As macro tracking and calorie counting has become widely used and easily achieved through apps on your phone, eating has become more about which foods fit within the numbers rather than which foods are best for your health and performance.
Even before macro tracking became popular, there were (and still are) programs that reduce foods into points, and you had to fit your daily food into that allotment of points.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with tracking your macros. It can be a helpful tool to teach people about what nutrients are in certain foods and what their caloric intake is.
The problem is, people get so caught up in calorie counting that they just try to eat the foods with the least amount of calories, rather than eating nutritionally dense foods, so that they can fit more food in or to “save” calories to fit in something fun.
Food ends up being more about the numbers than the nutrients.
For instance, instead of eating pumpkin and potato, people will just eat broccoli and kale. Instead of eating an apple, it’ll be celery. There’s zero-cal noodles and spiralled zucchini instead of spaghetti. There’s various concoctions of low calorie dressings and syrups and pints of low-cal protein ice cream under the guise of “being healthy” – when it’s all just reducing caloric intake.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these foods, and if you enjoy them, go right ahead and keep eating them. But if you’re not eating an apple so that you can fit in a whole pint of icy low-cal protein ice cream, it might be time to reconsider.
Food is how we get all the nutrients and energy we need to survive. It’s how we fuel our bodies to do all the things we want to do, how we have enough energy for our brain to function, how to help our hormones function optimally, and how our body is able to form new cells to help us recover from injury, illness, and training.
Yes if you eat more calories than your body requires, this excess energy is stored, usually as fat. However, we shouldn’t be so afraid of this that we cut out nutrient dense foods and keep our calories as low as possible.
Eat food for the nutrients it has, not the calories it doesn’t.