Counting Calories is Stupid!

Counting Calories is Stupid!

hey dr. berry here in this video I want to talk to you about why counting calories is stupid and I know that sounds like almost heresy but we've been taught for so many years the wrong way to lose weight the wrong way to think about our health and it's time to set the record straight so today I'm going to teach you about counting calories and why that's stupid now if you'd like to you might consider clicking the subscribe button so that next time I have a video you'll know about it and if you click the little bell right beside that you'll get a notification every time I have a bright idea now let's talk about calories and why counting them is stupid okay your body is the most complex biochemical entity in the universe that we know of nothing even comes close to it and to think that your your body is as simple as the stove in your kitchen or the oven in your kitchen is ridiculous the human body does not burn the food that we eat it doesn't burn the beverages that we drink that's not how it works at all we've used that rough analogy for years to talk about oh you burn calories you burn the food you eat but in reality that's not what happens at all so calories are a unit of heat measurement and so if you're talking about air conditioners or heaters or central heat and air units you might talk about a calorie and it would make sense and you can actually use the unit of measurement of calorie to do all kinds of fancy equations in physics and chemistry but when it comes to the complex biochemical digestion that your human body does to food you have to understand that that's not how it works at all you do not burn the food you eat so we talked about calories where did that concept even come from a few decades back some scientists who are trying to just you know talk about how we use the energy in our food came up with this unit and started to apply it to human nutrition even though it was inappropriate and so they would take little bits of food and they would we put it in a tiny oven called a bomb calorimeter and they would burn the food up and they would see how much the water around the little bomb calorimeter the little oven would heat up when you burnt that food so they burned some bacon in there they'd burned some avocado in there they'd burn some bread in there and they were able to come up with all these numbers and make these beautiful big charts and graphs so that's fine if you're if you want to put some bacon or put some whole-wheat bread into a little oven and burn it up then the calorie unit is very applicable to that but it makes perfect sense to use calories to talk about how much you've heated the water up around that little stove or that little oven but if you want to talk about how your body biochemically digests the macro molecules that you eat the fat the protein the carbohydrates the calorie has nothing to do with any of that okay when I was in medical school I was taught a little bit about nutrition but I was taught a lot about biochemistry and biochemistry is how we talked about how your your body's chemical processes work and so whether you're talking about gluconeogenesis or the krebs cycle or any of these these biochemical pathways the word calorie doesn't appear in any of them okay the human body has no idea what a calorie is the human body doesn't count calories the human body doesn't take calories into consideration if you eat fat that goes down a particular biochemical pathway in your body that doesn't have anything to do with calories and it's digested a certain way if you eat proteins it goes down a different metabolic pathway a different biochemical Avenue so to speak it has nothing to do with calories calories don't figure into that at all if you eat carbs or starches or simple sugars that goes down another biochemical pathway okay none of these have anything to do with calories so there have been tons of weight loss and nutrition gurus and experts through the years who have had these big books of that you can flip through if you went to this restaurant or that restaurant and look up the calories right all that's meaningless and the way we know that is one of the diets that was recently recommended is one of the best nights in the world by u.s. news and more reports the weight watcher diet right so they they are Weight Watchers and calorie counters and that's what they've been since the 1960s how many millions of people have failed to lose the weight they wanted to use using Weight Watchers pretty much all of them 99.9 percent who have ever tried it maybe lost a few pounds up front but then they stopped and it just the way came back because that's not a sustainable diet because you're using the wrong paradigm to think about weight loss obesity and being overweight is not a calorie problem it's a hormone problem it's not a oh you should eat less and exercise more problem it's a insulin problem and a cortisol problem and thyroid problem and a gender hormone problem it has nothing to do with the amount of calories you eat more and more people even elite level athletes these days are using the ketogenic diet and they they are have such low body fat percentages you can see the veins in their abdominal muscles and and prefer people who know I mean you you have to have a very low body fat percentage in order to see the veins in your belly so yeah it has nothing to do with calorie restriction so if you see a guru in Instagram who's saying oh well the ketogenic diet really only works because of its it's a calorie restriction diet unfollow them because they don't know what they're talking about okay if you see if you watch some YouTube video or you see some Facebook personality who says oh it's it's easy you just eat fewer calories than you burn you just unfollow them because they have no idea what they're talking about okay obesity and being overweight insulin resistance type-2 diabetes they're all hormone problems not calorie over-over those problems that's not what it is and so how do I know this how do we know that I mean why have people been saying this for 60 years if it's not true well let me tell you about a study it's called the Women's Health Initiative study and this study was huge it was done over multiple years it over tens of tens and tens of thousands of women in it and these women ate a calorie restricted diet for years okay and then there was another set of women in this study who didn't eat calorie restriction at the end of this study which was over ten years long you would think will until the average woman who was calorie restriction ate about three hundred fewer calories a day and if any of you guys know about oh well a calorie is or a pound is 3,500 calories you've all heard that right and so if you back up on your calorie intake by 500 calories a day you should lose a pound a week I mean I used to tell patients this in the clinic went back when I was a fat stupid doctor and didn't know any better now I know better I don't tell people that myth anymore so if you just back up on your calorie and take 500 a day or just burn 500 extra calories a day you should lose a pound a week right yeah so everybody knows that that doesn't work it's never worked and it never will work because you're basing it your weight loss on the wrong idea that you that it's a calorie issue and it's not okay so in the Women's Health Initiative well there were a huge group of these women who calorie-restricted about 300 calories a day for years and so they probably lost what 10 30 40 50 100 pounds well actually at the end of the study they hadn't lost a single bit more than the women who didn't calorie restrict calories have nothing to do with weight loss counting calories is stupid I can't be any more blunt than that I'm trying to be blunt so I can be inflammatory so people will go wait what and then when you look at this study you'll go god that's already been proven in science hasn't it why are all these doctors still talking about calorie counts and cutting back on your calories and burning more than you eat why are doctors still talking about that I'm not real sure but they need to stop because it's it's inaccurate it's misleading and then when you try the calorie deficit theory of weight loss and you fail then the doctor looks at you like like you're less than or like you're guilty of some crime it's not your fault it's the doctors fault it's the experts fault it's the gurus fault for giving you the false information that made you think you could succeed when you can't this is doctor Barry now I'm gonna keep making videos like this and I upset some people and that's okay if you're upset with me if you don't like this then don't listen to me but watch the people who are doing a ketogenic diet watch the people who are doing intermittent fasting because they're not only going to lose the weight and reach their goal but they're gonna stay there and that's the key okay how many people have lost five pounds of Weight Watchers only to gain right back and two more right Weight Watchers is not one of the best diets in the country it's one of the worst diets it's been around for over 30 years and we've got the biggest obesity epidemic in the world right now thanks Weight Watchers I guess so watch as the ketogenic diet keeps getting more and more popular and more and more people start doing it what's the obesity curve do that watch it watch in five years and see what happens because this is the the correct way to think about weight loss this is the correct way to think about getting your insulin resistance and your type-2 diabetes under control fix the hormone issue which is predominantly an insulin issue by eating way fewer carbs it's not about calories it's about carbs so if you want to be afraid of a c-word don't be afraid of calories be afraid of carbs this is dr. Baron if you enjoyed this please share this on Facebook on Twitter on Instagram the more people I can help the quicker we can make that obesity epidemic curve start to do that and that'll make me very very happy now if you'd like to personally support me in this mission you can go to my patreon page there's a link down below and you can help me with a book a book or two if you'd like to do it that way that's fine too this is dr. berry I'll see you next time


