You Can’t Eat Calories..

A client of mine came in a couple of months ago after he had seen his doctor.  He was having a sudden gain in weight over the past few weeks. His doctor told him that his metabolism will not change and that he needs to match his energy in with energy out. He needs to eat more calories??? I performed a resting metabolic rate on him to determine his actual metabolism speed and how much energy his body was producing at rest.  I then prescribed a nutrition plan to match his metabolism and energy expenditure. I told him that he needed to eat NUTRIENTS to feed the energy requirement of the vital organs. Once my client knew what nutrients were he began to understand nutrition in a totally different way. He began reading labels and counting grams of protein, low glycemic carbs, good fats, vitamins and minerals, all of the components of nutrition. He didn’t count calories anymore. He also realized that you can’t eat calories.  I disagree with the idea of “eating calories”  to match the metabolic rate. This makes no sense!

The energy needed to increase the temperature of a gram of water by 1 °C is known as a calorie. A calorie is only a measurement of heat. However, food companies have capitalized on the term “calorie” to lure people into purchasing foods. Doctors are telling people to eat calories yet they fail to mention to the patient that we can’t eat calories, we eat nutrients.

You must understand that if a person has a resting metabolic rate of 1500 calories (energy burned off by active tissue) and if you just match the 1500 calories with foods that are not nutrient dense (vitamins, protein, low glycemic carbs, good fats etc.) then it does no good. Feeding numbers for numbers is nonsense. It is how many nutrients that you take in and how well you digest the food that counts. I don’t care about caloric intake. I think it is important to measure the resting metabolic rate because it shows how much activity is being produced by living tissue, this is a valuable measurement. However, personally I do not measure how many calories I take in because if I eat the required amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, carbs, fats, water that my body needs for tissue regeneration that is all I need to worry about. I do six small nutrient dense feedings a day. I have abundant energy, my muscles feel full and pumped during recovery so I know I am not in acute catabolism (breakdown and malnurioushed state).

If you are in tune with your body you will know how much your body needs. Just trying to get in calories (numbers) is not accurate. I will argue with anyone about this! I don’t care if they are a doctor or the FDA. If I were to follow the calorie idea based on my resting metabolic rate I would have to consume 10500 calories a day to match my energy output, now this is ridiculous! I have figured out how much of the vital nutrients I need in a day to supply the working tissue the tools necessary for cell growth.

Calorie counting is bogus, we should be counting nutrients instead. Do you know how much vitamin B you need per day? Do you know how much protein you need per day? Do you know how much potassium you need per day? Do you know how much low glycemic carbohydrates you need per day, etc, etc.? Doctors don’t tell you the exact amount of nutrients your body needs and design you an accurate meal plan to follow. They just tell you to match your energy in with energy out. So, you leave the office perplexed and wondering what the heck to eat. You have a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s, a Big Mac and French Fries and say to yourself “good for me I just got 1500 of my 1500 calories in.” These foods are of no value and you are now malnourished.

I am amazed at how little people know about nutrients. Here is just a brief look at the essential properties of protein.

I feel that we should count the number of protein grams we take in per day rather than just counting calories. The reason for this is because the body is a living entity that is built by proteins. Pro-tien = most important.

Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.  Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function.

 Proteins can be described according to their large range of functions in the body, listed in alphabetical order:

Examples of protein functions





Antibodies bind to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to help protect the body.

Immunoglobulin G (IgG)


Enzymes carry out almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells. They also assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA. Phenylalanine hydroxylase


Messenger proteins, such as some types of hormones, transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs.

Growth hormone

Structural component
These proteins provide structure and support for cells. On a larger scale, they also allow the body to move.



These proteins bind and carry atoms and small molecules within cells and throughout the body.

When you don’t take in enough protein you compromise the vital physiological network of cellular regeneration.

Protein is the most important nutrient. All the other nutrients work synergistically to support the properties and function of protein to keep the body living.

If you eat JUST calories for the sake of matching numbers and do not know how many nutrients you are supposed to take in per day to help support the properties and function of protein you are not going to see the results you want to see. Weight gain, illness, disease, catabolism are symptoms of poor dietary intake. Adjust your nutrient intake and you will see the changes you want. REMEMBER THIS MY FRIEND– It isn’t how much food you eat, it is how many nutrients you digest.

If you live in the Kennebunk, Maine area and would like a free nutrition consult and to set up a Resting Metabolic Rate test please email me or call at 207-985-7727. I can help you get on the right track.



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