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The Truth about Calories and Dieting


Dear Reader:

Thank you for your interest in this plan. I hope it will be of use to you.

Let me tell you some facts that appear simple, but many people don't know.

Your body is a biological machine that burns food to produce energy and heat.

Most of this energy is used by your heart, which does a tremendous amount of work just to keep you alive. Keeping your temperature at 98.6 takes quite a bit too. Just breathing also consumes a good part. Any movement you do consumes energy.

Exercise of course consumes energy also. Exercise is great for making you feel better, and increasing general health. But movement and exercise don't really burn that much energy.

Run for a whole hour and you only burn about 600 calories, compared to about 1500-2000 burned daily just resting. By and large, your heart consumes the MAJORITY of the energy burned.


All food has some energy value, in the form of "calories". Food is generally composed of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. The number of calories per gram (28 grams in an ounce, 16 ounces in a pound) is roughly as follows: fat - 9, protein - 5 and carbohydrates - 4. Your body needs all three to survive.

Here's a site that lists food content: Food Analyzer. But just remember, energy is energy, so if you don't eat any carbs, you will probably eat more protein or fat to make up for it (the body can convert protein and carbs to fat), so you are back to square 1. Pop quiz: How many calories in a pound of fat? Above is all the information you need to answer that question.

The body stores excess food (food in excess of the amount used daily) as fat. That means if you eat 2500 calories of food in a day, but burn only 2400, the extra 100 is stored for future use. You can see that if you eat 2300 calories, and burn 2400, the extra 100 has to come from somewhere; it comes from the fat stored in your body. The ONLY way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you put in (eat).

Here's a quick quiz to help illustrate this information: Say you want to go to the store, which is 1 mile away, but your car is unavailable. Will you burn more calories if you walk, jog or run?



The answer is it doesn't matter. The energy required to move your body from your home to the store is a fixed amount. Think of it as miles per gallon. It pretty much doesn't matter how fast you drive. (A car is a little bit different, because mileage will change as you get up to 40 mph or so, because of air drag). But at low speeds, less than 20 mph, it doesn't change, whether you walk, jog, or run flat out. By the way, you will burn approximately 100 calories traveling by foot for one mile. Reference: UCLA Medical Site

There is so much misinformation out there, most of it generated by advertising in order to sell food products, books, "diets" or whatever. My favorite is the 1 calorie bit. You will burn 1 calorie in about a minute, just sitting. So what's the big deal about "zero" calories vs 1, or 5 or 20? You burn about 60 in an hour, just sitting. Calories are not "bad", they are just a measure of energy. The laws of physics cannot be changed. So much energy is required for so much work. That law is just as immutable as the law of gravity.


There is another consideration to eating. Eating feels good, and sometimes when we are worried about something, or afraid of something, or just don't feel too hot, it's easy to eat to feel better. This fact is also addressed by the Treehouse Diet.

So the question becomes, how do you eat less? If you eat less than you burn you will lose weight (fat) but you will also be hungry. You CANNOT lose weight without becoming hungry from time to time. So the question now becomes, how do you handle being hungry? Both of those things are the subject of the Treehouse Diet.

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