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Why Counting Calories For Weight Loss Won't Work
For generations, many of us have been indoctrinated into thinking that diets have to revolve around calorie counting. Even now, in supposedly more informed and innovative times, new diets emerge, such as the CICO diet, which totally focus on the idea of Calories in, Calories Out. Thus prevails the idea that all you need to do is eat fewer calories than your body burns each day, and you will be fitting in those jeans you haven’t even dared to look at for years within months.
While there is an element of truth to the idea of creating a calorie deficit, there are some fundamental problems, not least that not all calories are created equal. If you’re simply concerned with counting calories, you could theoretically live off hot dogs, chips, and chocolate. The only caveat would be that you had to burn them off. The problem with this - and, in turn, diets like the CICO plan - is that it does not take into account the way in which different foods affect your body.
No point in starving
It is also accepted that restricting calories can lead to your body believing that you are in a state of famine. This results in the slowing down of your metabolism as your body aims to conserve its fat stores. This is essentially the opposite of what you want it to be doing if losing fat is your ultimate aim. Add to this the tedium of calorie counting, and this is not the type of diet you want to maintain.
Quality matters, too
Yes, weight loss does come down to creating a calorific deficit, but the difference between calories also has to be taken into account. Different foods do affect the human body differently, and this cannot be ignored. It is not just the single food item that should be considered but how it will affect your body both immediately and in the future. For example, a 400-calorie breakfast of high-sugar cereals can result in a spike in your insulin levels that results in a later sugar crash that makes you want to eat your own body weight in anything you can get your hands on after a few short hours. Add to this the fact that the carbohydrates get stored up as fat, and it is easy to see why this type of choice can be a recipe for disaster.
Conversely, a healthy but satisfying breakfast, perhaps complemented by Glucomannan Fiber to help you feel full for longer, can prevent such negative effects on your body and make it much more likely that you will be able to stick to your eating plan or daily calorie goals. The point to remember is that, just as you can’t compare our Zero Noodles with the type you would get from your local Chinese takeout, calories alone cannot be effectively compared to each other.
Diets aren’t the same
If calories were the only things that mattered, every diet would work equally just by creating a calorie deficit. This is not the case, however, and different diets can have very different results. This is down to the structure and contents of the diets themselves and major differences in the people who are following them.
Even if you could compare like for like in terms of people (which is impossible given the unique nature of every individual), it is a fact that an Ornish diet, for example, may not have the same results as a Paleo diet, even if 1,500 calories are consumed each day.
You must also consider how different diets make your body act over both the shorter and longer terms. High-protein diets, for example, can help you to lose large amounts of weight, but there may be periods where you cannot seem to lose any more. This is not because the number of calories you are eating has changed but may be down to other reasons, such as inflammation caused by the amount of protein you have been eating.
What is the alternative?
Calorie counting is an outdated method for losing weight, and thankfully, there are many more effective alternatives out there. These focus on the quality of what you eat rather than just the quantity. One of the most effective forms of healthy eating for weight loss is a diet relatively high in fat, with moderate protein and a low amount of carbohydrates. Without carbs, your body learns to make use of fat as a form of fuel, leading to excess weight being shed.