Eliminate the need to obsess over the calorie content of food!

Hands up if you’re sick of hearing ‘calories in vs. calories out’ or “weight loss is easy just eat less and move more”? I know I am!

These are such black and white statements that just don’t align with the complex nature of our bodies, the environments we live in that dictate our food choices and activity levels and the bewildering array of chemical components that make up the food we eat.

Just focusing on the number of calories in foods can:

  1. Drive you crazy – calculating the exact number of calories in foods, especially when eating out, can be very time consuming and complicated (although admittedly dedicated nutrition Apps available these days do help with this).
  2. Leave you nutrient deficient – in a calorie-focussed diet eating 5 rump steaks or a loaf of bread a day may mean you’re below your calorie allowance but will undoubtedly leave you feeling rubbish and developing nasty side effects (I won’t go into what this would do to your bowels…)

We need a wide array of nutrients from our diet to maintain health and although supplements can go some way to protecting us they don’t provide us with potentially important phytochemicals (antioxidants found in fruit, vegetables and coffee for example) as well as what only real foods can: pleasure and satisfaction. Instead of obsessing over the calorie content of foods it might be wiser to look at the nutrient density of foods - this means how many different essential nutrients a food provides in relation to its weight.

Some great examples are fruits, vegetables, pulses (peas, beans and lentils) and wholegrains that pack a nutrient punch but also provide relatively few calories at the same time. The fibre these foods provide also help to keep us fuller for longer. High protein foods that also provide us with a range of different nutrients, with fewer calories, such as eggs, lean meat and lower-fat dairy products, can also be very effective as part of a weight loss diet.

Even nutrient dense foods that have a higher energy content such as nuts, avocados and oily fish can help to keep us satisfied and provide us with diversity of tastes as well as important nutrients. In comparison sugary drinks or sweets for example, are nutrient-poor (mostly carbohydrate and no vitamins or minerals) but also are fairly energy dense and for the number of calories you receive not filling at all.

So, although to lose weight we do have to eat less calories overall, by filling up on low energy, nutrient-dense foods and concentrating on quality of foods we can eliminate the need to obsess over calories, eat a wider range of foods and support our long-term health. Find out more about how Temple Clinic can help you with your weight loss and health goals.

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