If you want to lose weight, then you know that calories influence your weight and fat and the caloric value of different type of foods.
Many people believe that if they eat more calories than they burn off, then their body will gain weight. This is not true at all. If you are eating too many calories, your body will store them as fat. However, if you are burning more calories than you are consuming, then your body will lose weight. This is why it is important to keep track of what you are eating and how much you are exercising.
What foods should I avoid when trying to lose weight?
There are certain types of food that can actually make you put on pounds instead of losing them. These include:
- Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda or juice
- Fried foods such as french fries and fried chicken
- Processed meats like hot dogs and sausage links
- Foods with a lot of salt in them
- Fatty cuts of meat
- White bread products
If you want to be able to lose weight without having to count every calorie, try avoiding these foods altogether. You may find that this helps you get rid of the extra pounds faster!
How do I know which exercises work best for me?
The type of exercise you choose depends largely upon your fitness level. The most effective way to determine whether an activity is right for you is by starting out slowly and gradually increasing the intensity until you reach your maximum capacity. For example, walking briskly for 30 minutes three times per week would probably be enough to start with. As time goes on, increase the number of days each week you walk and add some other activities into your routine. When you feel ready, begin adding strength training into your workout regimen.
When working out, remember to focus on form first before pushing yourself harder. Make sure you’re doing everything correctly so that you don’t injure yourself. Also, listen to your body – if something hurts, stop immediately. Don’t push through pain because you think you have to finish the session.
What is a Calorie?
A calorie is simply one thousand milligrams of energy. One gram of carbohydrate contains four calories; protein has 4 grams of energy per gram; and fats contain 9 calories per gram. A typical adult needs about 2,000 calories daily just to maintain his/her current weight. To lose 1 pound of weight requires approximately 3,500 calories.
Calories come from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates provide us with our main source of fuel. They give us energy to move around and perform physical tasks. Proteins help build muscles and bones while providing essential nutrients needed for growth and repair. Fats supply vitamins D, E, K, and fatty acids necessary for good health.
Calorific Value of Different Nutrients
It is imprudent to believe that eating proteins, carbohydrates and fats in equal quantities will provide the same amount of calories.
The body needs a certain number of calories every day for its survival. The more you eat, the higher are your chances of gaining weight. If you consume less than what your body requires, it will start burning stored energy reserves until it reaches equilibrium with the food intake. This process takes place over several days or weeks depending on how much you have eaten during this period. In order to keep up with the demands placed on the body, we need to take in at least two thirds of all the calories consumed. However, not everyone can afford to eat as many calories as they require. Therefore, it becomes important to understand the relationship between caloric value and nutritional content.
Carbohydrates provide energy for our bodies. They consist of simple sugars, starches, fiber, and other complex carbohydrates like those found in whole grain cereals, legumes, potatoes, rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley, rye, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, bulgur, couscous, tapioca starch, and mixtures thereof. Carbohydrate sources vary from person to person depending on their individual needs.
Protein provides building blocks for muscle tissue and hormones. It also plays a role in maintaining bone density and blood clotting factors. Protein-rich foods include milk, eggs, cheese , meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, seeds, soy products, tofu, lentils, peas, grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products such as yogurt.
Fats are a type of lipids that consist of fatty acids bound to glycerol molecules. They can be found as triglycerides or phosphatidylcholine. Triglyceride consists of three fatty acid chains attached to one molecule of glycerol. Phosphatidylcholine contains only one chain of fatty acid linked to one molecule of choline. Both these forms of fats are present in animal tissues while vegetable fats contain mostly unsaturated fatty acids.
Fatty acids play an integral part in cell membranes and hormone production. Fat helps absorb vitamin B12 and iron. Some types of dietary fats may raise cholesterol levels but others lower them. Dietary fats should be used sparingly since too much consumption increases risk of heart disease. Foods high in saturated fats increase LDL cholesterol levels which contribute to atherosclerosis. Monounsaturated fats found mainly in olive oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, and some tropical oils decrease LDL cholesterol levels. Polyunsaturated fats reduce both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Types of fats
These are solid at room temperature. Examples are lard, tallow, suet, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, beef drippings, etc.
These have liquid form at room temperature. Examples include safflower oil, flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil, avocado oil, almond oil, hazelnut oil, sesame oil, walnuts, pecan nut oil, pistachio oil, pine nut oil, pumpkin seed oil, sunflower oil, etc.
These are liquid at room temperature. The most common example is omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid is less commonly consumed than omega-3.
Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent cardiovascular diseases by lowering serum low-density lipoprotein, very low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides; they improve insulin sensitivity and regulate inflammation.
What is the difference between good fat and bad fat?
Good fat helps in avoiding the risk of heart disease and keeps the cholesterol level under control.
It also aids in digestion, absorption of nutrients from food and prevents constipation. Good fats help maintain healthy skin and hair by keeping moisture balance inside the cells. The best source of omega 3 fatty acids is flaxseed oil. Flaxseeds are rich in alpha linolenic acid which converts into eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These essential fatty acids improve brain function and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Bad fat has no health benefits. It contributes towards obesity, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, allergies, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, gallstones, kidney stones, liver problems, ulcers, strokes, hypertension, migraine headaches, insomnia, and many more serious conditions.
The most common form of bad fat is trans fat. Trans fat occurs when hydrogen atoms replace double bonds in polyunsaturated fats. This process makes it solid at room temperature.
Benefits of eating healthy fats:
1) Healthy Fats keep our body hydrated.
2) Good fats aid in digestion.
3) Good fats boost immunity.
4) Good fats protect against cancer.
5) Good fats promote brain development.
6) Good fats enhance skin health.
7) Good fats make us feel full longer.
8) Good fats support thyroid function.
9) Good fats strengthen bones.
How do I know how many calories I am consuming?
There are various ways to measure calorie intake:
Counting calories is one way to monitor your diet. You simply count each item you put into your mouth. When you reach 2000 calories, add 500 calories to get 2500 calories. Continue adding 500 calories when reaching 3000 calories. At 4000 calories, stop counting.
Write down everything you eat and drink. Include snacks, drinks, meals, etc. Record the time you ate and drank. Keep track of portion sizes. For example, if you had 1 cup of cereal, ½ cup of fruit juice, 3 slices of bread, ¼ cup of pasta sauce, and 4 ounces of chicken breast, record these items separately so you don’t confuse them. Also note whether you were hungry or full after eating.
Use a notebook to write down everything you eat and/or drink. Note the times you ate and drank.
Make sure that you weigh yourself before starting any new diets. The scale must remain accurate throughout the entire program.
Body mass index
BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. A healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m². Overweight people usually fall within 25 to 29.9 kg/m^2 while obese people typically exceed 30 kg/m^2. BMI can be used as an indicator for determining risk factors associated with heart attacks and stroke.
Measure waist size using a tape measure around the narrowest part of your abdomen. Measure again over the widest point on your hips. Divide this number by two; multiply by seven inches. If your result is greater than 40 inches, then you have excess abdominal fat.
Check blood pressure regularly. It should not go above 140 mmHg systolic or 90 mmHg diastolic. High blood pressure increases the chances of having cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular accident, and renal insufficiency.
Your doctor will check cholesterol level during regular visits. Cholesterol is found mainly in animal products like meat, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products. People who consume more saturated fat tend to have higher total cholesterol levels. However, high-fat foods also contain essential nutrients which may help lower bad LDL cholesterol.
Triglyceride levels increase with age. They rise sharply after menopause. Women who gain excessive amounts of weight often develop elevated triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are stored in adipose tissue. Excessive consumption of carbohydrates leads to increased production of glucose from glycogen stores. Glucose enters cells where it’s converted to fatty acids and triglycerides. These fats accumulate in liver cells causing hepatomegaly and steatosis.
Different Calories Requirement
A calorie is the unit used to measure energy in food. It represents how much heat or work you can do when burning one gram of that particular type of food. The number of calories in foods varies depending on their composition: for example, carbohydrates contain 4 kcal per gm while proteins have 9kcal per gm. Fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrate. A typical diet has about 2000-2500 calories daily which should be divided into three meals each containing 500-600 calories. This means that most adults need between 1800-2000 calories daily.
Calories consumed through eating alone cannot provide all the necessary nutrition required by our bodies. Therefore we require additional vitamins and minerals from supplements and fortified foods. Calorie intake depends upon the quality of food eaten. For instance, refined sugar provides only four calories but its presence makes up half of the caloric content of processed foods.
How healthy food differs from unhealthy food
No matter how many calories your body requires, it still needs calories from a nutritious, healthy diet. Contrary to popular belief, eating a single slice of pizza would not make any difference as the pizza contains almost all the nutrients needed for good health, except fiber. Consuming fewer pizzas can lead to eating more fibre, which helps us stay fuller for longer.
