With modern culture’s obsession with losing weight and keeping track of exactly how much we are eating, it can be very easy for misinformation about eating and dieting to spread and hold traction.
One of the most common causes of discourse is discussion surrounding Calories.
The main disagreements tend to surround whether Calories are bad, or if they are necessary and should not be villainized in the way which they tend to be.
If you are confused with all this discourse and discussion surrounding Calories and want some clarity, this is what this article is for!
In this article we aim to clear up any misinformation which has spread about Calories, what they are, and when they are needed.
If you are in need of getting the facts straight about Calories but do not know where to source an unbiased opinion on this, this is the article for you!
What Actually Are Calories?
The most important and simple way to clear up any confusion surrounding Calories is to actually understand what they are and get a clear definition!
The word Calories is a metric which is used to measure the amount of energy which is stored in the food you are eating.
The nutritional aspect of the energy which is stored in carbohydrates, protein, and fat are all measured in kcal or Cal.
So when you are hearing about how many calories a certain food has, this is referring to how much energy you will receive from consuming this food.
This is why villainizing Calories can be so dangerous as people can begin to purposefully avoid the food which gives them the energy they need to properly function.
If you are not eating calories, your body will not be able to function.
The Importance Of Calorie Quantity
Since Calories measure how much energy you get from your food, they are a useful tool and measurement system to help you if you are aiming to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle.
Keep in mind that you need Calories to live and to not get into the mindset of vilifying calories as they help keep you alive!
Losing weight is essentially an equation and the simplest way to do it is to balance your Calorie intake, with your Calorie usage.
The simplest way to lose weight is to burn more calories in your day-to-day activity than you eat throughout the day.
By doing thus you will have a calorie deficit and if you do this regularly, you should be able to lose weight (however some people do have conditions like thyroid problems which make this more difficult).
The best way to achieve a consistent Calorie deficit is to work out how many calories you burn in your daily life and how many you tend to eat, and adjust this to make them balanced to reach your weight goals.
There are plenty of counters and calculators which can help you work out how much you should be taking depending on your personal factors like; gender, height and weight, and any medical conditions.
There are plenty of these counters available so choose one which is well reviewed and suits your lifestyle or the lifestyle you want to live.
While becoming aware of your Calorie intake is important and can lead to a healthier lifestyle, you want to make sure to avoid the inverse as becoming obsessed with counting calories can lead to an unhealthy physical and mental state and give you and those around you an unhealthy relationship with eating and food.
Instead of counting calories every day, count your calories for a little while, then making a meal plan is a lot more efficient and leads to a better mindset.
What Are Good And Bad Calories?
You may have a lower calorie intake than usual and may even be eating at a calorie deficit, but the foods you are eating to achieve this deficit (or maybe the good calories you are not eating) could be impacting your ability to lose the weight you want to.
Do not get ‘good calorie’ foods confused as foods which are low calorie, ‘good calorie’ foods can be just as high-calorie and even as fatty as ‘bad calorie’ foods.
The difference is these foods will be more nutritious than the ‘bad calorie’ foods and will tend to satiate your appetite a lot more rather than make you feel just as hungry as you did previously.
These examples are not all encompassing, but some good examples of good calorie foods are lean proteins, healthy fats, as well as complex carbohydrates.
Some good examples of bad calorie foods are going to be foods which are not nutritional, this includes more processed foods which tend to have a higher sugar content (more processed than natural sugar), as well as foods which use refined flours and more artificial ingredients.
What Is The Problem With Bad Calories?
The foods which were exemplified as bad calories in the previous point can affect your body in ways which make the goals of weight loss harder to achieve.
The more processed and refined foods can have a negative impact on your metabolism as well as affecting your mood and hunger to often encourage more eating rather than being satiated.
It may seem easier to eat bad calorie foods, but if you eat good calorie foods you will have a more fulfilled life mentally and physically as well as making it easier to make better and more satisfying dietary choices.
Hopefully this guide has given you the information you need to have a more informed perspective and mindset when it comes to discussions that surround calories and any related topics.
Make sure to always look at calories from a healthy perspective and to not let an obsession with weight loss give you an unhealthy relationship with food.
But by just being more aware of calories and how to treat them, living a healthier lifestyle immediately becomes easier.