Do you count calories? Might be time for a change of habit.

The government and MacDonald’s both have radio adverts at the moment focusing on low calories and a low-calorie meal/snack being a ‘better’ option.  This is not necessarily the case. There is too much focus on the number of calories, rather than where the calories are coming from.

Calorie counting when trying to lose weight/eat more healthily, by and large, doesn’t work because calorie content doesn’t necessarily relate to the nutritional impact the calories/food has on the body. Unless you are talking about sugar and puddings etc or just eating too much regardless of what it is. (It is, however, very hard to overeat celery in the same way as with chocolate buttons).

The body also needs foods with a high-calorie content, specifically when it comes from saturated (in the right quantities) and unsaturated fats which include polyunsaturated fats (that are the best for you).  But please try to avoid margarine/vegetable oil spreads because they have been highly processed and heated which damages the chemical structure causing inflammation in the body. This fat which is high in calories is essential to our health, helping to make every cell wall, our brain, and hormones which make sure all sorts of processes work. But calorie counting won’t take this into consideration –  all we will see is that a food takes up a large number of calories rather than assessing if the calories are needed or not. Calories and fat from butter, in the right amounts, are needed. Calories from a chocolate brownie are not.

Calorie counting, when trying to lose weight, can also send the body into starvation mode as you don’t eat enough, so the body stores everything as fat. Or you lose weight whilst doing it and then pile it all back on after because overall your eating habits haven’t changed for the long term.  And with children and the less than 100 calorie snack advert on the radio at the moment, will eliminate all sorts of really healthy snacks.  For example, 20g of plain, unsalted brazil nuts has 138 calories, but everything in them is so good for your child including essential nutrients like magnesium, selenium, omega 3, vitamin E, B vitamins – all sorts of things to keep your child healthy.  But because they are over the magic 100 calories they will be automatically dismissed and something else that has no doubt been highly processed, had sugar added to it/is already in it and low fat will be chosen instead.  This is not good. And yes, of course, eating too much of anything isn’t good.  It is much harder to overeat with an unprocessed wholefood like plain, unsalted nuts, than bars of dairy milk or crisps.

Calorie counting without a doubt has its place in the right conditions for the right person. In general, I would say being aware of what you eat, taking time to eat it and enjoying it is more important. Listen to when your body is full and stop eating.  And as an aside, the number of calories in food is worked out on a system where they used to set a food on fire and seeing how much it raised the temperature of water.  This is not how we digest food or utilise the nutritional content for our everyday internal processes.  Any questions about your diet, get in touch for a consultation.

1 Comment
  • Kaye

    6th February 2018 at 9:04 pm Reply

    Absolutely love this! Common sense at its finest

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