The Importance of Calorie Counting

Understanding calories in food

The calories in the foods we eat provide energy in the form of heat so our bodies can function. They are divided into fats, alcohol, carbohydrates and proteins. Many people used to think that eating foods that contain more calories would lead to weight gain, but of course this is not true. The calories referred to in diet and exercise are kilocalories. The amount of energy in a food or drink is measured in calories. If you eat and drink more calories than usual, your body stores the excess as body fat and you gain weight.

Weight loss and calories

To lose a pound of fat in a week, the general guideline is to reduce your calorie intake by about 500 calories per day, through metabolism and exercise. However, in addition to reducing caloric intake, there are other ways that can affect weight loss. The number of calories you consume per day includes the calories of basal metabolism to keep the body running, as well as the additional calories burned through physical activity. To maintain body temperature, circulate blood, digest food, breathe, eliminate waste, build and repair tissue, and keep the brain and nervous system active, your body must burn calories.

Range of daily calorie consumption:

  • 2,500 kcal for men 
  • 2,000 kcal for women

*These values may vary depending on age, height, physical activity, and other factors.

Why is it important to count calories?

Knowing the calorie content of foods and beverages can help you make sure you do not overindulge. For store-bought foods, the calorie content is listed on the package as part of the nutrition label. Tracking your calorie intake can help you lose weight by making you aware of what you are consuming exactly each day. This will also help you recognize your eating patterns, and consequently help you stay on track to achieve your body goals.

Advantages of calorie counting:

  1. Increase your chances of success. According to the National Weight Control Registry, 74% of people are successful at losing weight when they track their daily food intake. When you set a daily calorie goal, you know exactly how many calories you can consume for the rest of the day.
  2. You eat smaller portions. Calorie counting is about eating the right amount and kind of food. It's impossible to eat healthy all the time, but control is possible.
  3. More sustainable. Most diets eliminate carbohydrates or sugar or an entire food group from your life. If you count your calories, you can eat everything in moderation.

Good nutrition is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Instead of going on a strict diet and not enjoying your weight loss journey, try going straight to the source of your progress - calories!