  1. **Just my experience**
    First off, I am not an advocate of Weight Watchers, to hell with them. I did the ketogenic diet for a little over a year to lose body fat and I was 210 lbs at 6'1". I went from a 6 hour eating window, to a 4 hour eating window, and down to one meal a day. I got into the habit of tracking my calories just to help me stay in ketosis. 75% of my calories came from fats, 20% from proteins, and 5% coming from carbs. I probably heard of the 75-20-5 method from one of your videos or one of Dr. Berg's or Thomas Delauer's, if I'm being honest (you guys give great advice). Counting calories, or more importantly the marco-nutrients, is important, because if not, how do you know how many carbs you're consuming, etc… Anyways, I lost some weight initially on keto, but not a lot, and it seemed like I wasn't losing any body fat, just water weight/glycogen. AND you can definitely gain weight eating keto. I did a week of eating 3000 calories everyday and I gained weight. I am now a firm believer in the "calories in, calories out". You will absolutely gain weight if you consume more calories then you need. Fat people weren't always fat. Poor foods choices yes, but over consumption (too many calories) of these bad foods are to blame as well. Eating blindly or not keeping track of your caloric intake is a great way to overeat and get fat. If you're not counting your calories, how do you know if you're getting enough or too much? Calories are energy right? Fat is stored as energy correct? The keto diet uses this stored energy, yeah? That's what I've heard most ketogenic advocates say. If you're at a surplus of calories, your body will store them as fat, right? Not every obese person has insulin issues either.