The calories in pizza are not the same as those from a bowl full of vegetables. The calories in both are different. You can eat both a slice of pizza or a bowl full of fruits and they will each have the same calories. However, the bowl of fruit will have more of an impact on your body because the fruit will provide you with essential fibres, vitamins and minerals.
Contrary to popular belief, eating a single piece of pizza would not have any effect on the number of calories you consume compared with the portion of fruit.
Complex systems make up the human body. The way that our bodies receive calories can vary and so the energy process may be different.
Important is the fact that junk food is always unhealthy and has no nutritional value.
Calories received from nutrient-rich food are different than calories received from nutritionally poor food (like processed food or refined carbohydrates). Nutrient-dense foods will help keep hunger at bay, stabilize blood glucose levels, lower cravings, and signal to the brain that we are full.
Nutritionally poor foods will cause the exact opposite. It causes hormonal imbalances, increases insulin levels, induces cravings, and creates an unsatisfying feeling. This can encourage you to eat more.
Looking At Bigger Picture – Stop Counting Calories
We repeat all calories aren’t equal. Two spoonfuls of chocolate chips and 350 grams of broccoli have the same 100 calories. But one is much better for you than the other! The key here is to focus on nutrient density rather than calorie count.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate less than 200 calories a day were healthier than those who ate 300+ calories a day. Those who ate 400 calories or more had higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and premature death. If you want to lose weight, then cut back on calories by choosing low-calorie options like lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fresh produce, and nonfat dairy products.
If you’re trying to gain muscle mass, aim for around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. This means if you weigh 150 pounds, you should try to get about 15 grams of protein every time you train. You’ll also need carbs during training sessions, but don’t overdo them. Aim for between 0.5g – 2g per kilogram of bodyweight. For example: A 160lb person needs 80–160 gm of carbohydrate after exercise.
How many calories do I burn when exercising?
There’s no magic formula for how many calories you burn while working out. It depends on what type of activity you’re doing, how long it lasts, and whether you’re using equipment such as weights or resistance bands. To calculate this, use the following equation:
Energy expenditure Workout duration x Exercise intensity x Body Weight
For instance, let’s say you walk briskly for 30 minutes at 3mph. Your workout burns 500 kcal. That’s enough to meet 50% of your daily caloric requirements. So, if you weighed 180 lbs., you’d only need 90 cal/day to maintain your current weight.
However, if you added 10 lb. to your frame, you would require 110 cal/day to stay healthy.
What Is Caloric Intake And How Much Should We Eat In Daytime?
You might think eating too little makes losing weight easier because you won’t feel hungry. But there’s actually another reason why cutting down on calories could slow your progress toward achieving your goals. When you consume fewer calories, your metabolism slows down. As a result, you may not be burning as many calories even though you’re resting.
The best way to ensure you’re getting adequate nutrition without consuming excess calories is through proper planning. Make sure you include plenty of fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, and fluids into each meal and snack.
Calories Are Not Everything
When you start counting calories, you often end up obsessively watching everything you put into your mouth. While some foods are high in calories, others aren’t. Instead of focusing so much attention on food quantity, make an effort to eat quality instead. Focus on filling yourself with nutritious meals full of good fats, complex carbohydrates, and lots of veggies.
When you eat well, you will naturally have better energy levels throughout the day. Plus, you can avoid feeling sluggish and tired all day long!
Balance between Nutritious Foods and Junk Foods
All of us want to be able to enjoy delicious food. Salads are not something that can be eaten every day. When you can find the right balance between healthy food and occasional treats, magic happens.
The key is in knowing how many calories you need each day. Calorie counting has been around for a long time but it’s only recently become more popular than ever before. There are several different ways to count calories including using an online calorie counter or by tracking what foods you eat on paper.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to illness. Calcium deficiency can lead to bone damage, and there are many more. Instead of focusing on calories, try to see the larger picture and eat a balanced diet.
A well-balanced diet will include whole grains, legumes and fruits, vegetables, non-veg foods, seeds. This will assist you in weight control as well as allowing your body to function properly.
Instead of focusing on calories, focus on the nutritional value. Healthy and nutritious foods are key to a healthier and happier body. Weight loss should be a priority.
Be active, eat well, and live a healthy life.
Alex is a fitness aficionado, empowers others towards healthier, active lives through small, sustainable changes for lasting results. Visit Gearuptofit.com for insightful tips and resources to enrich a balanced lifestyle.