Making Calories Work for You

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Tracking your calorie consumption can make or break your efforts to lose weight. But not all calories are created equal. When you choose the right one, you can eat less without dealing with hunger pangs. If you eat the wrong kind, you end up consuming more than you should. Worse, it could leave you craving for more calories.

The fact is, you can make calories work in your favor. In today’s post, we uncover lesser known facts about how calories work. We’re also giving you tips to maximize your caloric consumption without gaining weight:

Cutting Back on Calories

Can you lose weight by consuming fewer calories? The short answer is yes, you will lose weight when you cut back on calories. But the effect is only temporary. That’s why that fad diet you loved used to work like a charm then, but is ineffective now.

According to UCLA scientists, weight loss is a rather complex process. And it’s difficult to keep the weight down successfully. In fact, 41% of dieters who lost weight within a year will gain it all back after dieting.

You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound. If you don’t burn this much calories consistently, you’ll gain back the weight you lost from dieting.

Why Most Diet Programs Fail

According to a review of studies by the National Institutes of Health, adopting a low-calorie diet helps dieters lose 8% of their total body weight in just a year. But if this is true, how come most diet programs fail?

There are many reasons why some diet programs do not yield the desired results. For one thing, most of these programs are so restrictive, it’s hard to stick to them. Another reason is your own metabolic rate. When you lose weight, the metabolic rate slows down. To maintain your weight, you have to eat less. This is the body’s way of ensuring you don’t die of starvation.

The Boomerang Effect of Cutting Too Many Calories

Some people tend to overdo it, they cut too many calories thinking that this will speed up weight loss. It does the total opposite. When you cut back too much calories, it leads to intense food cravings. Sure, cravings come and go, but at some point, you will cave in. And if you don’t combine exercise with diet, you won’t get lasting results from a diet program.

Quality Matters

Calories from refined carbohydrates and fat are more fattening than calories from whole foods and whole grains. That is a fact.

Some foods require more energy to process. These foods are made with protein or complex carbohydrates. Chewing, digesting and metabolizing these foods require more energy. Why? The body is more adept at processing fat. You expend less energy metabolizing high calorie foods. And these unwanted calories end up in your thighs.

Glucose and Hunger Pangs

High calorie foods dramatically increase the blood sugar level in the body. When the glucose level goes down suddenly, you experience intense hunger. As such, you end up consuming more calories as the day progresses. Meanwhile, high-fiber, high-protein foods do not cause a spike in blood sugar level. As such, they do not lead to hunger pangs. Even better, high-fiber, high-protein foods take a while to digest so you feel fuller for longer too. And that’s what makes them friendlier to the waistline.

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