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Don’t count on it

Calorie counting is probably not going to help you lose weight.

Have you tried to lose weight by counting calories? This method doesn’t work for a lot of people – either because they are too hungry and can’t sustain the diet, or because they simply don’t lose weight.

New research has discovered that a lot of the calorie figures on nutrition labels are actually wrong; making it impossible to count calories accurately. Studies have shown that the more processed a food is, the easier it is for our body to extract calories from it, and therefore the easier it is to gain weight from eating it. That means packaged and refined food is generally higher in calories that raw or home prepared food.

Foods that are high in protein or fiber usually have around 25 percent fewer calories than a label states. That’s because it is harder work for your body to digest these foods and extract calories from them. Even cooked food is generally higher in calories than raw food. Eating a large salad of raw vegetables every day is something I’ve been recommending my patients do for as long as I’ve been in practise, and I’ve always found it to be helpful for weight loss. Nuts are considered a high calorie food because they’re high in fat, but because of their high fiber content, your body can’t extract as many calories from them as the nutrition panel on the label states.

The moral of the story is if you want to lose weight, you are best off forgetting about counting calories. Foods high in fiber (such as vegetables), protein and natural fats are nutrient dense and very satiating. If you base your diet on these foods, it’s easier to achieve a healthy weight.

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THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR CURE ANY DISEASES.