We’ve all heard the phrase “calories in, calories out” to explain the concept of weight loss – but is this really the only way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight? Recent studies suggest that counting calories may not be necessary for long-term success. Let’s explore why calorie counting isn’t always an effective approach, and what you can do instead.
The Problem with Calorie Counting
Counting calories may be hard work, but it doesn’t guarantee accurate results. Studies have found that there can be a difference of 20-50% between what is stated on food labels and restaurant menus and what is actually in the food! So even if you are meticulously logging every calorie you ingest, it may not be enough to reflect your true caloric intake each day.
Individual Metabolisms Are Different
It’s also important to remember that everyone’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) is different; that’s the energy needed from food to maintain basic functions, such as your heartbeat. Some people naturally burn more calories than others, while some people have slower metabolisms that don’t easily process food. This means that two people who consume the same amount of calories per day could have very different outcomes when it comes to weight loss or maintenance. In addition to this, different foods affect your metabolism differently with some requiring more work to digest, absorb, or metabolise than others. Protein, for example, requires more energy to be metabolised than fat, regardless of the calories they contain.
Processed Foods Make You Eat More
Finally, studies show that processed foods tend to make us eat more over the course of the day compared to unprocessed foods. A 2019 study found that participants eating the same calories of processed foods gained more weight compared to participants eating unprocessed foods, indicating that not all foods are created equal. This means that if you’re relying solely on calorie counting, you may still end up consuming more than your body needs without realising it. Processed foods are often high in sugar and fat, which makes them tempting – but they don’t contribute anything to our overall health or well-being, except for extra calories!
What You Should Focus On Instead
Rather than focusing solely on calorie counting, it’s important to focus on eating a balanced diet made up of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. It’s not sexy, but eating a balanced diet ensures that your body gets all of the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs while keeping your caloric intake at a healthy level, without having to rely on counting every single calorie consumed throughout the day. Not only does this make life easier but it also helps ensure long-term success with both weight loss and overall health!
Calorie counting can be a difficult process filled with inaccuracies which makes it hard for many people to sustain over time—especially when other factors like individual metabolisms come into play! That’s why instead of focusing solely on calories, we should focus on eating a balanced diet comprised of whole foods such as fruits and veg, which will provide our bodies with all of the essential vitamins and minerals we need. If this sounds like a lot of work, try adding a Plantshake into your daily routine; with 2 portions of fruit & veg, plus 26 essential vitamins & minerals (including winter essentials like Vitamin D, B12, C & magnesium) they will have you feeling your best in no time. By doing this we can reach our goals while also ensuring long-term success with both weight loss and overall health!
Spector, T., 2020. Spoon-Fed: The# 1 Sunday Times bestseller that shows why almost everything we’ve been told about food is wrong. Random House.
Hall et al., 2019, Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie intake and Weight Gain; An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad libitum Food Intake Cell Metabolism 30, 67–77, July 2, 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.05.008
Patel et al., 2006, Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3496783/