Counting calories? Not your best maths
If someone was to tell you that a portion of kale and a slice of cake were the same amount of calories, which would you choose? The truth is - not all calories are created equal.
While counting calories does have some value when it comes to health and weight loss, what really matters is the quality of your food. But there are other crucial pieces of the puzzle to put together for the case against calorie counting. Here are just a few of them:
1. Nutrient-dense (and often high-calorie) foods satisfy you for longer
Calories from nutrient-rich foods have a completely different effect on the body to those that are from processed or refined carbohydrates. If foods filled with nutrients are at the high end of the calorie scale, your body will be getting the right mix of carbs, nutrients and vitamins needed to keep hunger at bay.
High-quality calories that allow for a slower energy release come from foods such as:
- Leafy greens
- Grass-fed meat
2. Fat-free, low-calorie foods can lead to overeating
On the opposite side of the scale, nutrient-poor foods can leave you hungry, mentally foggy and deprived of the nourishment your body needs. Portion-controlled microwave meals are a good example of this. Many are loaded with chemicals and inflammatory ingredients that set the stage for a whole host of health problems. Often loaded with sugar, these low-calorie quick fixes can spike your blood sugar levels and cause a surge in insulin - storing more fat than high-calorie, nutritious foods.
3. Counting calories is can be mentally unhealthy
Counting calories isn’t easy when you’re at a party, wedding, dinner, or any kind of social event. While you should be enjoying the occasion - and your food - you may get caught up with how many calories is in your friend’s lasagne. Our state of mind plays a huge role in how our bodies use the food we eat. If you’re stressed from constantly figuring out calories in your meal, your digestion is compromised from cortisol-production and your body will store fat as a result.
4. It can sometimes encourage you to eat more junk food
If a chocolate muffin is within your calorie limit, you may be inclined to eat fewer fruit, vegetables and meat to squeeze in the treat instead. Calorie counting shouldn’t be a license to fill up on indulgent foods when you’re under your number-crunching intake. Instead, try swapping ingredients in certain foods to something healthier - such as using avocado in your brownies (perfect substitute for butter) or wholegrain cereal instead of sugar-coated cereal. Studies have shown that getting your highest calorie intake at the start of the day can also help trim your waistline, aiding metabolic activity.
The bottom line when it comes to calorie counting is, simply don’t do it. As long as you give your body the high-quality food it requires, with plenty of nutrient-dense proteins and whole food fats, you don’t need a number to tell your they’re good for you.