Calories provide an indication of how much fat and sugar we eat each day. However, if you want to calculate your calorie needs to lose weight, you don’t just need time. Not exceeding a certain nutrient limit also requires discipline. And the question remains: Is it worth the effort? Additionally, strict calorie counting also has its dangers. Read on to find out if this method is right for you.
In the video: This is how the daily calorie requirement is calculated
Counting calories: what it promises and what it really delivers
Many diets tout the benefits of counting calories. If we consume less per day than we use, we will automatically lose weight. For this reason, the German Nutrition Society has general calorie limits for every age, gender and every professional group. That’s the theory, but what does it look like in practice?
One thing is for sure: if you count calories, you get a sense of which foods have how many nutrients. One look at the packet of crisps becomes a real eye-opener, in a negative sense of course. Because 100 grams of the popular snack contain more than 500 calories. Knowing how many calories you consume each day can help you be more conscious of maintaining a slight calorie deficit. This means you eat less than your body burns through exercise, concentration, and sleep; This is the only way to lose weight.
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The problem with counting calories to lose weight: Calorie intake guidelines don’t take into account how much energy the body actually uses; After all, every person is different.
The problem of counting calories
Short-term success is usually not a problem. Some people can lose five kilos in a week. However, in the long term, success is practically absent. This finding is not new, however, as the Atkins diet trend replaced stubborn calorie counting in the 1960s. The basic idea: not in the mere number of calories, but in the Macronutrients It depends, that is, on the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The diet named after Robert Atkins is based on a low-carbohydrate approach. In the early stages of this diet, carbohydrate intake is severely restricted, while fats serve as the main source of energy and proteins as a source of amino acids.
In 2005, British scientists Stephen Simpson and David Raubenheimer first developed the Protein leverage hypothesis. According to their conclusions, it will be Feeling full determined solely by the amount of protein consumed in our foods. This is how we eat until our body reaches the necessary protein dose.
The problem is that we rarely eat protein alone; most of the time we combine it with fats and carbohydrates. If our food… low protein content We eat more in general. Many researchers believe that our current eating habits may lead to an increase in obesity. This is because many processed and industrially produced foods are low in protein but high in fat and carbohydrates. That’s why we consume more energy to meet our protein needs. At least, that is the theory.
Since its formulation, the hypothesis has been widely studied and confirmed in both animals and humans. However, it is not without controversy. Some scientists maintain that Fats They are responsible for the feeling of satiety.
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However, pure calorie counting does not take this phenomenon into account. Because if you only eat foods with few nutrients, you will feel hungry again more quickly and deprive your body of important proteins. Rather, they are healthy fillings asked. Example: raw nuts. They contain a lot of protein, but also a lot of calories. However, they are considered healthy because they keep you full for a long time and ensure low insulin levels.
Each person has a different metabolism, constitution and bacterial flora. Therefore, low calories are not automatically the best diet for everyone. Therefore, it is only recommended to count calories Awareness of the energy content of each food. achieve, but not basically lose weight.
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Calculate calorie needs – this is how it works
There are various formulas and methods to calculate calorie needs. However, keep in mind that no method is completely accurate as several factors come into play. Below are some common approaches:
1. Harris-Benedict formula: This formula takes into account gender, weight, height, age, and activity level. First decide yours Basal metabolic rate o BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the amount of calories your body needs to maintain basic functions such as breathing, heart rate, and resting metabolism.
For men: BMR = 88,362 + (13,397 x weight in kg) + (4,799 x height in cm) – (5,677 x age in years)
For women: BMR = 447,593 + (9,247 x weight in kg) + (3,098 x height in cm) – (4,330 x age in years)
After you have calculated your basal metabolic rate, multiply it by one. activity factor. The result gives you a rough estimate of your daily calorie needs:
- Sedentary (little or no activity): basal metabolic rate x 1.2
- Lightly active (light activity/sport 1-3 days/week): basal metabolic rate x 1375
- Moderately active (moderate activity/sport 3-5 days/week): basal metabolic rate x 1.55
- Very active (intensive activity/sport 6-7 days/week): basal metabolic rate x 1,725
- Super active (very intense activity/sport, physical work or training twice a day): basal metabolic rate x 1.9
2. Mifflin St. Previous formula: This 1990 formula was slightly modified and adapted to changing living conditions.
For men: BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5
For women: BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161
Then multiply the calculated value by your activity level as above.
3. Online Calorie Calculator and Apps: There are many online calorie calculators and apps that can help you calculate your calorie needs. These often use similar formulas and allow you to report your activity level to be more accurate.
It is important to note that these are only estimates and that your actual calorie needs may vary depending on individual metabolism, genetic factors, and other variables. If you have specific health or weight loss goals, it’s best to reach out Nutrition experts or medical professionals.to receive a personalized recommendation.
As a guide: This is how high the calorie needs of adults are depending on age and sex.
The disadvantages of counting calories.
Despite its popularity, calorie counting also has some important disadvantages that are often overlooked:
1. Simplifying diet: Calorie counting focuses primarily on the quantity of food, while quality is often neglected. It can cause us to limit ourselves to low-calorie options without getting enough nutrients. A balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients is often overlooked.
2. Unhealthy relationship with food: Constantly counting calories can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Some begin to view food as mere sources of calories rather than appreciating the pleasure and social aspects of eating. This can lead to a dysfunctional relationship with food and potentially promote eating disorders. Calorie counting is not suitable for people who already have an eating disorder.
3. Neglecting individual needs: Every body is unique and therefore individual nutritional needs vary greatly. However, calorie counting often ignores these individual differences. It does not take into account metabolism, activity level, genetic factors or personal preferences. As a result, we often feel frustrated when the results obtained do not meet our expectations.
4. Stress and Anxiety: Constantly counting calories can lead to increased stress and anxiety. The feeling of having to constantly control what we eat represents a significant psychological burden for many people. This stress reduces the pleasure of eating and can even have negative effects on the metabolism.
5. Time and effort required: Counting calories takes time and effort. Weighing food, finding accurate calorie counts, and logging every meal is time-consuming, even with good apps. This extra effort can be stressful and prevent us from enjoying other important activities.
Calculating calorie needs: conclusion
While calorie counting can certainly serve as a weight management tool, it’s important to recognize the potential downsides. It is advisable to have one more holistic approach Develop a diet that takes into account not only calories, but also nutrient density, individual needs and mental health. It is best to focus on a balanced diet that nourishes your body with everything. necessary nutrients supplied, while at the same time The enjoyment and joy of eating is preserved.. Losing weight is not only fun, but it also works in the long term.