The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight, and Live Better

The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight, and Live Better

4.6 63
by Jonathan Bailor

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Jonathan Bailor‘s The Calorie Myth is a revolutionary diet book that explains how cutting-edge science supports a radically different approach to weight loss, offering evidence that calories do not matter.

Bailor shows that the key to long-term weight-loss is not the number of calories consumed but rather what kinds of calories.


Jonathan Bailor‘s The Calorie Myth is a revolutionary diet book that explains how cutting-edge science supports a radically different approach to weight loss, offering evidence that calories do not matter.

Bailor shows that the key to long-term weight-loss is not the number of calories consumed but rather what kinds of calories. Some foods are used to repair tissue, boost brain power, and fuel our metabolism—while others are stored as fat. The human body has a set point—the weight it naturally “wants” to be—that is regulated by hormones.

When we eat the right foods—plants, lean proteins, nuts, and legumes—our bodies are naturally able to maintain a healthy set point weight. But when we eat sugar, starches, fats, and other poor-quality foods, our bodies' regulatory systems become “clogged” and prevent us from burning extra calories. Translation: Those extra 10 pounds you’ve been carrying around for years aren’t the result of eating too much: They’re the result of eating hormone-clogging foods.

With its step-by-step program, including a “SANEity” scale that determines which foods are optimal for weight-control; an eating plan; and a high intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise program that allows you to spend less time in the gym and achieve better results, The Calorie Myth offers a radical new model for weight loss.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Microsoft executive by day and fitness devotee by night, Bailor, in his first book, ostensibly offers readers the best of all worlds: the freedom to eat more food without worrying about gaining weight. Drawing on 1,200 research studies, Bailor’s reach exceeds his grasp as he alternates between over-explanation and obfuscation in an attempt to get his points across. Based on his SANE concept of calorie qualities—Satiety, Aggression (whether calories will be stored as body fat), Nutrition, and Efficiency (how those calories are stored)—which must be in balance in order to achieve optimum results, Bailor addresses commonly held beliefs about weight management and exercise in a meandering argument for his theory that eating fewer processed foods and cutting back on carbs will lead to weight loss and greater health. Whether or not his recommendations are valid—his exercise regimen, for example, calls for only 20 minutes of exercise per week and his diet plan, including recipes, offers no nutritional information or endorsement from a licensed dietician—or simply too good to be true remains to be seen, though the author is happy to cite third-party studies. Readers certainly won’t hurt themselves by following his convoluted program, but they might do better elsewhere. 60 illus. Agent: Linda Konner, Linda Konner Literary Agency. (Jan.)
JJ Virgin
“Jonathan Bailor has written a smart, useful guide that is easy to follow and a pleasure to read. The Calorie Myth shows you how to eliminate toxic foods that zap your energy and add inches to your waistline. It will change the way you look at dieting!”
Mark Hyman
“The Calorie Myth does an excellent job of exposing the fundamental myths about obesity and weight loss that are keeping Americans sick. By explaining the link between our hormones and our metabolism, Jonathan Bailor offers readers a powerful set of tools for creating lifelong health.”
Sara Gottfried
“Jonathan Bailor cuts through the noise and tells it to us straight: the food we eat impacts our biology in the most fundamental yet fixable ways. Our hormones regulate weight loss, and what we eat impacts how they function. Calories? Not the issue.”
Christiane Northrup
“The Calorie Myth will do more to assist people with their health than all the popular diet books currently out there put together. I want to shout, ‘Bravo! Finally someone gets it!’”
Mike Moreno
“The Calorie Myth provides a clear plan for readers to reset their metabolism and shed excess weight-not through excessive exercise and restrictive calorie counts, but with delicious and nourishing foods and moderate exercise. A valuable and transformative book.”
Library Journal
All calories are not equal, says personal trainer Bailor, and the key to weight loss is eating more of the right kinds of foods and exercising at a higher intensity for shorter lengths of time.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)


Meet the Author

As a personal trainer, Jonathan Bailor worked with clients who would achieve the results they wanted as long as they spent countless hours exercising and following restrictive diets. Frustrated by recommending a lifestyle that was not sustainable, he began the ten-year research odyssey that became The Calorie Myth.

Bailor has registered more than twenty-five patents, serves as a senior program manager for Microsoft, and runs a wellness consulting business. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife.

