Low calorie vs. Calorie Quality, which is the diet answer?

I hope everyone is still going strong and doing well with their New Year’s resolutions.

If you are trying to lose weight this new year than you MUST have a nutrition component as part of your plan.  There is no way you can simply out work a bad diet (trust me I have tried).  In fact a proper diet accounts for 80% of what is needed for you to reach your weight loss goal.

When you go about selecting your nutrition plan you will see that there are two schools of thought out there, and it is like the Hatfield and McCoys between them and their advocates.

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On one side we have the low calorie crowd, and on the other the calorie quality crowd.

Today we will explore what the two camps are all about, and decide which is the best route for weight loss.

Low Calorie Diets

Low calorie diets operate with a simple equation of calories in/calories out.

When calories consumed are greater than calories burned you get weight gain.

When calories consumed are less than calories burned you get weight loss.

And when calories consumed equals the amount of calories burned then we maintain weight.

On paper this looks simple and that is why many people love this philosophy, because it is easy to understand.

With that being said there are some good things and some things I agree.

I totally agree with the fact that if you eat more calories than you burn you will put on weight.

But when it comes to weight loss it is a little more complicated than simply counting calories in vs. calories out.  The reason for that is we need to consider our metabolic rate.

Your metabolic rate is the speed that our body breaks down nutrients (food) to be used for chemical reactions in the body.  (We will get more into this when we talk about calorie quality).

The thing about the weight loss equation is that your body’s metabolic rate moves based on your caloric output.  This is why people see weight loss initially on a low cal diet, that is until their metabolism catches up to even out the deficit.

I know what you are saying “well when my metabolism catches up why don’t I just lower my calorie and increase my caloric output to create a bigger deficit?”

The reason that will only work for a little while, and can also become dangerous.

What happens is you end up creating such a huge deficit gap (eating less, working out more) that your body will go into starvation mode and actually hold on to every calorie you consume so you can survive.

Our brain tends to be a selfish organ (it thinks it’s important because it runs the show), and if necessary will divert calories from everywhere else in the body to survive.

Calorie Quality

Now let’s look at the other side of this feud…. calorie quality.

This approach takes a little more knowledge about calorie types and their effect on the body.

When choosing calorie quality there are two things we want to avoid

  1. Fried foods (Trans fats)
  2. Foods high in processed sugars

Up above I mentioned that we would get back to chemical reactions in the body.  Well I am a man of my word.

There are three macro nutrient types that we need to know. Protein, Fat and carbohydrates.

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If we look at all three carbohydrates and fats work as fuel sources for the body, while protein helps us build tissues (such as muscle) and is the building blocks for a lot of other structures within our body.

Protein rich foods don’t offer us a ton of energy which makes them great for anyone trying to lose weight.

What we really need to pay attention to here are how carbohydrates and fats work in the body.
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Carbohydrates are our main source of energy.  Carbohydrates are quickly broken down to sugars which act as an immediate source of energy.  An excess amount of sugar levels can lead to sugar being stored as fat in the body to be used as energy at a later date.

When selecting carbohydrates we want to find carbohydrates that have very little processed sugar, and are high in fiber.  Fiber tends to help balance out the effect of sugar in the body.  Because fruits tend to have high levels of fiber, it balances out the natural sugars found in them making them a healthy carbohydrate.

Unlike carbohydrates, fats (lipids) take a long time to be broken down in the body.  When they are broken down though the offer a bigger abundance of more clean burning energy. (Here is a great link to help explain the difference between carbs and fat a little bit more)

Now people who believe in calorie quality believe you can eat as much as you want, as long as it is good quality foods.  And this is where the feud lies with the low calorie people.

Verdict

Some may see this as the cheap way out but it’s a draw.  Both sides make good points that need to be considered.

I am all about the quality of nutrients you eat.  I find when I focus on nutrient quality rather than nutrient quantity that my caloric intake does in fact go down due to the better food choices.

On the other hand though, If I eat consume more calories than I burn (whether they are healthy calories or not) then I most definitely gain weight.

I believe the answer is that there has to be a balance.  While you have to make sure your calories are coming from good sources, you also need to make sure you are not having too much of a good thing.

If you consider those two principles you can get out from the middle of this endless feud and be on your way to making progress.house sale.jpg

Have any tips, questions, reaction to what was said?  I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

 

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How to simplify your nutrition

Are you confused about nutrition? 

 Well then, this might be the best thing you read all day.  Today I will help you cut through the nutrition clutter with these simple principles.

It’s no secret nutrition is a vital part to being fit.

You need to eat correctly if you are looking to lose weight, gain weight, maintain, or perform at your best.

There are so many diets that we get caught in the crossfire of them telling you why their way of eating is better than the other person’s.

If you stick to a few key principles you can dial in your own nutrition to meet your fitness goals.

