This is an interesting article from Michael Giardina about the quality of your calories and why we eat what we eat.
In fall 2017, I spent 45 minutes speaking to CrossFit Inc.’s Seminar Staff about the nutrition lecture in the Level 1 Certificate Course. The original intent was to help staff lecturers develop a deeper understanding of the material.
As an example, I used our stance on the “calories in versus calories out” model. The traditional approach—“take in less than you expend”—is not sufficient to account for current levels of obesity and chronic disease. A short clip of from this lecture was posted to Instagram, and many viewers didn’t quite understand my main critique. This article should help the reader understand the main problem with the calories in/calories out approach to explaining metabolic dysfunction.
Energy Balance: An Oversimplification
It is widely accepted and proven that obese people take in more calories than they expend. It’s not that calories in/calories out needs to be completely discounted, but the energy-balance equation, as it is called, is an oversimplified approach that does not explain the chronic-disease epidemic.
Centers for Disease Control figures from 2014 show that 36.5 percent of Americans over 20 are obese, yet I do not believe they are just gluttonous and lazy. So why is the epidemic getting worse? The answer to this question can help us develop a solution. Essentially, the body and the brain do not treat all calories the same.
First, let’s talk about how the brain treats calories differently. This gives some insight into why we eat more than we need—hedonic eating (overeating) as opposed to homeostatic eating (eating to meet energy needs). Before food was readily available—especially processed food—humans had to hunt and gather food to stay alive. Over tens of thousands of years, our brains evolved to prioritize foods that offer the greatest chance for survival: readily accessible, palatable foods that provide high amounts of micro- and macronutrients. The brain prioritized these highly palatable sweet and savory (umami) foods in order for the species to survive.