Stop counting calories — start counting nutritional value!

Women's Best Health Team

Reading time: 4min

If your head is spinning from the countless diets and trends that all claim to hold the only successful key to weight loss – you’re not alone. Information about nutrition is more easily accessible than ever before but it also incredibly generalized. Everybody is different, so what works for your best friend, may not work for you. It’s difficult to keep track of all the things we need to pay attention to for successful nutrition. That’s why, we provide a wide range of snacks, bars and protein foods filled with excellent nutritional value for you! Whether losing weight, body shaping or building muscle, we can help you achieve your goals in a healthy way. 

Counting calories but not losing weight?

Counting calories or following a calorie-counting diet may not be helping you lose weight for several reasons. We have collected for you the most common reasons why you should stop counting calories and start counting the nutritional value of the food. 

1 – Every Metabolism is Different

You know that one girl who eats junk food and sweets all day long and doesn’t seem to gain a pound? Yes, that’s not fair. Everybody burns calories at different rates which in turn raises the body’s basal metabolic rate. So, if you have more muscles and higher muscle density, your body burns more calories without you putting in any extra effort. Metabolism is basically just a process where your body breaks down food and converts that food into energy – so it’s not surprising that everybody burns energy in different ways.

Generally, if you don’t eat enough or you’re just crazy focused on a calorie-counting diet to lose weight all the time, your cortisol levels go up and you trigger your body to keep storing fat. If you’re in bad luck with genetics and you don’t move or sleep enough, your metabolism slows down a bunch and your resting metabolic rate drops. That also means, that everybody needs a different amount of calories every day to speed up their metabolism, which makes counting calories an exact science too difficult to keep up with. To give you an idea of how many categories you would need when taking into consideration your lifestyle, age, weight, etc., check out our calorie calculator.

 2 – A  calorie is not a calorie

A calorie is a calorie. Right? Technically speaking yes. All calories do have the same amount of energy – one dietary calorie contains 4184 joules of energy. But of course, it is not that simple, which is why a calorie tracker might not be helpful. Imagine you’ve got a gooey chocolate bar and a heart-healthy veggie salad that both have the same number of calories. Here’s what happens to your body when you eat those two meals:

The Chocolate bar:

Most sweet treats are just plain old sugar-traps. All that excess glucose floods your body and gives you a quick high and an even quicker crash. The insulin blocks the production of leptin and ghrelin, which are hormones responsible for digestion and – very crucial – to tell you to stop eating when you’re full. If these hormones are continuously stopped from being produced, your body develops resistance towards them and you’ll feel a lot hungrier all the time.

The Salad:

If you’re not drowning your salad in unhealthy dressings and croutons, it’s probably one of the healthiest meals you can have. Why? Your standard veggie salad is filled with fiber, antioxidants and helps you feel fuller, eat less and lose weight. Particularly good for lowering risks of many diseases, including cancer, are foods like beans and peas, tomatoes, carrots, apples, and any type of berry. If the salad is big in volume and doesn’t have a bunch of fatty add-ons, you’ll ultimately reduce your overall calorie intake and just have a happy, full belly throughout the day.

3 – We forget to eat healthy

Focusing too much on counting calories to lose weight may mean that we’re skimping out on healthy foods. For example, take our beloved Avocado – it’s got a whopping 22 grams of fat and 240 calories per 150 grams. It seems like a lot. At the same time though, it’s incredibly nutritious. They’re filled with potassium, they include 20 different vitamins and minerals and all that fat? Heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which is the good kind of fat that has a bunch of beneficial effects like reducing inflammations.

Plus, calorie labels may lie – labeling laws actually allow a 20% margin of error on the nutritional facts panel, so we might end up eating a lot more calories than we thought we would, which we very well could have “spent on” healthier food instead.

4 – Added Stress

Honestly, do you really have time or patience to count every single calorie that goes into your mouth? What happens when you’re out and you’re just guessing how many calories your meals have. If you use all your time and energy to keep track of calories your food has, you’re just adding stress to your daily routine – and we already covered what stress does to your body. Plus, we stop listening to our bodies to really tell us when we’re full and just focus on numbers instead.

5 – You lack energy

Eating a calorie-counting diet without focusing on the quality of your food will leave you feeling tired and restless. Restricting yourself to a certain number, also implies that there will be a bunch of restrictions. Restrictions lead to thinking about food all the time which triggers cravings and makes it much more likely for you to binge and indulge in unhealthy treats. If you develop a sense of what food is right for you – and not focus on the number of calories you think you should be eating – you’ll find it much easier to lose weight and keep it off! Thus, stop counting calories and focus on the nutritional value of food.


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