When I was a kid, I loved watching a teaching segment on the PBS show 3-2-1 Contact where the guy would eat something and tell you what the calories would give him the energy to do. The segment creators hit on something back in the 80s that has been long forgotten: calories consumed in food should be burned. I know this sounds incredibly simple, but maybe that’s why we often overlook it.
We don’t count the cost of what we eat.
I’m not saying we should obsess about calories. What I’m saying is that part of ensuring that we are properly nourished is that we ensure that we are consuming enough calories to fuel us for our day’s activities. This includes avoiding eating substantially more calories than we need for a day. Eating more calories than we need is a major problem globally today, and is fueled by consuming calorie-dense fast food.
We should count the cost of these meals.
In my last blog, I talked about how processed food and fast food aren’t really food. They supply lots of calories, but little actual nourishment. For example, a McDonald’s Big Mac Combo meal supplies 1080 calories and a Burger King Whopper Combo meal supplies between 1400 and 1600 calories. The average adult male needs about 1800 calories and the average adult female needs about 1400 calories to stay alive. One combo would supply almost all of that energy. How many of us actually count the cost of these meals? Is there a less calorie-dense, but more nutrient-dense alternative? It would most likely be a burger and fry combo we cooked ourselves from some lean grass-fed beef and potato.
Proper nutrition isn’t as simple as calories in calories out. It’s making sure we get protein, carbohydrates, and fat that we need to function at our best and consider the calories. However, for achieving or maintaining our healthiest weight, we need to balance the calories that we take in with the calories that we burn.
So, like the man on the program all those years ago, we need to count the cost.