“All Natural” Vs. Caloric Intake

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In a world, where shortcuts run rampant and lies masquerade themselves as truth, we begin to realize that everything may not be as it seems.” Did you just read that in that movie guy’s voice? That’s how I was saying it in my head as I typed it. You know, the deep one that narrates a lot of the trailers? You know what I’m talking about. Anyway, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is what movie guy just said… We live in a world full of misrepresentation and taking the easy way out. What ON EARTH am I talking about you ask? I’m talking about false advertising.

From commercials to magazine covers, from web ads to mall kiosks, even from “health professionals” to products at the grocery store, We’re being sold LIES. They like to use terms like quick, easy, “lose 10 pounds fast”, “all natural”, organic, yadda yadda yadda… We’ve been groomed to hunt for these words. We’re under the impression that foods and diets that claim these things will automatically make us lose weight just by eating them. WRONG. I want to let you in on a little secret… You can eat 100% all natural, organic, health food and still gain weight. “Health food” is NOT devoid of calories. It actually astounds me how many people I’ve come across that are taken aback by that statement. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, If you are eating more calories than your body burns, you will gain weight. natural nutsA favorite example of mine is nuts/nut butters. Nuts are extremely calorie dense. I’m OBSESSED with peanut butter, almond butter, cinnamon almonds/pecans and throwing trail mix into my salads. SO good. Please don’t be mistaken, I am NOT saying that “all natural” or organic foods are bad for you. I’m just giving you a heads up that they, like EVERY other food can be detrimental to you if not eaten in moderation.

(Somewhat) Quick story before I move on to my other points… Josh and I were at Walmart last Friday night. I had to pick up more stir fry veggies and greek yogurt, He NEEDED ice cream. Jerk. So, we’re standing on the frozen aisle and these 2 girls probably in their late teens and what I’m assuming was their mom walk up with their cart full of pretty typical food (cereal, bread, chips, milk) and begin looking in the direction of the ice cream. I didn’t think anything of it. I’m very Pro-Ice cream. However, over the last few months of studying with NASM and learning more about America’s obesity problem, I kind of take more notice to just how many people are struggling with it. I’ve also noticed, especially in the grocery store how misinformed people can be with how to eat right. I’m NOT judging. I applaud the fact that I see label reading. That mean’s there’s a craving to do better, to feel better, to live healthier. I LOVE it. What I don’t love is how companies try to trick misinformed eaters about what they’re really buying. So the girls were browsing the ice cream and their mom would point at ice cream sandwiches or cones when one of the girls says in a whiny tone, “But it’s not all naturallllllllll”. I looked up. I was facing them but Josh had his back to them and I could already see the smirk on his face. I almost let out a giggle. I wasn’t laughing at them, clearly they didn’t know any better. I was laughing at the concern for finding “all natural” ice cream. PERFECT EXAMPLE of the next blog post topic was flashing in my mind, like God was giving me a direct message reaffirming what I was already writing about. According to the food in their cart, they weren’t on any type of diet plan (Could have been IIFYM I guess, but not likely). Actually, if their goal was to lose weight, they’d be the perfect candidates for IIFYM because they could still have ice cream whether it was all natural or not. This is alarming though. There was no concern for the amount of carbs, fats or even calories in the ice cream. It was strictly, “All Natural” that she was hunting for. This proved my point. All Natural does not mean weight loss.

Okay, so I’ve covered food. How about labeling? I’ll use granola as my example for this part of the rant. Have you ever walked down the cereal aisle and seen the words “protein packed” in bold on front of the granola? If you were to actually read the nutrition label you’d be astounded at the fact that 6 grams of Protein equates to “Protein packed”. WHAT?! That’s ONE egg, just eat an egg instead. It would keep you fuller longer than a carby bowl of carbs. This is a problem. Many people don’t take the time to read the label, they just focus on the picture of the happy family eating their “protein packed” 6 grams per serving breakfast and are SOLD! “Put it in the cart, honey!” Oh, while we’re here, let’s get some Apple Jacks too, those have to be healthy, they have apples in them! (FYI I didn’t make that up, I saw that several years ago and it’s still stuck with me as one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a grocery store.) So lesson number 2 is: Don’t buy into the marketing (picture, bolded words or pretty colors) Read the darn label!

