast breads, 129 calories a day 7. Pasta and pasta dishes 3. Chicken and chicken-mixed dishes, 121 calories a day 8. Mexican mixed dishes 4. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks, 114 calories a day 9. Beef and beef-mixed dishes 5. Pizza, 98 calories a day 10. Dairy dessertsLooking at this list, it should be fairly easy to see the dietary roots of the American weight problem. Four of the top five sources of calories are carbs—sugars (primarily fructose) and grains—just as recommended. And while soda has dropped down to number four (it used to be number one), I still believe a lot of people, particularly teenagers, probably get a majority of their calories from sugary beverages like soda.
To Optimize Your Health, Pay Attention to the SOURCE of Your Calories
In order to curb the current obesity epidemic, we do not need more accurate reporting of calories; we need to start focusing on eating the right kind of calories. I firmly believe that the primary keys for successful weight management and optimal health are:
- Severely restricting carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, and grains) in your diet
- Increasing healthy fat consumption
- Unlimited consumption of non starchy vegetables. Because they are so low calorie, the majority of the food on your plate will be vegetables
- Limit the use of protein to less than one half gram per pound of body weightHealthful fat can be rich in calories, but these calories will not affect your body in the same way as calories from non-vegetable carbs. As explained by Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose in particular is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.” This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count. Eating dietary fat isn’t what’s making you pack on the pounds. It’s the sugar/fructose and grains that are adding the padding.So please, don’t fall for the low-fat myth, as this too is a factor in the rise in chronic health problems such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Your brain, heart and cardiovascular system need healthy fat for optimal functioning. In fact, emerging evidencesuggests most people need at least half of their daily calories from healthy fat, and possibly as high as 70 percent. My personal diet is about 60-70 percent healthy fat. Add to that a small to medium amount of high-quality protein and plenty of vegetables. You actually need very few carbs besides vegetables; so you see, the federal guidelines are about as lopsided as they could be… pushing you toward obesity and poor health, if you follow them.
The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.