Counting calories is not the answer for weight loss. It’s estimated that 71% of Americans are now overweight and as a nation we keep getting fatter, according to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6146358/
If you’re concerned about your weight, healthy aging and overall health, counting calories is not the best strategy for you to focus on.
Yes, consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, but research is showing that what comprises those calories is even more important. Those components of the food you eat every day that contribute to weight gain and disease need to be identified and minimized.
Counting calories used to be popular because we didn’t understand that not all calories were equal. Counting calories doesn’t take into account the impact the particular type of calorie has on your blood glucose. Controlling blood glucose is far more important for weight loss, overall health and aging than simply just counting calories.
Investing your time and energy counting calories will NOT give you a good return on your investment, meaning it won’t do much to move you toward what you are seeking; weight loss and improved health.
A calorie is not just a calorie.
It’s much more important for you to understand how the food you’re eating affects your blood glucose. You want to eat in a way that flattens your blood glucose curve. In other words, you want to avoid blood glucose spikes. Avoiding flour and sugar will help tremendously in avoiding glucose spikes.
The healthiest thing for your organs, your brain, and your heart is to keep your blood glucose as stable as possible.
Why is lowering blood glucose so important:
more restful sleep
less brain fog
less weight gain
stronger immune system
prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
prevent heart disease
reduce Alzheimer’s risk
reduce cancer risk
These results are impressive and you will experience many of these benefits when you focus on eating foods that keep your blood glucose balanced.
For example, eating a cookie that has 100 calories will create a very different glucose response in your body than eating an apple that has 100 calories. When you eat food that results in elevating your blood glucose, like a cookie, your body releases insulin. The role of this hormone is to help take glucose out of the blood and into your muscles, fat and liver.
The problem is that, when insulin is around, it prevents your body from using up old energy stores (i.e. it can’t burn fat). If you want to lose weight, it’s in your best interest to avoid glucose spikes so that your body can burn fat.
Another important consideration for you is to understand the nutritional contribution of the food you are eating.
I strongly urge you to stop counting calories and instead focus on the nutritional value of the foods you’re putting into your bodies. Focus on eating a wide assortment of colorful vegetables, root vegetables, green vegetables, peas, beans, mushrooms, onions, nuts, seeds, and some intact whole grains.
Eating a cheeseburger and regular sized fries from Five Guys will put you at 1,790 calories for the day. That’s probably the limit (or past the limit!) for most of us. So you eat your cheeseburger + fries then feel guilty , so you “make up for it” by not eating the rest of that day, or by trying to eat super healthy the following day. Problem solved, right? Think again! We need to do more work than simply counting the number of calories we are eating and drinking each day. We need to take into account the TYPE of calories we ingest.
How much nutritional value do you really think a cheeseburger and fries has? Let’s look a little closer at those fries, shall we? One serving of regular fries contains a whopping 41g of fat, 962mg of sodium, 131g of carbs, 15g of fiber, and 15g of protein. According to the FDA, the recommended daily fat intake (based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which means many of us need to adjust) is 65g. Meaning one serving of French fries uses 63% of our allotted fat intake (again, 63% of a 2000 calorie limit). Add that cheeseburger that you’re very likely getting with those fries and that puts you at 74g, or 114% recommended fat intake. Just because we remained within our caloric intake limit does NOT mean we have not gone way over in those sub categories of nutrition.
Fat is an important macronutrient, but the fat you’ll find in fast food and processed food is not considered healthy fat and is linked with heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Instead of counting fat calories, it’s important to focus on replacing bad fats with good fats. Some good sources of healthy fats include: avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, olive oil, sesame oil. You’ll find unhealthy fats in take out food, packaged foods, vegetable shortening, fried foods, commercially baked pastries, donuts,
If you’re someone who counts calories as a strategy to lose weight, try these strategies instead:
- Simply cut out drink calories in soda, juices and alcohol. Drink water instead. This alone will significantly reduce junk calories.
- Try intermittent fasting. Once you finish dinner don’t eat till approximately 11 am -noon the next day. There’s a lot more to learn about intermittent fasting in order for it to be effective. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting for health and weight loss join the next round of Reset Renew Results.
- Cut out fast food and limit restaurant food.
- Use doTERRA’s Slim and Sassy metabolic blend which is designed to help balance blood glucose, boost metabolism and manage hunger cravings. Put one to three drops in your water bottle and sip throughout the day.
- You can also get it in capsule form here.
- The easiest and best tip I can give you to counter-balance foods that contribute to a high glucose response is to have enough fat, fiber, or protein with that food. Learn how to eat during the day to manage blood glucose in my next 6 weeks weight loss group.
- Here’s a recipe to help curb a glucose spike. Apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar, helps curb our glucose spikes. It’s pretty amazing. Recipe: 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of vinegar (any kind, but apple is more tasty), in a tall glass of water. Drink it with a straw (to protect your teeth) before you eat a sweet snack. You can read more about the impact of vinegar on blood glucose here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28292654/
Learning how to keep your blood glucose in normal ranges is critical for weight loss, to improve health markers and promote healthy aging. It’s the healthiest thing you can do for your organs, your brain and your heart.