In Stacy Kennedy’s Reboot post she discusses ‘All calories are not created equal’. Stacy covers why calories are not important rather the foods we choose to eat are more important than the calorie or energy content.
While we are doing our best to bring your more nutritional information to our recipes, we want to assure you that you do not need to count calories while completing a Reboot and we want to redirect your attention onto the wonderful nutrients that are present in a rainbow colored plant-based diet.
Calorie measurements were first discovered by scientist Wilbur Atwater, who noticed that if you put food in a bomb calorimeter and burn it, you could measure the ash and heat to find out how much energy was released and how much energy was in the food.
Many experts and information blogs are now urging people NOT to count calories. Even the weight loss giant, Weight Watchers, has admitted that counting calories is unhelpful and may encourage people away from healthy eating. When counting calories, an apple may be equal to a biscuit! It is crucial to look at your over all diet rather than worrying about how many calories you are consuming.
Reasons to base your food choices on HEALTH rather than calorie content:
1). Calorie counting doesn’t include the quality of the food you are eating. It does not distinguish between an unprocessed natural food, and what composition and type of fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamin, minerals, anti-oxidants and phyto-compounds it contains.
2). Calorie counting can encourage the avoidance of naturally high calorie foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados which may be harmful to your health. These foods contain important fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins that support a healthy metabolism and a healthy weight.
3). Food produces hormonal changes in the body — some hormones signal to the body to store fat, some signal to release sugar and others to build muscle. Studies show that diets based on the same amount of calories, but different proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrates, result in different amounts of weight loss.
4). Some foods use more calories to digest than others, so this can also alter the effects of calorie counting to a moderate degree. Eating foods that are in their natural state and are unrefined will take more energy to breakdown and digest, therefore keeping your blood sugar levels more stable and will require a slight increase in energy demands.
5). A recent study indicated that almonds have less bio-available calories (20% less) than originally thought due to their complex natural structure. With this discovery it makes you wonder how many more natural foods could actually contain less bio-available calorie energy content! It is also said that high-fiber vegetables may have been estimated too high.
6). Cooking can increase the bioavailability of the stored energy. The longer sweet potatoes are cooked, the more easily the calories are digested. How ripe a fruit or vegetable is can also impact the available energy; a banana that is very ripe will provide more calories than a less ripe banana.
7). Frequent intense hunger can be an indication that you’re consuming the wrong types of food rather than the amount of calories you are eating. When you change your diet and consume the right types of foods such as healthy, unprocessed wholefoods you will experience more energy, improved concentration, reduced food cravings and you will feel more content and satisfied after your meal for several hours.
8). Nutrients and energy from natural wholefoods are more likely to be used for basic bodily functions as opposed to processed foods that will be used as an energy source only thus contributing to unwanted weight. That portion of fries that may have 300 calories will contribute to disease, poor metabolic function, inflammation, poor liver and digestive function, while a 300 calorie large fruit and vegetable juice will contribute to repair and healing of the liver cells, an energy boost, protect your brain cells replenish your immune system and a boost your metabolism.
9). Calorie equivalent processed foods will contribute to fat storing, poor hormonal health and liver function, this will negatively impact your metabolic function and how well you store and burn energy. These foods digest and deliver energy too quickly which does not provide sustained energy and will contribute to fatigue, which will increase the desire to eat and drink more high-energy foods and beverages.
10). Calorie demands change during periods of stress, anxiety, physical activity, hormones and normal growth and repair.
The Reboot plan is about resetting your cravings, gauging your true satisfaction and allowing your body to be filled and satisfied with plant micronutrients. An improved healthy eating program will reset these natural gauges leaving you feeling content and comfortable.
By sticking to our basic general guidelines and portion suggestions you will lose the weight, regain your health while not counting any calories (phew)!
Let’s take a look at the concept of a calorie deficit, for instance. We’ve all been told that to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn.
However, this is not entirely true. If someone that is completely inactive reduces their calorie intake in order to create a calorie deficit, their nutritional needs cannot be met. This could lead to nutritional deficiencies and muscle loss, leading to new health problems. That said, it is important to keep an eye on your calorie intake, and maintain it as per your physical activity levels in order to lose weight.
Research has shown that a nutrient balanced diet always trumps one based on calorie count. Studies have shown that diets solely based on calorie count can actually lead to malnutrition. This is why it’s important you know about the essential nutrients your body needs.
To lose weight and stay healthy, you need to focus on getting enough carbs, protein and fat instead of just counting calories (like a 100-calorie pack). You’ll be more energetic and stay full for longer, which in turn will help you burn fat. Remember, the ultimate intention is to lose fat without compromising on your health.
So rather than focusing on just calories, take a look at your food choices too. Here are some nutrition tips you should follow:
- Eating breakfast is important, but don’t grab a cereal bar. Instead, opt for lean protein like eggs or any other dairy product, whole-grains in the form of toast, oats, a healthy cereal and a serving of fruits or vegetables. There’s also a whole host of Indian breakfast options that are considered best for health.
- Your lunch and dinner should also be composed of nutritious whole foods, based on the three macronutrients — protein, carbohydrate and fat. Just under one quarter of your plate should be made up of fruits, a little over a quarter vegetables and the other half split between grains and protein, with a serving of dairy, too. Start your meal with a salad. Aim for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, stick to lean meats like chicken and fish or low-fat dairy. Whole-wheat tava rotis or brown rice are other good choices. Include beans and root vegetables in your diet, too.
- If you prefer to eat more frequently, cut your meal sizes slightly and add in a couple of healthy snacks such as fruit or unsalted nuts. There are several healthy snack recipes you can choose from too.
- Include plenty of high nutrient low calorie foods including fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are filled with nutrients, water and fiber, taking up a lot of space in the stomach without the same amount of calories. There are plenty of nutrient rich low calorie foods. Some of the best choices are:
- 1 cup of broccoli (31 calories)
- 1 cup of carrots (50 calories)
- 1 cup of celery (14 calories)
- 1 cup of cucumber (14 calories)
- 1 cup of cooked spinach (41 calories)
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (27 calories)
- 2-3 tbsp of Italian Dressing or Hummus to dip the veggies into! (80 calories or so)
If you are trying to lose weight, you want to maximize nutrients while reasonably minimizing calories so you can satisfy your body’s needs while still being in a moderate calorie deficit. Restricting your calorie intake too much by eating very less can spoil your health and adversely affect your health, and cause your metabolism rate to take a hit.
Ideally, you should ensure healthy eating in order to lose weight in a healthy manner.