The latest issue of New York Magazine has a large cover feature called “the diet to end all diets”. The author spends time living the Calorie Restriction (CR) lifestyle. The idea behind the CR movement is to prolong life by obtaining the optimum amount of nutrients while consuming the lowest amount of calories.
The rather lengthy NY magazine piece provides an inside look at the lifestyles of a number of proponents – who seem to continually gush about the wonders of living a life obsessed with food.
A number of biologists have discredited the idea – and in my view the whole idea seems like a bad case of orthorexia.
Michael’s regimen of 1,913 calories a day is exactly that: 1,913 calories every single day, 30 percent of them derived from fat, 30 percent from protein, and 40 percent from carbohydrates.
Which brings me to the question: Exactly what is a low-calorie diet?
The article author bemoans the fact that he has been surviving on just 1,800 calories – and that this is “well short of the minimum 2,500 recommended for adult males”. I tend to think that daily calorie intake is closely linked with energy output – but even then – it is hardly an exact science.
Is 2500 Calories Too Much?
As for 2,500 daily calories – you may be interested to know that Scotland have just “officially” lowered their daily recommendations. The new allowances are 1600 for women and 2000 for men.
Has our fear of “starvation response” and yo-yo dieting caused us to overestimate just how many calories we actually need?
It’s Not Just About Calories
I personally feel that resistance and strength training play a significant role in preventing muscle wastage and metabolic sluggishness during lower calories. I also believe that calorie needs are linked to body composition rather than body weight. Those with more muscle mass need more energy to maintain that tissue.
Food and nutrient quality also play a significant role – 1800 calories of white bread each day will leave you feeling like a constipated whale.
What do you think?
Are daily calorie recommendations redundant? At what point are calories “too low”?
(thanks to Randee)