Counting calories

Should You Stop Counting Calories?

January 5, 2016

When it comes to dieting many people start to restrict calories and adhere to a strict calorie counting strategy for weight loss. Counting calories has been a popular part of many diets for years, and while some people have found this method to be helpful others have not. New studies are being done arguing that people should ditch calorie counting and chose to just eat nutritious foods in order to combat obesity while fighting disease as well. 

The research that is being doing on this proves the point that people can change things radically by just changing their diet. Choosing to eat a nutritious diet can help prevent cardiovascular disease, and heart disease. To prove that nutritious foods can have a positive impact on health, a study on 2,000 heart attack survivors was conducted. They were instructed to eat fish, and the studies found that those who did eat fish were less likely to die than those who did not eat fish and they saw health improvements within the first few months of the diet changes. (livescience.com) So how does this relate to forgetting calorie counting and just consuming nutritious foods? Eating nutritious foods has an impact on your overall health while counting calories is simply a reduction in calories, it does not state what one should and should not eat. 

When counting calories one may not be concerned about exactly what they are eating so long as they are not going over their calorie limit per day. This can pose a problem when extremely unhealthy foods are being consumed such as trans-fats. These fats are often times found in fast foods and processed foods and can cause damage to the body and effect a person’s inflammatory markers in their blood just within weeks of consuming it. (livescience.com) The intake of trans-fats is also responsible for obesity and overall weight gain despite how much is really being eaten. Trans-fats and sugars are also responsible for triggering a hormone in the brain that makes you want to eat more which will result in eating more food and an increase in calories. The point being that even if you are restricting calories and eating these damaging foods you may end of overeating anyway because of the hormones that are released from eating these foods. 

On top of health reasons, not all calories are created equal either. The study on not counting calories and focusing on nourishing foods instead, points out that 1 can of soda has 150 calories and can increase your chances of developing Type II Diabetes, while consuming 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil has 500 calories but is actually associated with a decreased risk of developing heart disease. (livescience.com) The study suggests shifting the focus away from strict calorie counting, and focus on a meal plan that is going to be full of nourishing foods that can help to both decrease your risk of obesity as well as other health conditions.