It’s the dreaded little word that makes women (and for the same token sometimes, men) go completely Gaga. It’s the evil imp hanging over your head, driving your decision between tucking into that extra piece of Milktart staring you in the face on a rainy Sunday, or having that wilted apple halve in the fridge; or perhaps we’ve just been reading too many Hollywood Magazines and listening to them tell us how to look and conform. But in all honesty has this world gone completely mad? Can we not just eat moderately, forgo counting the dreaded numbers on the packages of everything we put into our mouths, and just opt for living a healthier and more nutritious life?

Our ‘cutey-patootie’ fitness guru Sean Pettit tackles this topic below. And if you ask us, its about time someone did.

For years dieticians and and fitness professionals alike have been harping on about this little measure, the dreaded word - the CALORIE. But how much do you actually know about it? Where does the idea of a calorie come from and who decided how much a calorie should be? In 1824 a scientist by the name of Nicolas Clement first defined this idea of a calorie. He came up with this measurement of energy by trying to find out how much energy it would take to heat water. He discovered that it would take 4.2joules to increase one gram of water by one degree Celsius and thus the calorie was born - just some interesting info for our entire readership of aspirant rocket scientist’s out there).

Today we use this counter to decide how much energy is in our food and what amount we are taking in and thus how much we should consume, but here’s the kicker, it’s NOT accurate! The way in which the calorie content of a specific food is determined is by incinerating the food in question and measuring how much energy is given off.

Our bodies don’t function by incinerating, but rather by breaking down and building up, at no point is fire involved, or we would all be in a lot of trouble! Holy Smokes!

A new research was conducted to find out the exact response of the body to different caloric origins. The two rocket scientists took three test groups and put them on a calorically equal (isocaloric) semi-starvation diets of 90% fat, 90% protein and 90% carbohydrates respectively. Though ensuring that the test group’s compliance was a bit of a challenge, the outcome showed clear differences:

1,000 cals. at 90% fat = weight loss of 408g per day

1,000 cals. at 90% protein = weight loss of 272g per day

1,000 cals. at 90% carbohydrates = weight gain of 108g per day

What we can see from this is that it’s not the amount of calories that we consume but rather where the bulk of these calories come from that matter. The different origins cause different hormonal responses in the body which can either cause weight gain or weight loss. So next time you are analyzing that meal of yours, you should rather look at your digestive functioning, the ratio of protein-to-carbohydrates-to-fat and the timing of your meal, rather than the calories contained inside it!

Thanks Sean! We think it’s safe to say now that even though we won’t be pigging out after diligently doing our Pilates and Gym classes, classes we work so hard in and love to bits, we will not be depriving ourselves once in a while of the saccharine stuff. Because after all, what’s life if you can’t taste the sweetness of it.



Celebrity and Master Trainer, Sean Pettit, studied fitness and wellness originally in the UK. Upon moving back to South Africa, he joined Reebok Education as one of their Master Trainers, lecturing numerous discipline from personal training to all of the group disciplines. Based in Sandton, Sean’s client base consists of models, actors, ex-Miss South Africas and radio DJ’s. As every person is unique, so are the courses and programs that Sean designs to meet the specific demands. Through motivation and education Sean strives to be a part of creating fitness excellence.


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