Calories are not Just Calories: What’s the Point of Counting?

There are calories that make you less fat than others. This knowledge is crucial when counting calories. Because the nutrients are used differently by the body.

Most people trust the calorie label on food packaging. It serves as a guide when someone wants to maintain or lose weight. The well-known rule of thumb is: If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. But it often doesn’t work that easily.

Calories from fat, carbohydrates, and protein vary

Because of what kind of calories those are and what the body does with them, you don’t find out from the nutritional value tables. Calories are processed differently by the body. In general, the calorie sources can be divided into three groups:

  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • protein

Carbohydrates and fat are common causes of obesity

Depending on what they are made of, they are digested differently. Our bodies can easily digest most carbohydrates and fats. A lot of energy at once is good when we are doing sports. If not, however, the calories will land on your hips immediately. The result can be obesity.

Difficult-to-digest protein helps with weight loss

It is different from protein and complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain products. Here the body needs time and strength to digest them, which is ideal when losing weight. This means: We record less – and then even more slowly. This makes you less fat, but fuller – ideal for losing weight. And there are also calories that our body does not digest at all.

One problem: calorie tables on food packaging do not provide any information on how much of the energy is actually being used by the body.

Nuts: Look misleading on the calorie chart

Calorie charts are basically a rough guide to how much energy you put into your body. However, 100 calories from fructose are not comparable to 100 calories from healthy fats. Because fructose triggers completely different metabolic processes in the body. It raises insulin levels, which increases appetite. At the same time, the body’s energy consumption is reduced over the long term.

Nuts contain a lot of fat and have long been considered calorie bombs, as they contain more calories than chocolate. We now know that they are healthy, fill you up for a long time, but are not fat, because unprocessed nuts are not fully broken down. That’s why it’s misleading to look at the calories of nuts.

Every one uses calories differently

It’s not just about the food, it’s also about us and our bodies. Everyone deals with calories differently. There are many reasons for that:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Size
  • Individual intestinal flora
  • Diseases
  • Time of day

Less hunger through sport and exercise

There is one crucial factor that makes counting calories difficult: hunger. Researchers from Kiel have discovered that people who don’t move much still have a big appetite and therefore eat too much. On the other hand, exercise helps: people who do sports need more energy, but their appetite does not increase to the same extent. This means that although people who do sports consume a lot, they are not that hungry. This then leads to them losing or maintaining their weight. Because you can rely on your gut feeling and don’t have to count calories. A brisk walk for an hour a day can be enough. The harder you work, the shorter the time can be for it. This is how we escape the hunger trap.

Vegetables and whole-grain products keep you full for a long time

Instead of calories, it is important to pay attention to nutrients and fillers. As a rule of thumb, foods that fill you up for a long time are usually unprocessed. Vegetables and whole grains have many nutrients with much less energy than processed foods. The more this is processed, the higher the calorie density. A few bites are often enough and the calorie goal for the day is reached. This leads to frustration in the long run. Fresh food and cooking yourself are therefore recommended. Instead of counting calories, it is better to pay attention to nutrients: enough vegetables and protein. It fills you up and you can maintain or even lose weight without sacrificing enjoyment.

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