I met the girls in a ‘fitness restaurant’ (Green Lion) at the weekend and we got on to the subject of calorie counting. I feel quite strongly about using calories alone to monitor your diet and I want to explain why.
It’s all too easy to look at the number of calories food or drink has and choose the one with the least. But by taking this approach you end up dismissing the nutritional value.
Let’s take the following example:
- a 100 gram doughnut with jam and cream and
- 100 grams of Bulgar wheat.
The doughnut has less calories (320 vs. 364) but if you look more closely you’ll find the Bulgar wheat has a higher protein count and is significantly lower in fat (1.5g compared to 15.7g). Not to mention the high sugar content in the doughnut. If you went for the lower calorie food, you’d be getting ’empty’ calories.
Calories are not the only metric when it comes to diet, and diet is not all about counting calories.
Diet, i.e. what we eat, is about giving your body everything it needs to function properly. If you do this, you’ll automatically reach a healthy weight: Not the weight you THINK you should be, but the weight your body NEEDS to be!
This might make decisions on what to eat more difficult. Now you have to consider the amount of protein, whether the fat is good or bad, whether there’s too much salt or sugar content etc. It’s a lot to think about and, as the name of this blog suggests, we shouldn’t have to think this much about eating!!
So, what should we do? Well, I think we all know deep down what’s good and what’s bad. We know processed foods and ready meals are mostly empty calories, we know that pastries and sweets are high in refined sugar. The difficulty is avoiding the mass advertising and placement of such foods in our society and changing our attitude towards food.
I’ll talk more about this in the next blog, but for now I’ll leave you with this: If you want to ensure your body gets the nutrition it needs to be healthy then concentrate on natural, homemade, non-processed foods.