Listen Up, People, This Is Important.

February 17, 2011

I just got an e-mail that said the following:

“i started tracking my calories and intake on myplate.  thank you for the idea.

Estimated intake is 2100.  On a good day I eat about 1700 or so.  Then they deduct for the workouts you do.  My overall caloric intake is based on a 1.5lb lose a week.  So, my question is…if I’m only taking in 1700 and then I’m burning off enough that I end up with a 900 calorie a day deficite am I going to lose weight? OR does my body interpret that as me eating 800 calories per day and going into starvation mode?  I am not hungry…in fact, I’m quite full.”

I find this HORRIFYING Please do not interpret my use of Daily Plate as any kind of endorsement of calorie counting!  I believe that it is basically useless and often counter-productive.

I am using Daily Plate ONLY to track how many grams of carbs I am eating.  Go read “Why We Get Fat” (less science) or “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (more science) — they both explain why the kind of “calorie math” you’re talking about (and Daily Plate irresponsibly encourages) is not the right way to think about things.

Listen to your body.  If you aren’t hungry, you feel like you have good energy levels and you’re recovering well after workouts, then it’s extremely unlikely that you’re in “starvation mode.”  If you’re going to use Daily Plate I beg you to ignore the calorie part, and focus instead on eating quality food, plenty of fat and protein, and if you’re looking to lean out, limiting carbs.

The things that Daily Plate tells you to do as regards “Your Recommended Daily Allowance” are irresponsible.  450g of carbs per day??!  That’s absurd.  They have clearly based it on the evil old USDA food pyramid, which we should all know by now is pretty much exactly the opposite of what you should be doing.

So: use Daily Plate if you want to keep track of things in detail — it does have a very extensive food database, a nice interface, and is very calming to one’s OCD.  But please DON’T become obsessed with calories just because whoever is behind Daily Plate has erroneously decided to highlight them.

Okay, public service announcement over.  Go forth and eat well!

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