    With all that being said, I decided to try a "cut" or a "fat burning phase". Went back on carbs (I eat clean organic foods mind you), averaged a daily caloric deficit of 500 calories, and went from 20% body fat percentage to 12% body fat percentage over a span of 4 months, all by counting my fats, carbs, and proteins, including my calories (I use a BIA to measure my BFP). You said, "Everybody knows that doesn't work", when referring to being in a caloric deficit, but it is working for me. I eat oatmeal, honey, chicken, apples, bananas, fage greek yogurt, eggs, halo top ice creams, even some Dairy Queen strawberry sundaes from time to time, and I am losing weight. Right now I am eating 50 grams of fat, 200 grams of carbs, and 200 grams of protein and I weight 176 lbs.

    Look Dr. Berry, I've been experimenting with my eating for quite sometime now. Why don't you try eating at a caloric deficit of 500 calories, weight yourself in the morning and at night, using a BIA to check your BFP, collect some data and see how fat and stupid you turn out. Why not? Get scientific with it, conduct real research. You're the doctor. The study you mentioned says that there were 18 education sessions in the first 12 months of the study diet to coach these women on what to eat. How were these women monitored during the study? If they were just assuming these women were following a caloric deficit diet, then the results aren't significant, come on man. Is a cutting phase sustainable? Uhh, hell no. Why would anybody want to cut for long periods of time? It isn't a diet, it is tool/method. When I reach 10% BF I will bring my calories back up to maintenance and slowing increase them to a 300 calorie surplus as a bulking phase or muscle building phase. Once my BFP gets up to 15-16%, I'll do another cut. These are just tools, that is all. I might even try a keto bulk, but I will literally track my calories for the rest of my life, so I don't ever weight 210 lbs again. Big deal, I count my calories on an excel spreadsheet. To each their own, there's my two cents, eating at a deficit to lose body fat is effective. I am living proof and so are a lot of others. I eat lots of carbs. Hope to hear back from you.

  2. It's apparent that everybody is at war between does calorie matter or carbs/sugar matter for gaining weight . . . My easiest and best explanation for preventing gaining weight. Just eat balanced meals with plenty of nutrition and just exercise consistently. AVOID all junk foods (candy, sugary sweets and sodas), fast foods and energy drinks. If you completely eliminate these permanently and exercise regardless of whatever you eat, you will lose weight. This is my personal experience, no need to watch for calories or carbs on the nutrition block. Just cut fast food and junk food diet completely and just take the time to do some physical activity.

  3. Interesting… but the body builders have used calorie surplus while monitoring macro nutrients for years in order to bulk, and it WORKS. So why wouldn't a calorie deficit while monitoring macro nutrients and eating healthy foods be a good guideline for weight loss. I mean, it works. It isn't perfect because we can't really observe how everyone's individual bodies absorb and process nutrients, but it's still a great guideline. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater doc.