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The Calorie Myth: How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight, and Live Better 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I teach a college course on health, and am a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. This book is thoroughly researched, readable, inspiring and an excellent resource!
RuthHenriquez More than 1 year ago
In The Calorie Myth author Jonathan Bailor debunks the conventional wisdom that says eating too many calories and not exercising enough make us fat.  If you’ve read Bailor’s first book (The Smarter Science of Slim), much of this new book will be familiar to you.  However, whereas the first book was more a meta study of hundreds of studies pertaining to how people gain weight, along with some good information on how to eat properly, this book focuses a bit more on the practices that should follow from all the data, including a chapter containing very good recipes and meal plans. When I first started reading The Smarter Science of Slim I was skeptical, having been burned a few times by diet books that weren’t science-based.  However, after looking through the footnotes for the supporting studies, I was convinced that the author had done his homework.  Bailor carefully cites his sources in The Calorie Myth as well, so that any skeptic can look up the studies for herself. Both books show that it’s not how much you eat but rather the type of foods you eat that contribute to weight gain.  A high carbohydrate diet, firmly enshrined at the base of our USDA food pyramid and eaten by most Americans, triggers hormonal reactions in the body which quickly store glucose as fat and overwork the pancreas, setting the stage for type 2 diabetes later on.  Moreover, carbohydrates do not leave us feeling as full as high protein, high fiber foods.  Thus eating carbohydrate snacks sets us up to be hungry again sooner.  By explaining the unhealthy hormonal reactions triggered by carbohydrates, Bailor shows us how the myth “a calorie is a calorie” is false.  Not all calories are equal, since the biochemical reactions caused by different foods vary depending on their composition. One of the issues I had with The Smarter Science of Slim was that his eating plan seemed very meat-based.  I am trying to limit meat consumption for humane and environmental reasons, and thus a meat-centered diet is not workable for me.  Thus I sort of followed the diet he suggested, but substituted beans and legumes for the meat, meaning I was still getting too many carbohydrates.  However, in The Calorie Myth he has tweaked his food plans so that one can easily do this diet as a vegetarian or even a vegan.  I’ve substituted protein powders for the beans and legumes with good success.   Because I have a family history of diabetes, I test my blood sugar regularly. Now that I’m following the diet more strictly, I’ve brought my fasting blood sugar down from around 100 to 83.  I’m convinced this is a healthy diet for me, and  I’ll be on this eating plan for the rest of my life.  And while it’s not the “funnest” way to eat, I am never hungry.  Plus I do allow myself to have a dessert every week or two as a reward, which Bailor himself suggests doing.  This diet does take discipline at the beginning, but it becomes second nature with time, and the results provide great motivation to keep going.
HealthNut1 More than 1 year ago
I've been following Jonathan Bailor for quite some time and the book was very informative and has some great recipes I would highly recommend if your looking for the science behind why eating well is so important and how much better you will feel and spend less time at the gym.  It's a waste of time spending that much time at the gym and can actually be doing more harm then good.  I think people don't realize you don't have to kill yourself at the gym and eating the right foods can make you not only look better but feel better. Thank you Jonathan for giving such sound information.  Kelly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is easy to read, full of scientific proof in understandable terms, and hopefully on it's way to becoming the new standard in health and weight-loss. It is very well organized, includes interesting scientific studies, but doesn't get bogged down with details. The whole goal is to make getting to and maintaining our healthy weight simple. The Calorie Myth doesn't have all the usual hype of a diet book in the sense that you don't feel like someone is trying to force you to drink the Kool-Aid, you feel like Jonathan truly wants you to be healthy in the best, smartest and scientifically proven way possible. It is very clear that he has no hidden agenda nor is he endorsing a product or name brand purely for profit. I would encourage anyone who has tried any other 'fad' diet to give this a try; I have already lost 7 lbs in 18 days following this, and I am eating more food than I ever have on any other weight loss attempt. I would also very highly recommend that you listen to Jonathan's podcast; there is even more detail and material, as well as fun conversation with Carrie Brown (who has amazing SANE recipes).
kkmmann More than 1 year ago
I got this book for my Kindle as soon as it was released and read it through in 2 days. I have started the program and now eat SANE and it’s not hard to do at all. My clothes fit better, I’ve lost weight and I’m eating well and have mostly lost my cravings for sugar. The book is easy to read and the evidence makes sense. I’ve since bought the hardcover as I refer to it daily. Read The Calorie Myth. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
durgy More than 1 year ago
