Should we count our food calories?

Well this is a topic that causes a bit of conjecture but let’s say if you are counting calories then perhaps stop and think about what you are eating is it healthy or not. The word calorie dates back to the early 1800’s as a measurement of energy and whilst from what I can determine that is relevant, what isn’t is that just because a food measures as a number in calories doesn’t  necessarily mean that it will serve you well.

Before I go on quick note:  In Australia, we use kilojoules (kcal) as a measure of energy.  Energy used to be measured in calories and sometimes still is.  One calorie is equal to 4.2 kilojoules.

There is no doubt that the tables are turning and that a calorie or kcal measurement of one food (say an apple) or, a combination of ingredients (say a donut) can not be considered equal in terms of how much of it we can consume. It’s complicated to explain all this in one little article however research from Harvard (2021) says that, when it comes to keeping your weight down, researchers suggest that the quality of your food matters more than its calorie count. And every book or article I read is pointing to this more and more and more!

So when and how long will this take to filter down to our food manufacturers. The other day my daughter bought some popcorn and it blazingly said on the front ‘Only 99 Calories’ and whilst it is not quite a chocolate bar its ingredients where not on my accepted list, particularly sunflower oil which is know to cause inflammation.

Going back to the calorie again. Imagine eating your daily recommended intake of calories made up of donuts (which will cause glucose/insulin spikes and take a run up Mt Everest to burn off the ‘energy’ it produces!). Or consuming your daily intake by eating lots of vegetables, fruit, good protein and good fats. I know what you are all thinking, well that is just common sense to eat the healthy way. But as a nation we are in the majority not and unhealthy weight gain is still very much on the rise.

To put it as simple as I can, if you want to put on weight eat junk food, eat the food that the Australian Dietary Guidelines call discretionary foods ie chips, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks which states you should only have in small quantities and only sometimes (whatever that means – is sometimes once a day or once a week? – Thinking the latter).

If you want to lose weight then eat healthy, as little unprocessed foods as possible – eat as close to the natural source. And if you want to know more about this come join us on the 10 Day Healthy Food Challenge where you will learn so much more on how to eat healthy – and more than likely lose weight!

Also here is a little more from an article from Changing Habits in regards to calorie counting if you want to know more.

And a last note is that there is some value and science in knowing what we should roughly consume a day in kcal’s if you are trying to lose a large amount of weight, or have an illness or disease, or perhaps another reason, and this is where you should consult with your allied health professional first and foremost.