Calories in vs Calories out:
- What’s more important when it comes to losing weight:
- how many calories you take in or how many calories you burn?
- This controversial debate has been running rampant in the diet and nutrition communities since low-carb and low-fat diets became popular over a decade ago.
- Now, recent studies are showing that it may not be as simple as many of us once thought…
A calorie is NOT a calorie
In Calories in vs Calories out the quality of the calories you consume has a direct impact on your health and weight.
For example, 100 calories from a donut will have a very different effect on your body than 100 calories from broccoli.
The former will cause weight gain and insulin spikes, while the latter will fill you up and provide nutrients. However, this is not to say that ALL high-calorie foods are unhealthy:
just the ones that come loaded with fat and sugar (e.g., donuts). Plant-based foods, like broccoli, can be eaten without any guilt because they contain protein and fibre to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.
Furthermore, fibre lowers cholesterol levels which reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In addition to good nutrition, eating vegetables also helps build healthy bacteria in your gut – something our society lacks due to a lack of fibre intake over the past few decades.
It’s no wonder obesity rates are increasing as we’ve reduced our intake of vegetables – it’s not all about how many calories we eat but rather what type they are!
What are Kcals
Kcals are a unit of measurement for the amount of energy that is released when food is burned. The ‘calories in’ part of the equation refers to the amount of energy that is consumed when we eat food.
The ‘calories out’ part refers to the amount of energy that our bodies burn through activities such as exercise.
In general, if you consume more calories than you use, you will gain weight; conversely, if you consume fewer calories than you use, you will lose weight.
But this theory fails to take into account the complexity of human biology and the role of hormones in controlling hunger and body weight.
There have been many studies on obesity that have found evidence against the idea that simply reducing calorie intake or increasing physical activity can lead to sustained weight loss.
One study, for example, showed that even after participants reduced their calorie intake by 300-500 calories per day (without significant increases in physical activity), they still gained about 10 pounds over 12 months.
These findings point to an important piece of the puzzle: it may not be just about how many calories people consume and expend, but also how those calories are distributed throughout their diet.
How Many Kcals Do I Need?
The number of calories you need each day depends on your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. The average sedentary adult needs about 2,000 calories a day.
But this number goes up if you move more. And it goes down if you’re trying to lose weight.
There are a lot of factors that affect how many calories you need, but the most important one is your activity level.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than your body needs.
And if you’re trying to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than your body needs. You may be wondering how much should you be eating.
A rough estimate is around 250-500 extra calories per day depending on what your goal is. For example, if you’re looking to gain weight, then add an extra 500 calories a day onto what you usually eat (assuming 2500 kcals).
If instead you’re looking for a calorie deficit of 1000 kcals per day to lose weight, then cut 500 kcals from what you usually eat (assuming 2500 kcals).
Macronutrients – Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates
In Calories in vs Calories out Protein, fat and carbohydrates are the three macronutrients that our bodies need in order to function.
All three of these nutrients provide our bodies with energy, but they do so in different ways. Protein and carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then used by our cells for energy.
Fat is broken down into fatty acids, which are also used by our cells for energy. However, unlike protein and carbohydrate, it takes a lot more time for your body to break down fats – meaning you will have a longer lasting source of energy!
Fats are essential because they help create hormones like estrogen, testosterone and cortisol. They also help regulate inflammation levels in the body.
Fat does not stimulate insulin production like carbs do – which can lead to problems with blood sugar levels over time. You don’t want your body becoming reliant on high insulin levels from eating carbs constantly!
So next time you’re struggling between getting that cookie or salad at lunchtime? I recommend you go for salad!
Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements
The human body is a miraculous thing. It can heal itself, grow and repair itself and withstand all sorts of injuries and diseases.
But it can only do this if it has the right nutrients. Vitamins, minerals and trace elements are essential for the proper functioning of the body.
These substances are necessary for the conversion of food into energy and the production of hormones that regulate metabolism, among other functions.
This list of vital substances includes iron to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body; vitamin A to maintain healthy skin and eyesight; calcium to form strong bones; copper to make sure blood clots normally; iodine to regulate thyroid function; zinc to maintain a healthy immune system and prevent infections from occurring.
Without these micronutrients, we cannot survive or even continue living life with any semblance of normality.
Water – the forgotten macronutrient?
We all know the three macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat. And we all know that we need them in our diet to survive.
But what about water? Water is essential for our bodies to function properly, yet we often forget to drink it or just don’t make it a priority. So how much should you be drinking?
First off, let’s get into some science…A single pound of body weight requires 3500ml (100oz) of water on average each day!
If you want to know how much you should be drinking then take your weight and divide by 2.2 (or 60 kilos/132 pounds = 60 ÷ 2.2 = 27). So if you weigh 132 pounds (60kg), 27oz (800ml) would be enough each day.
Staying Hydrated and Flushing Out Toxins
Supplements are often taken by people who want to improve their health or change their body composition. But do they really work?
The science behind supplements is controversial. Some studies show that they can be beneficial, while other studies show that they are not effective.
So, what’s the truth? It seems like there’s no easy answer because research on these products is inconclusive.
However, some supplements such as protein powder and creatine have been shown to provide benefits for those looking to build muscle mass or increase strength.
It all depends on the supplement you’re using and your goal. There are plenty of scientifically backed substances that will help with weight loss if you know where to look!
Nutritional Supplements – Essential or Not?
It seems like everywhere you look, there’s an advertisement for the latest and greatest nutritional supplement. But do you really need them?
The answer may surprise you. Let’s take a closer look at the controversial debate of ‘calories in vs calories out’.
You may be thinking to yourself that it doesn’t matter if your diet is low-fat or high-fat because they are both still full of calories. However, this is not true!
The American Dietetic Association defines low-fat as less than 25% of total caloric intake per day coming from fat; whereas high-fat is more than 35% of total caloric intake per day coming from fat.
In fact, our body needs some fat to keep organs functioning properly; however too much can lead to obesity and other health problems.
Other Ways to Gain Energy (fat loss)
Even though the ‘calories in vs calories out’ method is the most popular way to gain energy, there are other ways that have been discovered by researchers.
Some of these methods are through fat loss. Although this method is not talked about as much, it can be more beneficial in the long run.
It has been shown that when you lose weight, your body releases a hormone called adiponectin. Adiponectin helps to regulate metabolism and blood sugar levels.
It also helps to break down fat cells and use them for energy. Another way to gain energy is through a process called thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis is when your body produces heat to burn calories. This process can be stimulated by exercise, cold temperatures, and certain foods and supplements.
Why do I need energy anyway, aren’t I trying to lose weight!?
Energy is essential for many bodily functions including: keeping your heart beating, powering your muscles, and helping you think.
weight. Simply put, without energy you couldn’t live. But don’t worry, the human body has a clever system to balance all this.It’s called the ‘metabolic rate’ which determines how quickly we burn calories.
A higher metabolic rate means more calories are burned – so when we want to lose weight, we need to make sure our metabolic rate stays high by eating plenty of protein and fibre-rich foods (this also helps us feel fuller for longer).