If You Want to Lose Weight, Forget About Counting Calories

· July 15, 2015
Calories are just as important as other nutritional values: fat, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, etc.

People who want to lose weight tend to focus all their attention on counting calories, as if this were the most reliable way to control their diet.

However, more and more studies are proving that this is a wrong and dangerous way to plan your diet. We will explain why counting calories is not the best weight loss method in this article. 

Counting calories is not an accurate measure for nutritional value

100 calories in fruit is not the same as in a pastry, because the body does not digest and assimilate the nutrients in the same way. 

For example, if you eat a food like avocado, which is very caloric but also rich in healthy fats and fiber, your body will assimilate those fats easier. Also, the fiber it contains will help you eliminate what you don’t need better.

In turn, if you eat food rich in sugar, harmful fats, and refined flour, your body may detect it immediately as a food that it should store, because it has much less nutrients.

Fast food

Are there weight loss foods?

We say “weight loss foods” because the calories your body uses to digest them are more than the calories they contain. 

This proves that counting calories isn’t necessary with these foods, because when you eat them, you will be using more energy, or in other words, losing weight.

These foods that burn more calories than they contain are known as foods with a negative caloric value, and they’re mainly fruits and vegetables, like the ones listed below:

Vegetables

  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Squash

Check out this article:

Eggplant Meatballs, a Finger-licking Good Recipe

Fruits:

  • Apple
  • Melon
  • Berries
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple

Therefore, we recommend that your diet is based mostly on these foods.

Apples and pears

Good fats, bad fats

In general, calories are proportionate to a food’s fat content. However, they vary depending on the type of food and you should always choose the kinds that are natural and beneficial.

On the other hand, fats are essential for your body and also boost the elimination of fat deposits, which is why removing them from your body is a huge mistake.

Examples of healthy fats:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Blue fish
  • Egg yolk

You may also like:

Eggs and Their Nutritional Value

Different types of oils

Examples of dangerous fats:

  • Red meats and cold cuts
  • Margarine and other trans fats
  • Fried food
  • Dairy products

Fiber

Counting the calories of a food without keeping in mind if it has insoluble fiber or not is not a good idea. Fiber itself does not nourish you, but it does keep food from making you fat.

It has satisfying properties, which is why you do not need to eat as much, and it also helps eliminate everything your body does not need.

For example, if you eat a treat (cake, ice cream, sweets), you’ll gain less weight if you also eat a food rich in fiber, like an apple.

What are the foods that contain natural fiber?

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Dried fruits
  • Whole grains

If you increase your consumption of foods rich in fiber, you may notice some apparently negative symptoms at first, like bloating, gases, or even constipation. These symptoms are temporary while your body adapts to the foods. You will prevent them if you chew well and drink enough water between meals.

Final tips

Because of everything we explained in this article, we recommend you forget about counting calories and instead dedicate your efforts to choosing natural and healthy foods that will give you all of the necessary nutrients for your body.

Your diet should be balanced. You should not consume less calories or less fats, but rather choose higher quality foods. A shortage of healthy fats could cause premature aging of the skin, scalp dryness, lower defenses, constipation, etc.

You should not abuse animal protein, as other diets support, because this can damage the functioning of your liver and kidneys.

Images courtesy of SteFou!, vastfield, cottonseedoil.

Mozaffarian, D. (2017). Foods, obesity, and diabetes-are all calories created equal? Nutrition Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuw024

Lucan, S. C., & Dinicolantonio, J. J. (2015). How calorie-focused thinking about obesity and related diseases may mislead and harm public health. An alternative. Public Health Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1368980014002559