Counting Calories

Calorie counting can be useful as a basic and general guideline for health and fitness enthusiasts around the world. Here are the reasons why you should treat them as general guidelines and nothing but. 

“Looking at foods just based on their caloric value can be detrimental towards your health goals if done incorrectly.”

You need enough calories

Well surely, you say, eating less calories obviously results in weight loss, right? As it turns out, that’s not always the case. 

In the short term, following a low calorie diet could reduce your weight if you manage to stick with it for a few weeks. Within these few weeks, you will quickly realize that you experience reduced energy levels due to a lack of nutrients, which can lead to decreased motivation throughout the day and less effective workouts. The muscle tissues that you would have developed from your intense chest exercises if you were consuming enough calories won’t produce the desired results. Because your body does not have the necessary nutrients it needs to maintain the muscle mass; you’re losing the muscles you worked for! 

But alas, you say, in spite of all that, I did lose some weight, right? 

Unfortunately, in the long term, your body adapts to this reduced intake by slowing down your metabolism, meaning you’re burning less calories per day! This could mean that in spite of starving yourself for the past month, you end up gaining more weight than you lose. While, yes, it is true that taking the first step into a healthier lifestyle requires you to be aware of the quantity of calories you are consuming, you need to be aware of a whole lot of other things too! And sometimes, looking at foods just based on their caloric value can be detrimental towards your health goals if done incorrectly.

“By being aware of the nutrients you are consuming you could more quickly approach the health goal that you are aiming for.”

Calories aren’t everything

Counting calories does not take into account the fact that different foods are absorbed into our bodies differently.  Different foods affect your metabolism and hormonal levels in different ways and you need to be aware of these effects if you want to maintain a long-term healthy lifestyle.

Good fats such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids found in avocados or wild salmon provides essential fats for your body, whilst, saturated fats and trans fats found in dairy-rich products increases risk of cardiovascular disease and raises cholesterol levels. 

Calorie, Schmalorie!

Although it may feel comforting to believe that there is an all purpose number that tells you what should and shouldn’t consume to be healthy, it is also important to remember that these calorie labels are not always 100% accurate.

Most people seem to forget that the caloric value stated on food labels are averages that are estimated, not precise measurements. Furthermore, these averages are allowed to have an inaccuracy of up to 20%. Put these two together and you can be sure that your calorie count for the day is off by a few hundred calories. 

The bottom line is that the amount of calories you consume is not the be-all-and-end-all for a healthy lifestyle. Instead by being aware of the nutrients you are consuming, you could more quickly approach the health lifestyle that you are aiming for.

Visit this link to read more about the problem with counting calories.

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