Every diet, every nutritionist, and every organism follows three universal principles:
The number of calories you eat determine your body weight.
The macronutrients you eat determine your body composition.
The quality of the foods you eat determine your health.
Calories –> Body Weight If you disagree, find a study where calories were completely controlled for (not self-reported) and this did not happen. I haven’t found one. Additionally, think about how far removed counting calories is from the day-to-day life of Americans. Have you ever done it? For how many days were you consistent? Did you count everything accurately, including that tiny corner ripped off from a cookie? Every time I count calories, Karli counts, Mark counts, my mom counts, and my dad counts… we lose body weight. Every time. But recognize that you don’t have to count calories to have success. There’s just a direct correlation between weight-loss (or weight-gain) and calories consumed. Macronutrients –> Body Composition Any amount of calories are made up of macronutrients. Where this gets confusing is that not all calories are created equal: 2,000 calories of fat (222g fat) have a different effect than 2,000 calories of protein (500g protein). Your body needs different amounts of macronutrients based on genetics, activity, existing body composition, goals, past meals, and other factors. For example, if you want to gain muscle and haven’t eaten all day – the protein calories in your next meal are important. So while the quantity of food can be measured in calories or macronutrients, knowing the macronutrient distribution of the calories gives you a more granular understanding of fat (versus weight) loss, and performance. This also explains why you might see a difference in diet approaches when macronutrient ratios shift. Not all calories are created equal! Quality –> Health What scientists have found in the blue-zones of the world (areas without chronic disease or with many centenarians) is that they eat a lot of whole, unprocessed foods. It’s not that surprising to recognize that we need essential vitamins and minerals for our mind and body to remain healthy. Eating meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit will lead to a healthy, long life regardless of caloric and macronutrient intake. But the other reason quality is so important is that when you focus on quality foods–quantity tends to fall in line. The low caloric density and filling nature of whole foods can be one explanation. You fill up on a lower caloric cost than when compared to filling up on chips, ice cream, and bread. Takeaway The quantity of food is reflected in your appearance and the quality of that food is reflected in your health. Here’s the caveat: quantity also affects your health regardless of quality. Losing excess weight, even if just by eating fewer donuts, results in health improvements. So which is more important: quality or quantity? In application, our nutrition coaches lean towards quality. But in terms of physiology, both are important! Remember, multiple things can be important and true at once. Tyler *Many of these thoughts were inspired by Dr. EC Synkowski. Daily Directive I’m challenging you right now to workout 50 days in-a-row. Here is your workout today: Day 20 (of 50) AMRAP 4 Minutes 5 Dumbbell Facing Burpees 10 Single Arm Dumbbell Overhead Squat -Rest 4:00- AMRAP 4 Minutes 5 Dumbbell Facing Burpees 10 Alternating Single Arm Hang Dumbbell Squat Snatch -Rest 4:00- AMRAP 4 Minutes 5 Dumbbell Facing Burpees 10 Single Arm Dumbbell Overhead Squat Other Articles in this Series: Laws of the Farm: Sharpening the Axe Laws of the Farm: Sleep Laws of the Farm: Exercise Laws of the Farm: Mindset Laws of the Farm: Connection