Let’s clear up a little issue that has been popping up for me lately:
Calories are good for you.
All too often I hear people talking about the merits of a food (or, worse, an entire food group) and heralding the fact that the food is “low-calorie.” On the flip side, they will lament the unhealthiness of a particular food/food group because it has “all those calories.”
There seems to be this stubborn idea going around that eating healthfully is about avoiding or eliminating things from our diet. Some folks focus on carbs, some focus on fat, some focus on meat/animal foods, some focus on “chemicals” or “toxins” (surprise- your own body is already composed of chemicals and contains cancer cells…), and it seems that just about everybody focuses on calories.
Being low in calories does not make a food healthful, and being high in calories does not make it unhealthful. Because guess what yall…those calories?
You need them.
And not only that, but you need more than you think you do.
Calories are a measure of energy, which allows your body to perform its basic metabolic functions as well as any kind of movement or activity. Without any calories, you will die. It’s called starvation. Without enough calories, your muscles (and other tissues) will atrophy. Both of those are really bad news.
Sure, it’s entirely possible to consume more calories than you need, and that can be a bad thing. It can also be a good thing, depending on your situation and goals. It’s just as possible to consume too few calories. Chances are, if your focus is on avoiding calories (or carbs, or fat, or “toxins,” etc.) as much as possible, that you would do much better by putting your efforts into choosing foods that give you enough of what you need – including macronutrients (carbs/protein/fat), micronutrients (vitamins/minerals), and calories. Stop choosing your diet based on what it allows you to avoid, and instead look at it in terms of how it can maximize your intake of all the things that are good for you.
It’s a perspective of abundance rather than avoidance. Calories are not something to be feared. They’re something to be embraced a vehicle for nutrition and the fuel that allows our body to live and thrive.
I really like living, and I really like calories. And I embrace both.
What about you?