Calories in/calories out

We require energy  to move, think, and perform bodily functions.  Food is our fuel.  Depending on our activity level we all have a caloric range we need to hit just to maintain.  If we eat less than what is required to support activity we lose weight, we eat more we gain.  There are safe ranges to do both.  If we eat too little out body goes into starvation mode which doesn’t burn the desired fat.   If we eat  too​ much we risk obesity.

Calorie quality 

As we mentioned above how many calories you eat matters.  Now you can eat whatever you want and lose/gain weight.  But there is something to be said about where the calories come from.

We need to better our calories and future out what gives us the most bent for our buck.  Sure you can eat McDonald’s, but you should realize that in doing that it would cost a lot of calories and may be your only meal of the day.

I am a fan of getting more bang for your buck.  Eating things with less calories allows me to eat more meals to help me reach my caloric goals.  Fruits, veggies, and lean meats work great

Macronutrients

Fats, carbohydrates, and protein are essential to provide energy and make tired and chemicals in our body.  We need all 3 to live. 

Water

Our bodies are mostly water.  It makes up or blood, and if found in our muscles and organs.  

Many empty calories come from the like soda and juice.  Water had no calories making it a much better choice for Weight loss.

Things to avoid

Trans fats- these are mostly found in fried and processed foods.  This causes control to form in our blood which can lead to increased blood pressure and heart problems.

Saturated fat- We need some saturated fats.  But just a tiny bit.  This is often found in animal fat.

Processed carbs- there is nothing wrong with carbs in general.  They are our main fuel source.  But overly sugared processed carbs will cause us to put on weight and can lead to many health issues sutch as type II diabetes.

Let us know some nutrition outgunned you find helpful in the comments section below and be sure to follow us for weekly blog posts.

5 tips to help you stop eating out and start eating healthy

Proper nutrition is essential if you want to lose weight.  One of the biggest excuses people have for not eating right is the fact they don’t have time to cook a healthy meal.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time consuming with these 5 meal prep tips.

I get it.  I work two jobs, go to school, and play on a rugby team.

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This leaves me waking up early and getting home late, with loads of homework and clients in between.  The last thing I want to do when I get home is cook.

It is very tempting to hit up Uber Eats or Grub Hub after a long day of work.  On top of that, many offices now order lunch for their employees to keep them at their desk.

But how often are those choices healthy?  Pizza, burgers, Chinese?

Even the “healthy” choices on the menu, we have no idea what it is cooked in so have no idea if they are actually healthy.

Eating out all the time, not only is unhealthy, but can get expensive.

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I could be wrong but I don’t think you planned on losing weight by lightening your wallet.

Well with these 5 methods you can still eat healthy while keeping your wallets fat.

Crock Pot

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I love the crock pot.  There is nothing better than coming home to a hearty, delicious and healthy meals like stews, pulled pork, wings, ribs and a variety of  soups.

All you  need to do is prep and season the food.  After that the crock pot does all the work.  The crock pot provides you with the freedom to cook your meal over night or while you are at work.

The crock pot provides for huge portions leaving plenty of leftovers to cover a couple days of lunch/dinner.

Mason Jar Salad

This is a great idea for lunches.  The mason jar is compact making it easy to grab and go.  Best part is everything is portioned out and the seal of the jar helps keep everything fresh.

Here are 18 different Mason Jar Salads to get you started

Overnight oats

Great way to  make an on the go breakfast.  Plain oats are not only filling, but full of fiber.

Simply prepare the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  Wake up, grab a spoon and walk out the door!

Here are 50 Overnight Oat recipes to keep your breakfasts fresh

Shake it up

Shakes are a great way to make an easy on the go meal.  Shakes help blend many nutrients into one healthy and filling drink.

My mom has been making these for breakfast for at least 4 years now.

Her secret is to make a lot that way she has enough for the next day.  This makes it easy for her to grab and go on her way to work in the morning.

Here is a great recipe from Precision Nutrition

Be a microwave chef

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You don’t have to be an Iron Chef in the kitchen.

My girlfriend always makes fun of me because when I cook I love using frozen vegetables and meat (like Trader Joe’s Chicken) to make delicious and healthy meals.

Obviously fresh veggies and meat are preferred but they can take a while to defrost, cut, seed, season and cook.

Frozen meat and veggies allow me to create healthy meals quickly.  All I need to do is heat them up in the microwave or stove top, combine them, season and have a delicious stir fry, or fajita meal ready to go in minutes.

At the end of the day  a lot of these methods involve you having leftovers.  If you make one serving think about making 3 or 4.  That way you have leftovers for days and all you have to do is heat it up for lunch or dinner.

Do you know any  methods to help eat healthy on a busy schedule?  We would love to hear from you.  Let us know in the comments section below.

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