Fallacy of a Calorie

In The Fallacy of a Calorie, Dr. Michael Fenster explores the negative health effects of the modern Western diet, also known as the standard American diet. He explains how this way of eating is responsible for the disabilities and diseases of modern civilization.

Michael S. Fenster, M.D., is a Board Certified Interventional Cardiologist. His culinary career began before he attended medical school when he was an executive chef. Later he co-managed an award-winning restaurant and received a degree in gourmet cooking and catering in 2013.


Fallacy of a Calorie Basics

Fallacy of a Calorie outlines a thirty-day program with guiding principles and specific steps for eating in a way that restores natural balance.

The Negative Effects of the Western Diet

Michael Fenster explains how people are hardwired to seek out foods containing high levels of sugar, salt, and fat. However, our bodies are not evolved to adequately deal with refined and artificial foods.

Consequently the changes that have occurred in our diet since the Industrial Revolution have resulted in:

These changes have become especially pronounced over the last 50 to 75 years. This is why obesity and chronic disease is reaching epidemic proportions.

Counting Calories is a Fallacy

Dr. Fenster describes how calories are measured by turning food into ash then recording the amount of heat given off. This doesn’t have a lot to do with the way humans actually metabolize food.

Additionally the amount of calories in a food doesn’t give a lot of information about the nutritional value of a food. For example, a 100-calorie soft drink is not the equivalent to a 100-calorie apple.

Instead of focusing on the quantity of calories we should consider the nutritional quality of the food. The key for restoring balance and preventing disease is to consume quality foods that also taste delicious.

A 30-Day Detox Program

The core of Fallacy of a Calorie is a 30-day cleansing plan designed to eliminate impurities from your body. These toxins are often the hidden cause of digestive disorders that can eventually manifest as serious illnesses.

The detox begins with a 3-day juice fast. During the cleanse you should emphasize vegetable juices with lesser amounts of fruit juice.

This is combined with the use of probiotic supplements.

Eat a High Fiber Diet – (Especially Vegetables)

You should eat lots of fruit and vegetables, which provide soluble fiber. While green vegetables are emphasized you should try to include vegetables of a variety of colors in your daily diet. This will ensure you consume a wide variety of phytochemicals, antioxidants and nutrients.

Whole grains and cereals provide insoluble fiber.

Both types are of fiber are equally important. They help restore the natural balance of probiotic organisms in your digestive system.

Avoid Modern Wheat

Dr. Fenster says a gluten-free diets is not necessary. You only have to avoid modern wheat products including whole-wheat and whole-grain products.

On this plan you are allowed to eat dried Italian pasta and homemade pasta prepared from durum wheat. You can also eat gluten-containing grains such as spelt, emmer, einkorn, oats, barley and rye.

The Lifestyle

At the end of the 30-day program you will probably experience improvements in chronic health issues. It is likely that your enhanced well-being will motivate you to continue with this way of eating for good.

Costs and Expenses

The Fallacy of The Calorie: Why The Modern Western Diet is Killing Us and How to Stop It retails at $17.95.


  • Based on cutting edge science and documents a well-researched hypothesis.
  • Author is a medical doctor and qualified chef.
  • Outlines an approach to help you find the balance between enjoyment of meals and healthful eating.
  • Offers a 30-day plan for overhauling your diet.
  • Encourages consumption of fresh, organic, and locally-produced foods.


  • Most people will experience some degree of detox symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and digestive discomfort – especially in the initial stages of the diet.
  • Organic foods can be more expensive.
  • Some dieters may need to avoid gluten to overcome their health challenges.

A Lifestyle Prescription

The Fallacy of a Calorie offers a lifestyle prescription for reversing the negative effects of the modern Western diet. This is a way of eating to help you correct common dietary mistakes and restore your metabolic health.

The 30-day detox plan will help break the cycle of food addiction at the core of the Standard American Diet. Once completed, dieters will have a new understanding of food, with practical tools for weight management and maintaining long-term health.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Fenster, M. (2014). The fallacy of the calorie: Why the modern Western diet is killing us and how to stop it.
  • Adams, C. F. (1975). Nutritive value of American foods in common units. Agriculture Handbook, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, (456). link
  • Lucan, S. C., & DiNicolantonio, J. J. (2014). How calorie-focused thinking about obesity and related diseases may mislead and harm public health. An alternative. Public health nutrition, 1-11. link
  • Rolls, B. J., Morris, E. L., & Roe, L. S. (2002). Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 76(6), 1207-1213. link


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Last Reviewed: March 29, 2021