1200 calories a day is a lie? Fat chance!

LIE #1:

Focusing on calorie counting alone is a shallow and harmful approach to health and nutrition.

LIE #2:

If you reach starvation mode it means your body realises it is not getting enough food (calories). It thinks that you are starving and slows down your metabolism in order to conserve energy.

LIE #3:

If you are attempting to make it through a busy day on just 1200, and then you perform cardio to burn calories, you really are not going to succeed. Actually, you will probably pass out.

These are the words of prolific blogger Sophia Herbst who blogs as Sophieologie. She wrote a post called 1200 and it has been widely shared across the web. I have to disagree with Sophie, even though she seems to think that she knows what she is talking about.

Have you heard of the nutrition professor who dropped 27 pounds on a junk food diet? His point was that calorie restriction was something he needed to attention. In fact – if you weigh too much I can tell you one thing for sure – you are eating too much.

Last month, I decried this ‘healthy’ smoothie. Just because something contains almond milk rather than cow’s milk does not make it better for you. Pomegranate molasses is no better for your body than plain ol’ golden syrup. Think about it – can your body REALLY tell the difference between an organic tomato and a regular one? A recent study by the Stanford University says – NO.

I really am on board with calorie counting and calorie restriction. Also – I feel that people are largely uniformed about calories. Not to pick on him, but The Boyf and I were eating chocolate after dinner the other night. Discussing calories, he suggested that the 80 gram bar we were eating (he would guesstimate) to be twice or three times the equivalent of a Big Mac. Not, so, I told him, the chocolate bar we were eating was only 250 calories compared with the 450-500 calories you would get from a Big Mac, depending on the country you were in.

Personally, I am very good at calculating calories. I am not a savant, nor a genius, just an enthusiast with a good memory. I have also written a post on why measuring kilojoules (used widely in Australia and other countries) instead of calories is just plain stupid, as they are harder to add up and count.

I agree with Herbst that 1200 is far too low, but you will not pass out and die from this type of restriction. In fact, the longer you eat that way, the more your body will become accustomed to it. She is correct to say that 1200 is pretty unsustainable though – have a look at this chart of energy (calorie) consumption by country and also this list of countries by food energy intake.

Tell me

Do you feel that 1200 calories per day is too low? Why? 

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