Obesity is a symptom of a hormonal clog, not the problem itself. It is the body’s way to protect it based on the crap we eat on the SAD (Standard American Diet). JB busts down the diet we’ve been fed by the bedmates of big food and big government by showing us the science to fix our set point weight.  Spending hours on the treadmill is passe! Get your high intensity workouts in less than an hour per week and practice restorative exercise for more energy and a better life. The Calorie Myth demonstrates an understandable path in an easy guide. This book and the online resources have helped me to stop counting calories, exercise smarter and donate my “fat clothes”. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in solving health problems related to food intake with a different level of thinking than what started the problem in the first place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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KarriJ More than 1 year ago
Great book! Filled with scientific FACTS, yet still very enjoyable to read. Of all the books I've read in the last year--and I've read a lot!--this is in my top 2. It's a life changer. And the eccentric training? Wow. Great, great news! Thanks Jonathan!
Simpson3301 More than 1 year ago
This is the ABSOLUTE BEST book on LONG TERM fat loss ever put in print!!! I have been one of the lucky people that was able to read his first book The Science Of Slim a year ago before it was made out of print. This book has all the information available that his first book did, however the information is more concise and the studies do not get too wordy or geeked out as the original. Calories do not matter as long as the quality of food intake remains SANE. Did I mention I haven't even started the ECCENTRIC exercises yet or ANY exercise outside of my job yet and still lost a pant size???!!! Get this book!!!
Lisa_RLR More than 1 year ago
There is a lot of research on weight loss. There is very little big picture combining of of all those studies. Jonathan Bailor has done the hard work for reading and sifting through the research, identifying proven theories and explaining  them in a way that the average person can use. It makes sense. This book is practical and smart.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Calorie Myth explains so much that can help us get healthy through how we eat and move.  “Eat more and exercise less.”  This is no joke – Jonathan explains why this approach works, what you should/could eat in a day and how you should/could work out in a week.  And I mean eat a lot and exercise intensely for just a few minutes a week.  I never knew about eccentric exercise – mind blown about how effective this is.  
LianneG More than 1 year ago
Excellent read!  Jonathan Bailor has demystified the “elephant in the room”, which is “I’m doing everything right as far as diet goes, so why don’t I get any results?”  Thank you, Jonathan, for putting into words what long has been a suspicion of mine!  Not only does he bring the scientific proof to the table, but he also provides clear answers concerning the healthy way to eat (with yummy recipes!) and gives the principles behind and the correct way to exercise.
ShonG_in_NC More than 1 year ago
The science reported in this book is simply amazing. And amazingly simple. Jonathan makes quick work of eliminating the word 'diet' from my vocabulary. We are all tired of hearing about 'calories in/calories out'. It's all about quality of food over quantity. I still can't believe all the years of misinformation we have been taught about how bad 'fat' is and how whole grains are good for us. Not to mention how much time we think we are supposed to spend in the gym. Buy the book, spend more dollars in the grocery aisle instead of the cereal aisle, and feel better! Last year I rid myself of the refined carbs and began to feel like a new person in no time. This book has taught me more about proper protein/fat/carb ratios than I ever knew before. And some tasty recipes are included that are great examples of how to execute the Sane lifestyle. Thanks Jonathan!
Rhymetyme More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon Johnathan’s book on December 30 and purchased the Kindle version the next day. The book is an easy read and I completed it in about a week. The first part of the book is dedicated to case study debunking just about everything we have been led to believe about diet & exercise. The second part is an easy to implement plan to better health. I have told many of my coworkers about the book and they’re like “yeah right” Now that I have lost twelve pounds and feel GREAT in just over a week they are coming back to me asking “Now how are you doing this”? The book is not about losing weight fast but rather a sustainable lifestyle to better health. A must read.
GaryA More than 1 year ago
20 years of reading every book I could find on health, nutrition, low-fat eating, no-fat eating, high-fat eating, high protein diets, vegetarian diets, Paleo, Mediterranean, fruit diets, super cardio, low cardio, fast pump, slow pump….eat this, do that…. I went from over 320 down to 185 and slowly back up to the high 200’s as the dizzying overload of information and conflicting “expertise” put me in such a state of stress and confusion, I turned to my own diet. Ben and Jerry’s…as much and as often as I could handle it. I was done reading all this mayhem….no one knew what was “true” or “real” to me! Don’t get me wrong, many books were written by people I highly respect. But the food you could and couldn’t eat, should or shouldn’t eat, seemed to vary depending on which one you were reading. Oh, my head hurts just remembering how insane it seemed to me. Can’t someone just tell me what’s best for me, the