Resist that Muffin – Why Calorie Counting Just Isn’t Enough

Think all calories are created equal?  Is it always better to choose a lower calorie food over something that is higher in calories?  No.  There’s more to weight loss that just cutting and counting your calories.  There’s more to calories than meets the eyes, and they’re ending up on your belly.  The problem is that too many people make the mistake of not caring where their calories are coming from.
High Sugar Content

For example, say someone chooses to eat a 150 calorie blueberry muffin for breakfast vs. one of my 300 calorie peanut butter and banana protein smoothies. The muffin might seem like the better choice because it has less calories.  Not the case. A muffin like this can contain 25 grams of sugar. Sugar is very easily converted to body fat and sets the stage for your body to store even more fat. My protein smoothie contains much less sugar, and in addition has muscle building protein, good energizing carbohydrates and a touch of heart healthy fat.  Although higher in calories, it’s a much wiser choice.  Even though it has more calories, it’s how your body uses those calories that matters. The determining factor is how the food is going to effect your body.  If it’s mostly sugar, what happens is that the sugar itself converts to body fat very easily and also sets the stage for your body to gain weight. 

Did you know that 2 people could eat the same amount of calories every day for a week, and one person could lose weight and the other could gain weight?  It’s all due to how your body handles the food, whether it stores it as fat or uses it for energy.  What you eat is more important than just the calorie content. A lack of protein, fiber and essential nutrients can lead to weight gain even though the overall calorie content may not be that high.

Calories Too Low

If someone is overly cautious and always just choosing foods based on calorie amount, what can happen is that their total calorie intake for the day can easily fall too low.  Not eating enough total calories can lead to a drop in metabolism and make it even harder to lose weight. It’s wise to avoid high calorie foods in general but don’t always avoid choosing a food that may offer a few more calories.  As long as those calories are coming from protein and or some good essential fat, it can actually help your weight loss efforts.

Lack of Nutrients

Let’s go back to that blueberry muffin and protein smoothie. The fact that it’s blueberry might trick you into thinking it’s a healthy option. Not very nutritious at all actually. It’s already hard enough to get enough nutrients in your diet, so when you’re trying to lose weight and eating less food overall it makes it even harder. It’s very important to make sure you make your food choices more about getting healthy nutrients vs. just worrying about calories alone.

Lack of Balance

Not the standing on one foot with your eyes closed kind of balance, but a balance of nutrients. People often neglect to include protein in their meals, and fear any form of fat. It’s crucial to make sure that every meal has the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber. When you’re meals are balanced, it allows your body to burn fat for energy and is less likely to store food as fat. Eating too many carbohydrates, foods high in sugar or that are highly processed can lead to insulin surges in your body. These insulin surges lead to sweet cravings, weight gain and a lack of energy. Protein, fiber, and essential fats eaten with your meals will not only help to avoid the insulin surges, but will help you feel fuller longer, will speed up your metabolism and allow your body to burn fat instead of creating it.

It’s necessary to reduce your caloric intake in your weight loss efforts BUT what’s most important for optimal weight loss success is making the best food choices. 

Better choices equals better results – a slimmer waistline and a healthier you!