Everyone knows what calories are. Chances are at some point in your life, you’ve looked at the nutritional label on a food product to see how many calories you were eating.
Calories provide the body with the energy it needs to survive. The number of calories you consume is directly proportional to the amount of weight you gain or lose. Counting calories is a good way to lose or gain weight. However if your goal is a lean, muscular, ripped physique, just counting calories may not be the most efficient way to go.
Calories are actually made up of macronutrients. Each macro contains a certain number of calories per gram:
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
- 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories
Today we are just going to focus on the three main macronutrients, protein, fat and carbs, and leave alcohol for another time. Macronutrients are nutrients that we need lots of and that are our primary source of fuel. This group includes protein, carbohydrates and fats. Every food you eat contains these three macronutrients, in varying proportions. Some foods are much higher in carbohydrates, for example, and contain almost no useful protein.
Carbohydrates are easily broken down and metabolized and as therefore a perfect source of fuel. In fact, once it’s converted into the usable form glucose, carbohydrates are used by literally every cell in your body for energy. Glucose is of particular usefulness to your brain, central nervous system, kidneys, heart and muscles. The glucose that isn’t immediately stored is converted into glycogen and tucked away into your liver and muscles for later.
Fats, although they are often viewed pretty negatively, are also extremely important to your body as a source of fuel. Since they are more calorie dense than carbohydrates and require a little more effort to break down, fats tend to be used more for longer-duration activities although they do get burn throughout the day in an ever-fluctuating ratio with carbs. In addition to providing energy, however, fats are also necessary for the creation of several hormones and the proper absorption of numerous vitamins.
Finally, we reach everybody’s favorite: Protein. Because protein are made out of amino acids – commonly called the “building blocks of life” – they aren’t generally used for energy. Instead, the complex structure of protein is pulled apart and their individual amino acids are reorganized to build whatever your body needs at the time. This could include cells, muscle, hormones and countless other substances. Although it isn’t your body’s first fuel choice, protein can be used for energy and does contain the same amount of calories are carbohydrates.
Calorie Counting> Macros Counting > Micros > Meal Timing > Supplements
#1 Calorie Counting
Calorie counting is an easy, one-step system. Determine the number of calories you need to eat per day and simply keep track of your daily intake.
The general guidelines for determining the number of calories you should be consuming in order to lose weight is based on your age, weight, and the average amount of physical activity performed daily, we called it “Magic Number“. Contact me for further assist about your “Magic Number”, I’ll give guidelines on:
- How to calculate energy balance for weight loss or gain,
- How to adjust for activity,
- How to make adjustments to calorie intake if things don’t proceed as planned.
#2 Macros Counting (Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats)
You may have heard it said that while energy balance determines whether weight is gained or lost, macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat) determine whether that change is fat or muscle mass.
Though that is a gross oversimplification, macros play an important role and need consideration. Simply put, get them right and you’ll reach your physique goals quicker and more painlessly than if you ignore them.
#3 Micronutrient Considerations & Water
The topic of micronutrition may sound boring but you can’t afford to ignore it. Long-term micronutrient deficiencies will impact your health and torpedo your training efforts. Fortunately it’s doesn’t have to be complicated. By observing a few simple rules of thumb regarding your daily nutritional intake you can safeguard against deficiencies.
#4 Nutrient Timing & Meal Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling
Industry thinking used to be as simple as, eat big, lift big, get big.
The pendulum then swung too far to the right of moderation towards excessive attention to detail. The new standard became ‘eat many small meals throughout the day’, sometimes known as a typical bodybuilder diet.
Unfortunately I now think it has swung too far in the other direction, where we have the (only slightly less annoying) myth that ‘meal frequency and timing doesn’t matter’, or even that ‘calories don’t count as long you eat within an 8 hour window’ – a natural consequence of people jumping on the intermittent fasting bandwagon without understanding (or caring about) the science.
As is the case with most of these things, the truth is somewhere in the middle. We’ll discuss where this happy line of moderation may lie for you, as well as the hypotheticals for those wanting to be more pedantic.
Supplements are the smallest part of the puzzle. However, they can be useful so we’ll cover them in two sections: 1. General health, 2. Physique & performance.
The two significant differences between counting calories and counting macros is the counting process and the food being consumed.
Calorie counting is a simple tactic and generally shows positive results. Unfortunately, it can also be misleading. Keeping track of calories, as opposed to what makes up those calories, can be harmful to your body despite the weight loss.
Macro counting is the opposite. You are fully aware of what is being put in your body, and it is generally well-balanced foods, however, it is not nearly as easy as calorie counting since you are keeping track of very precise numbers of nutrients. Say goodbye to eating out with friends and impromptu coffee shop pit stops. Most meals will have to be pre-planned and from your own kitchen.
