Revealing 4 Common Myths about Counting Calories for Weight Loss
Is counting calories the key to a successful and healthy weight loss? Some insist it’s useful while others believe the calorie in versus calorie out approach is outdated and makes you even fatter.
We’ve decided to take a closer look at this overly disputed topic and share with you four of the biggest myths about counting calories for weight loss. But first, let’s find out what a calorie is all about.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by 1°C at a pressure of one atmosphere. Calories generally describe the energy content of food, needed by our bodies to function properly.
When it comes to losing weight, the concept of calorie in versus calorie out is not necessarily the best approach. In fact, most nutritionists and dietitians advise against counting calories if you want to experience a healthy, sustainable weight loss. Why? Read on to find out!
Myth: Calories impact weight
According to a 2017 study, individuals with a higher intake of antioxidants maintain lower BMIs, smaller waistlines, and lower body-fat percentages compared to those who consume fewer antioxidants. The one thing both groups had in common was the number of calories consumed daily.
In another study of Wake Forest University, researchers discovered that foods high in trans-fat can make people gain four times more weight and 30% more belly fat compared to meals prepared with natural plant-based fat.
This means consuming 500 calories of processed food has a different impact on your body and weight than a 500-calorie meal consisting of fruits, veggies, whole grain, lean protein, and heart-healthy fat. It’s the quality that matters, not their quantity! This brings us to our next myth…
Myth: All calories are created equal
Many people believe that sticking to a certain number of calories per day is a free pass to eating anything they want. In reality, it’s the type and quality of calories that tip the scale in your favor.
Let’s put it this way: our bodies need three types of calories: carbohydrates, protein, and fat, each with a specific function; therefore, getting the proper amount of each is extremely important. For instance, if you consume too many carb calories and too few protein calories, your body wouldn’t be able to perform the protein-based jobs and the extra carb calories would be stored as fat, in the adipose cells.
In the end, the fat accumulated in the cells causes them to expand and increase in size, which means you increase in size as well. Weight gain can be accompanied by loss of muscle mass, dry, dull hair and skin, hormonal imbalances, and a weaker immune system.
Myth: It matters WHEN you eat the calories
You might think the time of day, or night thereof when you eat the calories matters. In truth, your body doesn’t care whether it’s one o’clock in the afternoon or seven o’clock in the evening. What’s of the essence to it is what the calories are made up of.
This does not mean you should eat burgers and fries late in the evening and expect to lose weight. A light meal is obviously better if you want to get rid of the extra pounds. Also, stay away from sugar-rich foods because they cause your blood sugar to spike, promoting the storage of fat.
Myth: Counting calories is an infallible strategy
In a recent study published by the University of California, San Francisco, which involved 121 women, researchers discovered there’s a strong connection between calories, stress and weight gain.
The first group of participants was asked to consume 1,200 calories a day. The second one was asked to eat and record the number of calories they consumed. The third stuck to 1,200 calories a day, without recording them while the fourth group was required to eat normally without tracking the calories.
The conclusion was that when calories were restricted, levels of the stress hormone called cortisol rose. Women who didn’t have to limit their calorie intake were also stressed by having to count calories. This means cortisol stimulates appetite and cravings for sweet, high-fat, and salty foods and increases belly fat storage, therefore, making it surge is definitely not the way to approach weight-control.
If you found this post useful, feel free to share it with a friend. If you want to find out more about calories as well as efficient ways to burn the extra ones, check out this post!