Lesson number 3: Pay no mind to any diet that claims to be fast, quick, or easy. Basically, don’t buy into any magazine cover’s promises or diet commercials with washed up celebrities and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD if Dr. Oz tells you one thing, DO THE OPPOSITE. Have you ever heard, “Nothing worth having comes easy”? It’s the truth. Sure, you can starve yourself and lose weight (while killing your metabolism at the same time) but if you ever plan on living a normal balanced life again you better figure out another way. If you could truly lose weight “fast” or get a “bikini body in 4 weeks”, wouldn’t everyone look like Greek gods and goddesses by now? Sticking to a diet, following a training schedule, learning to say NO and losing weight is NOT easy or fast, but it can be simple. Don’t let those words trick you or convince you that it’s not worth it when you don’t have a bikini body after 4 weeks. In order to look and feel better, you must give 2 things. SIMPLE. Hard work and time. Moral of the story is, don’t let companies that are just out to make money trick you. You are smarter than that. You have your own mind. Think about it. The greater the effort you put in, the greater results you’ll have so STOP looking for the easy way out.

The last thing that I want to bring up is diets like Nutrisystem. If you were to legitimately stick to the exact foods that they prepare and send to you, it would work. BUT, (you had to see that  coming…) while the food may look good, I’ve been told by numerous people that have tried it that the food had about as much flavor as a piece of cardboard. YUM? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the taste of cardboard. Plus, for those of you that are concerned with eating unprocessed food this would not be for you. This is the ultimate processed food. Essentially it’s just a bunch of tv dinners.

In summary, I want you to learn to read labels. I want you to know what you’re putting into your body. America has been brainwashed to believe that there is an EVIL that is making people fat. It used to be dietary fat, now some people think it’s meat that is the issue and if we were all vegetarians we’d be fine. Others believe that it’s because we eat processed food and should stick to 100% organic. Carbohydrates are not solely responsible. Fats are not the enemy. You could eat pure protein and nothing else but if you’re still eating at a surplus of calories YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT. A BALANCED DIET WILL NOT FAIL. Period. The most important tool you can have is knowledge. Once you know what your body needs, it will be so much easier for you to make choices at the grocery store. STOP letting companies that are just out to make money tell or convince you what to do. You’re your own person with your own mind. Don’t buy into the facade. Ignore fast, quick and easy. They’re lying.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, look at the labels on the cereal and granola bars that claim to be protein packed. After you run away from them screaming, go look at the cans of tuna. Look at those labels, that’s the definition of protein packed. 26 grams in one can. Go look at the eggs, hamburger and chicken. Those are “protein packed”. Then for kicks, go on over to the ice cream aisle, find one that is made to look healthy aka “all natural” and check out the nutrition label. It’s not gonna be pretty, there’s going to be no nutritional value and it’s just gonna be a sugary carb fest. I know that I cram the IIFYM lifestyle down your throat, but that’s only because I believe so strongly in balance. If you were to follow that, you may very well be able to have ice cream at the end of the night because one, you would have already gotten your protein for the day and two you could very well have carbs and fats leftover. If you haven’t read my previous blog post, it was all about IIFYM. If you’ve never heard of it or want more information on what it is or how it works, click right HERE. IIFYM is not a diet scheme, you are not charged for it, it’s free, it’s about learning what you are eating and how to plan meals around it so that you can eat 90% “healthy” and still have the foods you crave, like ice cream. I don’t recommend ice cream if you’re already living off cereal, bread and chips. Also, remember that organic does not equate to fat loss. You can overeat and gain fat by eating organic just as much as junk food. It’s not a magic food, it’s a personal preference. Lastly, chances are, if something is fast and easy it doesn’t really work in the long run.

My challenge to you is to keep a food journal. Whether you’re dieting or not, write down what you eat. If there’s a nutrition label available, write down carbs, fats, protein and calories. I’d love to hear what you guys are at, at the end of the day. If you’re dieting and it’s working, GREAT! Let me know what your numbers look like. If you’re dieting and it’s not, we can figure out what you need to change. If you’re not dieting, writing it down may very well open up your eyes to just how much you’re over (or under) eating throughout the day. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help. I read about this shizz for fun. This kind of stuff interests me more than any movie or tv show. I’d love to hear what you guys are doing and/or thinking. Stop looking for “healthy looking food” and start eating the balance of nutrients that YOUR BODY actually NEEDS. Start logging your MACROS guys, it will change your way of thinking.

Until next time…

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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.


  1. Dave

    April 24, 2015 at 6:42 am

    It took me a while to get to reading your post this week…been busy, but I’m so glad I finally did! That was an excellent post and spot on. The best thing I’ve ever done is keep a food log, I can’t believe how many calories I was eating until I started tracking. Thanks to you and Josh I’m 16 pounds down and feeling excellent ! Thank you Erin!!

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      April 24, 2015 at 11:29 am

      Good job! Yeah, it’s crazy how fast it adds up. Keep it up!

  2. Jeffrey Smith

    April 24, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Very interesting stuff

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      April 24, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Thanks for reading, Jeff! Glad you enjoyed it.

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