  4. I agree up to a point, but I don't fully get it, though. It is absolutely possible to gain weight (and fat) on keto. How does that work then?!
    It's hard for many people to over-eat on keto, but not that rare. I certainly can. So if I eat 6000 calories of healthy fat, I won't get fatter?

  5. I love this video and know that it's kind of older but I have a question. So I intermittent fast most days or eat OMAD when I'm just not hungry. Sometimes I just fast all day too but usually I don't. I mostly keep an eye on my macros more than anything. But I noticed that I sometimes I only hit around 1,000 calories cause I'm just not hungry. So is this damaging my body? I pretty much listen to my body and eat intuitively. Is this okay occasionally when this does happen?

  6. Came here to see what you had to say, Dr. However, i've lost 50 pounds counting calories in the last year. It works, i don't think that is refutable. Stupid? Maybe, but effective? Yes.

  7. Thank you 🙏 Dr. Berry you are so smart….explain everything so well. I never lost any weight with weight watchers….they allowed me too many points (carbs)…In one month I gained 10pounds. I didn’t loose any weight until I started the keto diet (without counting calories)…I’ve lost 15 pounds plus inches since Oct. 2018

  8. people on keto do macros which is basically the same thing.

    I agree with caloric counting is stupid but so many wont listen they think because they have lost say 14 pounds in 3-6 months that is is good system

  9. I lost 90 pounds counting calories but it's definitely easier to maintain the weight loss or even lose more weight when intermittent fasting.

  10. This is true if we were going to count calories I can gain more weight eating 1800 calories in cake then I would eating 3000 calories in seeds

  11. You couldn't have said it better! Excess carbs cause high insulin and gets stored as fat. As well, excess protein goes through gluconeogenesis and (again) gets stored as fat. Fat however does not spike insulin. Any excess in calories gets stored in adipocytes (fat cells), but it's the spike of insulin that causes a sharp increase of fat storage.
    The thing with keto is your body uses ketones instead of insulin and burns stored fat for energy. Hence this is why you can eat lots of fats and lose weight. The issue for weight loss isn't calories, it's where those calories come from. Weight Watchers is not healthy by any means. It's a highly processed low fat diet. I sure hope more people clue in to these vital facts. Thanks for putting this out there!

  12. OMG this video is life changing for me. I've been eating keto and doing IF since March and I've been counting every calorie and carb I've been eating. The only reason is because I have been brainwashed by the medical community and diet industry that you HAVE to count calories in a deficit everyday in order to lose weight. I'm so angry that I've wasted decades of my life doing this only to gain the weight back and start all over again. Today it stops!!!!! Thank you Dr. Berry, you are so awesome!

  13. 10:18 you stated to be afraid of carbs… should I be afraid of simple carbs, complex carbs or Both simple and complex carbs? Thanks.

  14. There’s an implication here that can potentially confuse people. Instead of saying the amount of calories has NOTHING to do with weight gain or loss, you should say calories are not the SOLE metric to consider in issues of weight. The quantity in / quantity out concept is still somewhat relevant, even as a secondary consideration to hormonal imbalance. You shouldn’t imply that quantities of food (portion sizes) play zero part. That’s what a lot of people want to hear so that’s what they end up gleaning from this video.

  15. counting calories is not stupid!!! i don't care how healthy you eat, if you over do your calorie intake you won't loose weight. that's a fact!!!

  16. I’ve lost 47 lbs on WW within 1 year. It seemed to work but stress and a car accident changed how I felt and could not work out . I hated to count points, so I didn’t . I hate to count points or calories or macros .
    I’ve gained the weigh back.
    The worst diet in my opinion is dr Bernstein diet. Starvation!
    I’m on Keto and IF FOR 4 months and can’t lose ANY weight after the initial 7 the first 2 weeks .
    I would like to lose 35 lbs

  17. Could you do more on this topic? Counting calories (even when on Keto) seems to be something people still believe needs to be a thing. I see post after post on Reddit where people are counting calories as a metric for Keto.
    Also would you consider doing an AMA on Reddit?