Counting calories, paired with fresh foods, is the go-to diet for most people. It’s easy and it’s reliable. Counting macros is a great way to feed your body exactly what it needs, however, it is not necessarily feasible for the average person.
If you are looking for a diet that is not time consuming and requires minimal calculations, counting calories might just be the diet for you! Remember though it is not all about cutting calories, you need to create a balanced healthy lifestyle in order to reach weight loss goals – which means combining eating healthy with exercise.
Malnutrition is a common and often unrecognized problem in stroke patients, especially the elderly, admitted to hospital. Those who remain in hospital for prolonged periods are also at risk. Inevitably, the reported frequency of malnutrition after stroke has varied depending on patient selection, the definitions of malnutrition and the method and timing of assessments.
Some stroke patients have a loss of appetite. For others, eating may be difficult due to swallowing problems or limited hand or arm movement.Poor nutrition, although not specifically in stroke patients, has been associated with reduced muscle strength, reduced resistance to infection and impaired wound healing. Among patients with stroke, most of whom are elderly, muscle weakness, infections and pressure sores are common and account for significant mortality and morbidity. It is plausible that malnutrition could increase the frequency of these
problems and result in poorer outcomes.
Therefore, make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need. To make eating a little easier again, try these steps:
- Choose healthy foods with stronger flavors, such as broiled fish and citrus fruits. Also, spices add flavor to food and serve as a good substitute for salt.
- Choose colorful, visually appealing foods, such as salmon, carrots and dark green vegetables.
- Cut foods into small pieces to make them easier to chew.
- Pick softer, easier-to-chew foods, such as yogurt, bananas, whole-grain hot cereals and low sodium soups.
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.
- Choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods.
- Eat fish at least twice a week.
- Limit saturated fat and trans fat. Avoiding partially hydrogenated oils will reduce trans fats.
- Choose lean meats and poultry, and prepare them without using saturated or trans fats.
- Select low-fat dairy products.
- Cut back on drinks and foods with added sugars.
- Choose and prepare foods with little salt (sodium).
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Limit yourself to one drink per day if you’re a non-pregnant woman or two drinks if you’re a man.
- If you have trouble swallowing, talk to your speech therapist or doctor. This condition can be treated.
- If weakness in arms or hands is a problem, you might try adaptive eating utensils. Some types of flatware have thicker handles that are easier to hold, and “rocker knives” make it possible to cut food using one hand.
What you eat and how you prepare it can help reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. The right diet can help improve your cholesterol levels and blood pressure and can help you feel better and have more energy.
Weight loss gets harder as you get older. With the right kind of weight loss workout, you could burn up to 200 extra calories a day. Of course nights are great for going on dates, watching your favorite movie on Netflix, doing work, chatting on the phone, eating dinner and sleeping. But you know what else they’re great for? Setting yourself up for bigger and better weight-loss results. Just follow these tips to get yourself that much closer to your goal weight.
Do a Nighttime Workout
You know that sweating can help you drop KGs, but you may think that exercising too close to bedtime can keep you up at night. Luckily, that’s not true; a 2013 survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that active people are 56 to 67 percent more likely to say they usually get a good night’s sleep—no matter what time of day they exercise. Check out these four reasons why it’s OK to work out at night.
Pack Your Lunch
The average restaurant meal contains more than twice the number of calories you should be consuming in one sitting, according to a 2013 study—and that’s not even taking into account the lower calorie count you’ll want your lunch to clock in at if you’re trying to drop pounds. But in the a.m. rush, who has time to make lunch? Save yourself from a midday diet-wrecker by prepping your meal the night before. (We love make-ahead mason jar salads in particular.)
Drink Lots of Water
H2O flushes out your system, which helps you get rid of any water you’re retaining. But since you don’t want to be up all night running to the bathroom (and getting quality shuteye is crucial to weight loss), Gans suggests putting a halt to your water chugging one hour before bedtime.
Make Sure Your Bedroom is Super Dark
The hormone melatonin can help your body produce more calorie-burning brown fat, according to an animal study published last year in Journal of Pineal Research. Since your body already produces melatonin when you’re in complete darkness, make sure your room is light-free to boost weight loss.
Turn Down the Thermostat Before Hitting the Hay
The idea of burning more calories while you sleep may sound too good to be true, but a National Institute of Health Clinical Center study found that people who slept in a 66-degree room burned seven percent more calories than people who snoozed at 75 degrees. Seven percent isn’t a ton—but it can’t hurt!
We always stumble across several weight loss myths you’ve always believed. Here are a few weight loss myths that may surprise you:
1. “Eat Less, Move More” is good advice
Body fat is simply stored energy (calories). To lose fat, more calories need to be leaving your fat cells than entering them. In other words, if calories out surpass calories in, fat loss occurs. That is a fact. For this reason, it seems only logical that “eating less and moving more” would cause weight loss. It works on both sides of the calorie equation.