average Joe with a family, working and living a regular life like most of us? Grrrrrrr!!!! Then I ran across Jonathan Bailor on a podcast interview somewhere. He had this new book coming out The Calorie Myth. Oh no, not another friggin’ book about diet and nutrition! But I listened to his message, and…THWACK… “This guy really knows what he is talking about. And has the science to prove it! I DEVOURED the book in one sitting! OMG…20 years and this guy has THE answer! It is so simple. It is so logical. Yes, dare I say it…. it is so SANE!!!!! My wife and I took off on his SANE approach and are not looking back. If you are sick of all the hype and confusion, and vowed to buy no other book for the rest of your life on the subject of nutrition and exercise and living fully, please order The Calorie Myth. You will kick yourself for not finding out about this guy sooner. Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! Amen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It's written in a way that makes the science easy to understand. I find the recommendations in this book easy to put in place and I'm feeling great since following this way of eating and exercising.
JOYce6 More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has struggled with losing weight knows that eating less slows down your metabolism, and working out revs up your appetite. So why do we continue to blame ourselves when the “eat less, exercise more” methods don’t work at all, or can’t be maintained?!? If you’re like me, you’ve probably bought a lot of diet books before, but this one is paradigm-shifting. You will discover why none of the other ones worked, why it wasn’t your fault, and what you need to do about it. This is the last diet book you’ll need to buy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is nice to see someone that look at all the science and makes a clear overall recommendation as opposed to just puling out the pieces that support what they want to sell you.  It is an added bonus that the end result is a clear, easy to follow plan that actually makes sense.  Following the recommendations in the book makes me feel amazing.
PaleoGreenville More than 1 year ago
The Calorie Myth is an excellent read. It focuses on how many of the things we have been led to believe about nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight over the last 50 years have been invalidated by science, and gives you the information you need to make better choices that are based on research and not best guesses or political agendas. Jonathan Bailor takes a practical approach to breaking down common myths about weight loss including why a calorie is not a calorie and why you can’t exercise your way out of obesity. He takes you through the details of how starches and sweets upset your hormonal balance and prevent your body from regulating your weight effectively. In the second half of the book he gives you the tools you need to make better food choices and offers recipes and exercises that will help you integrate everything you’ve learned into your daily routine. The book is so well-researched and persuasive I bought a second copy for my Dad so that he can join in the SANEity.
Hazel1953 More than 1 year ago
An excellent book for information on healthy eating and weight loss. This will be my roadmap for my journey to health. Written in an easy to understand format with plenty of science to back it up.
Carol_Salva More than 1 year ago
onathan's book is filled with useful, life-changing information for those of us trying to figure out how to get healthy, stay healthy and enjoy the life we are living along the way. While we all have different responses to certain foods and exercise, there are some things that everyone should know to figure out their own personal recipe for success. How to easily lose weight, build muscle and rid ourselves of certain ailments isn't a mystery after all. Science DOES know how to get our society healthier. We just haven't had it all laid out to us in this way before. Jonathan takes years and years of research, and over 1,300 studies and distills it down into an easy to understand guide for us. The book is something we should all read to make the best, most efficient decisions for our lives. This book should help us all get to a much better place!
avidreader0000 More than 1 year ago
Easy-to-read new nutrition and exercise information for those of us who are not “naturally thin.” This book has given me hope that my own body can heal itself of years of metabolic dysfunction if given the correct nutrients and the correct (and reasonable!) exercise. Short, yet packed with information in a refreshing writing style including illustrations and analogies that make the information easy to “get” and easy to find and continue to reference later. The author has included practical tools and “how-to’s,” condensing the scientific information into bite-size, practical chunks which are easy to implement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading The Calorie Myth it’s as if a dark cloud of misunderstanding and frustration has lifted and I finally understand why I have struggled with my weight my entire adult life! Jonathon Bailor does an amazing job distilling a decade of his hard core research down to easily understandable information about the science behind how our body processes and stores food and the role of hormones in our metabolism. As a middle aged woman, I feel like there is finally hope for me to return to a healthy size and an energetic lifestyle. After decades of hazy information about dieting and exercise it felt amazing to finally have a clear understanding. I may have spent decades eating like a crazy person but I pledge to no longer be inSANE!