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How to eat more and still lose weight

Written by: Cary Castagna, QMI Agency
 

Jan. 9, 2014

The Calorie Myth (Jonathan Bailor)


This may be difficult to swallow, but you can forget the “calories-in, calories-out” formula for weight loss.

Because it’s just plain wrong, says nutrition expert Jonathan Bailor.

The flawed theory, which suggests obesity is due to nothing more than eating too many calories, is part of the dietary misinformation that doctors, scientists and government agencies have force-fed North Americans over the past few decades, he argues.

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“Think about it. Prior to the 1970s, no one knew what a calorie was. Forget about counting them,” Bailor explains in a phone interview from Seattle. “And there were (next to) no gyms. And everyone was slimmer and healthier. How’d that work?”

Simply put, not all calories are created equal. And that’s essentially the premise behind Bailor’s new book, The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better.

Cleverly launched in stores on New Year’s Eve to capitalize on the countless consumers resolving to lose weight in 2014, the book is the result of what Bailor calls a “10-year research odyssey,” as well as collaborations with top doctors from Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University and UCLA.

“It was the largest meta-analysis of existing research out there … over 1,300 research studies,” he adds. “We’re talking 10,000-plus pages of research to simply update our understanding of eating and exercise.”

And for the 30-year-old former personal trainer — a fit 195 pounds at six-foot-nil — it all boils down to quality over quantity.

“It’s not the number of calories that we eat, but rather what kinds of calories we eat,” he says.

Among the theories detailed in his book, Bailor notes that there are three fundamental causes of obesity: Neurological inflammation, hormonal dysregulation and what has popularly become known as gut bacteria.

Inflammation in the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that controls hunger, can result in overeating, says Bailor.

“There are also huge hormonal aspects,” he says in the interview.

“The most common example of hormonal dysregulation is most people, man or woman, find it harder to stay healthy and slim as they age. Why? Because their hormonal balance is changing.”

New research has also shown that more than two dozen species of intestinal bacteria appear to be linked to obesity.

 

Bailor is of the opinion that gut bacteria can be altered by eating the right foods — such as whole plants and nutritious protein — for long-term weight loss.

“The causes of these brain, hormonal and stomach-bacteria changes are not calories. Calories don’t change the system. Calories are simply fuel for the system,” he explains. “What changes the system is the quality of food we’re eating and, in fact, the quality of non-food. This is why processed foods, starches, sweets and trans fats are so diabolical.”

Bailor points to diabetes as an example.

“We know that diabetes is not caused by eating too many calories. Diabetes is caused by breaking down your pancreas by eating too much sugar and starch,” he says. “Again it’s the quality of food we’re eating. By eating foods found directly in nature — non-starchy vegetables, nutritious protein, whole-food fats and low-fructose fruits — anybody can be as healthy and slim as their genetics will allow them to be, and relatively effortlessly.”

If all the scientific mumbo jumbo gives you a headache, don’t worry.

The crux of Bailor’s message is to simply eat the foods that mankind was intended to eat.

“If you look at any culture around the world, when processed edible products are introduced into their diet, they become heavy and thick,” he adds. “And when they eat foods found directly in nature, they don’t. It’s really that simple.”

Bailor’s quality-over-quantity philosophy extends to his fitness regimen.

He trains just once a week for roughly 30 minutes, opting for high-intensity resistance exercises and interval training on zero-impact machines such as a stationary bike.

“When we’re exercising, the key is quality, or the force of the movement that we’re doing,” he says.

“When you do that, you work dramatically more muscle and therefore get dramatically better results.”

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