However, this is really terrible advice for those with a serious weight problem. Most people who follow this advice end up gaining it back, and there are physiological and biochemical reasons for this. A major and sustained change in perspective and behavior is needed to lose weight with diet and exercise. Simply telling people to eat less and move more isn’t enough.
Telling someone with obesity to just “eat less, move more” is like telling someone with depression to cheer up, or someone with alcoholism to just drink less.
It’s ineffective. Telling people with weight problems to just “eat less, move more” is ineffective advice. It rarely works in the long term.
2. Body can’t use the protein from beans unless you eat them with rice
Proteins—which our bodies need to make everything from new muscle to hormones—are made up of different combinations of 20 amino acids. Thing is, our bodies can make only 11 of these amino acids; we must get the other nine from food. Animal-based protein-rich foods like eggs and meat provide all nine of these “essential” amino acids, but nearly all plant foods are low in at least one.
Experts used to say that to get what your body needs to make proteins, you needed to pair plant-based foods with complementary sets of amino acids—like rice and beans. Now they know that you don’t have to eat those foods at the same meal. If you get a variety of foods throughout the day, they all go into the ‘basket’ of amino acids that are available for the body to use.
3. Carbs make you fat
Low-carb diets can help with weight loss. That is a scientific fact. In many cases, this happens even without conscious calorie restriction. As long as the carbs are kept low and protein intake is high, people lose weight.
However, this does not mean that carbs per se cause weight gain. The obesity epidemic started around 1980 but humans have been eating carbs for a very long time. The truth is, refined carbs (like refined grains and sugar) are definitely linked to weight gain, but whole foods that are high in carbs are very healthy.
Low-carb diets are very effective for weight loss. However, carbs are not what causes obesity in the first place. Whole, single ingredient carb-based foods are incredibly healthy.
4. Calories eaten at night are more fattening than those eaten early in the day
Calories are calories are calories, and it doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters are the total calories you take in
5. Eating fat makes you fat
Body fat is stored fat. So, eating more fat should make us store more of it. It seems logical.
However, it turns out that things aren’t this simple. There is nothing uniquely fattening about fat, except that it is often found in calorie-dense junk foods. As long as calories are within range, fat does not make you fat. Additionally, diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs) have been shown to cause weight loss in numerous studies.
As with so many things in nutrition, this depends entirely on the context. Eating a lot of fat along with a high-carb, high-calorie, junk food-based diet will definitely make you fat. But it’s not just because of the fat. Fat has often been blamed for the obesity epidemic, but there is nothing inherently fattening about dietary fat. It depends entirely on the context.
6. It is best to eat many small meals throughout the day
It is often claimed that people should eat many, small meals throughout the day to keep the metabolism high. But the studies clearly disagree with this. Eating 2-3 meals per day has the exact same effect on total calories burned as eating 5-6 (or more) smaller meals.
Eating frequently may have benefits for some people (like preventing excessive hunger), but it is incorrect that this affects the amount of calories we burn.
There are even studies showing that eating too often can be harmful. A new study came out recently showing that more frequent meals dramatically increased liver and abdominal fat on a high calorie diet. It is not true that eating many, smaller meals leads to an increase in the amount of calories burned throughout the day. Frequent meals may even increase the accumulation of unhealthy belly and liver fat.
7.Eating breakfast is necessary to lose weight
Studies show that breakfast skippers tend to weigh more than breakfast eaters. However, this is probably because people who eat breakfast are, on average, more likely to have other healthy lifestyle habits.
This was recently tested in a controlled trial, the largest of its kind. This was a study of 309 men and women that compared recommendations to either eat or skip breakfast. They found no effect after a 4 month study period. It didn’t matter whether people ate or skipped breakfast, neither had an effect on weight.
It is also a myth that breakfast boosts metabolism, or that eating multiple, smaller meals makes you burn more calories throughout the day.
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Eat breakfast if you want to, but don’t expect it to have a major effect on your weight. It is true that breakfast skippers tend to weigh more than breakfast eaters, but controlled trials show that it doesn’t matter for weight loss whether you eat or skip breakfast.
8. Egg yolks should be avoided because they are high in cholesterol
We’ve been advised to cut back on whole eggs because the yolks are high in cholesterol. However, cholesterol in the diet has remarkably little effect on cholesterol in the blood, at least for the majority of people.
Studies have shown that eggs raise the “good” choleserol and don’t raise risk of heart disease.
One review of 17 studies with a total of 263,938 participants showed that eating eggs had no effect on the risk of heart disease or stroke in non-diabetic individuals.
However, keep in mind that some studies have found an increased heart attack risk in diabetics who eat eggs. Whole eggs really are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks.
Telling people to throw the yolks away may just be the most ridiculous advice in the history of nutrition. Despite eggs being high in cholesterol, they do not raise blood cholesterol or increase heart disease risk for the majority of people.