Is your first instinct to start counting calories when you need to lose a few pounds? If calorie counting works for you, then there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken, but nutrition experts believe that eating wisely and losing weight need not always involve calorie counting.
What’s a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of measure of food energy. When you walk, type on a keyboard or breathe, you burn energy, or calories. And when you eat food, you ingest energy as well. If you eat more calories than your body burns off, the extra energy will be stored in the body as fat. When looking at dieting and weight loss, the energy balance is simple; if the amount of calories ingested is less than the amount used by the body, the body burns fat as energy and weight loss is the result.
Is dieting just a matter of calories?
Recent studies have shown that the most important thing to consider is what form the calories take. This factor determines how the body digests and uses the calories. In other words, if the calories you consume are high in sugar and carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels are affected; this in turn causes the body to produce insulin, which is related to fat storage. If you count calories to lose weight, make sure you choose low-sugar and low-carbohydrate foods along with healthy fats and proteins.
Food also gives us all the nutritional elements our cells need to grow and reproduce properly. Some nutritionists suggest that dieters focus more on the nutritional composition of the food they eat rather than always counting calories. Eating foods for their protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, enzymes and essential fats is the way to go.
Don’t starve yourself
The danger for people who believe they should count calories to lose weight is that they tend to eliminate all fats because their calorie count is so high. But there is such a thing as good fats. Some foods rich in natural fats, such as avocados, nuts and salmon, can help you in your weight loss diet. And when it comes to dieting, the good thing about fat is that it provides satiety—that feeling of being adequately full. Healthy fats also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Eating should be a pleasure
Dieticians at several medical clinics agree that for long term weight loss, it is crucial to eat satisfying foods and to not feel deprived all the time. If you’re still unsure of whether you should count calories to lose weight or are wondering how to choose the best weight-loss foods, a professional dietician can help you learn to eat intelligently. Nutritionists and dieticians can provide the kind of guidance and support you need to lose weight steadily, and for good.