I often hear of people who spend so much time counting calories and invest so much of their time figuring out how many calories they have to burn off in order for them to not gain weight that they become totally obsessed. But is it all necessary?
Whilst I think it is a good idea to be aware of what you’re eating and how much you’re consuming, calories aren’t necessarily reliable or a good indicator of how healthy the food you’re eating is.
Sugar contains 4 calories per gram while fat contains 9 calories per gram. The problem is fat fills you up and sugar doesn’t. When you eat sugar you don’t feel full which makes you feel like eating more. This is because when you eat fructose your body doesn’t release the hormone, leptin, that tells your body you’re full, in the end adding up to more calories than if you were to eat fat, which makes you feel satiated and, given you’ve eaten the right fats is far more nutrient.
As for zero or low-calorie beverages and sweet treats, generally they aren’t very nutrient dense. They’re full of artifical sweeteners which can be just as bad as sugar. If you’re trying to quit sugar and decide to go with the zero or low-calorie options, you still find it hard to beat the sweet craving and satisfy your taste buds.
If you eat a well-balanced diet, 3 meals a day with limited to no snacking in-between, then I see no need to count calories. And let’s face it, counting calories sucks and is stressful, so lay off counting calories and just choose healthy whole food.