Why calorie counting doesn’t work

If you Google “I want to lose weight”, besides the hundreds of pages offering you miracle weight loss tablets, you will also be met with the consistent message of “eat less, move more” or “calories in equals calories out” Microsoft office 2016 free download. It sure sounds logical, right: Spend more energy (calories) than you eat, and you lose weight?

Well, The reality is that it isn’t all that simple. There is no doubt that how much energy you eat and how much energy you use matters to weight loss, but, as it turns out, it’s the source of that energy that’s really the key.

Calories are not all created equal

In principle, all calories are the same. One dietary calorie contains 4184 Joules of energy.

But here is where things get a bit more complicated: Your body responds differently to calories from different food sources (e.g. sugar, carbohydrates, protein and fat). In other words, if you eat calories in the form of a chocolate, your body responds in a completely different way to eating them from a piece of steak.

Your weight is regulated by a complex system of genes and hormones and not all calories affect this system in the same way. What’s more, the foods directly affect the hormones that regulate when and how much you eat. So, the QUALITY of the calories you eat is just as important to your weight as how MANY you eat.

Here’s an example: A fizzy drink versus an egg. It sounds like a silly comparison, but hear us out. Fizzy and sugary drinks have “empty calories”, so compared to something like an egg, they may have the same total amount of calories, but once they enter your mouth, the pathways these calories travel are very different. The drink will deliver you instant energy, spike up your blood sugar and possibly leave you feeling a bit low, and hungry, whereas the same amount of calories from the egg will keep your blood sugar constant and make you feel full and satisfied.

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Sugary foods also spark the release of insulin, the fat storage hormone, so any excess sugars floating around are going straight to your hips as fat! It’s not difficult to consider then that drinking a can of cola every day for 5 will have a much different effect on the body than eating the same calories from eggs.

Foods that contain fat, such as eggs, nuts, avocados and fish have a very high calorie count. However, these types of foods are important to keep your heart and brain healthy, keep your appetite at bay and in the long run, help you lose weight. Can you see the irony?

Forget calories, focus on the food

So what should you do? The big lesson here is that you need to look at food as not just as a collection of calories, but rather the effect that those calories will have on you, your weight and your health down the line. Cut out refined food and sugars, and eat more protein and healthy fats. You’ll stay full for longer, without triggering the storage of fat. This way, you work with, instead of against your body’s internal weight-control systems. This makes weight loss natural and sustainable.

The best part? You can put away the scale and calculator. No more calorie counting!