Calories and Low Carbing

Lately I have questioned whether calories are important in diets. I know that for us low carbers the emphasis is on lower carbs and fair enough as I believe that these should be kept low. But sometimes this tends to make a lot of us turn against the idea that calories matter. Yet there is a whole field of study in biology that investigates how animals behave based on the amount of energy (calories) they gain or lose. For instance, in my own studies I investigated a fish that searched for prey by remaining motionless and if no prey was detected it would move to a new position and search again. Models were made to show that to gain maximum energy the fish should move a third of its reactive distance. The reactive distance is simply the maximum distance at which the fish detects its prey.
The idea is this. The fish doesn’t want to move too little because then it will be researching the same space and so the chances of it detecting prey are reduced and thus it wastes a lot of time and energy been unsuccessful at capturing prey. In contrast, if the fish moves too far then it spends a lot of energy on moving but does not increase its chances greatly of detecting prey and therefore wastes energy (or calories). The model predicted that the fish should move a third of its reactive distance to maximise energy intake and sure enough fish tended to move on average a third of their reactive distance.
Another example is crows. When they want to break open a nut they fly high into the air and drop it onto a hard surface and it cracks. Models predicted the distance that crows should fly to gain maximum energy from the nut – without wasting energy by flying too high, or by flying not high enough and not cracking open the nut. Once again the models predicted the right distance and all these models were based off of calorie intake. Which suggests that from fish to birds energy, or calories, are important in driving particular behaviours. If calories were unimportant, and some other factor was, then these models would fall apart and would not be able to predict these distances accurately. But they do!!! So if this is true for all animals tested then why not for humans. I don’t think that this takes anything away from the idea that carbohydrates should be reduced as these do increase our insulin levels with a plethora of effects on our biology. BUT calories may be important too.

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