  18. Guess I can eat 10,000 calories of meat, fat, and low glycemic veggies each day now and lose more weight. Thank God that no one has to calorie count anymore. 🙂 It's a mix of things. Not just hormones. He is over simplifying the human body. Just as he states about others. The hormones play a roll. But so does energy in vs energy out "CICO". Calories matter just as much as the kinds of foods that we consume. Don't burn consumed fat, burn body fat instead. Both hold the same energy at 9 calories per gram or roughly 3500 calories per pound. "Calories". Burn stored fat, not fat from the store. The Keto diet is a great lifestyle change because it helps control the hormone spikes from carbs/sugar. But don't over simplify it saying calories don't matter. They still matter as well.

    You don't think calories matter? Google the Twinkie Diet. 🙂

    Read what I said a few times. Calories matter. Sure the Twinkie diet might not be a great lifestyle change or sustainable because of the bordom. But calories still matter as well as the kinds of foods that we eat. If you eat Keto and then finally hit your fat loss goal you can do a maintenance routine with carbs/sugar as well with a well rounded balanced diet. Never gaining a pound. As long as you don't go over on calories. Keto helps with insulin resistance since it's a limit on sugar. But once your body recovers; a balanced diet with the proper amount of calories could be sustained for life without ever gaining a pound.

  19. They should have made you the Spokesperson for Healthy School Lunches instead of
    ex-First Lady Michelle Obama.

  20. How do you get the hormonal problem? This guy is just wrong — watch Stephan Guyenet!! Keto diet is not the only answer — Plant based, high carb diet also has reversed diabetes (listen to Dr. Neil Barnard, Dr. John Mcdougall or Dr. McGreger). Promoters of the Keto diet do not believe in the bad effects of too much cholesterol!! I am not sure how correct they are in that assessment.

  21. You don't realize how stupid you sound… You probably think you sound smart… Meanwhile natural bodybuilders get shredded using calorie counting… Sit there trying to sound smart…

  22. Ill continue to count calories, and eat my delicious carbs… Pretty simple really, once you understand what you are eating. Calorie counting works, and the science is true and tested. Im sure going KETO or Low Carb works well for many, however at the end of the day if you are losing weight, then you are burning more calories then you are consuming…

  23. I’ve learned so much from you Doc Berry. I’ve lost 31 pounds following your tips. Thank you. I’m looking super fit and feel healthy.

  24. 100% true, confirmed by myself. lm on keto+lF, l never count calories and l got visible abs for first time in my life, without any cardio tranining. ln nature, nothing count calories, neither our ancestors did.

  25. Great real info about weight loss. Now get rid of the useless weight charts that everyone uses. They are totally misleading. They are based on some mythological "average" person that really doesn't exist. I don't smoke or drink and have a brutally physical job that's better than any gym work out. On an average work day I walk six miles, part of it up and down 20 foot ladders with lots of weight. I eat sensible, real food and am very particular about good nutrition. But when I go to the doctor they don't use their eyes to examine me, but use the charts instead.

  26. But calories do count when you are doing keto for fat loss . It doesn't matter what kind of food you are eating If you don't have a calorie deficit you will not lose weight This is scientific fact . So saying its stupid is actually stupid lol. Love you Dr Berry, but some of your advice is not great for those needing to lose a lot of weight . If I ate 2000 calories day I'd never lose a pound . 1200 to 1500 is what works for me and even then I have had a 4 month stall . The high fat thing does not continue to work either if you have half your body weight to lose, The 70% fat does not work for many of us using keto for fat loss only .

  27. Yes its true that your body dont count caloris but it knows how much energy you’re putting in your diet and if you put too much energy you gain weight .

  28. Amen brother. Couldn’t agree with this video more. I was doing OMAD eating anything I wanted, the scale went down, but plateaued for months and months! Cut out all processed sugars and 95% of my carbs and holy shit! I’m eating over 3 meals a day I’m so satiated and full and the scale is going down the body fat is falling off! I can’t believe it. Fat calories and sugar calories are definitely not equal.

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