Calories are the unit of energy used by the body to perform normal metabolic functions. The power provided by food through macro and micronutrients is measured in calories or kCals. Our body needs a limited number of calories per day depending on our lifestyle and physical activities.
Extra calories consumed per day can lead to weight gain over time. Hence, counting calories in the food you consume every day is essential. If you’re trying to lose weight and gain muscle mass, consuming protein-rich foods and less carbohydrates is very important. It is also important to utilize more calories than you consume, such as with exercise and sports. Adequate weight loss requires a caloric deficit, which can be achieved with the consumption of foods that contain more calories from protein and fewer carbohydrates per serving.
The nutritional information provided by most packaged foods is an accurate measure of their calories per serving. However, the calorie count of raw fruits, vegetables, and home-cooked meals can vary.
Luckily for us, there are websites that have an extensively researched list of ingredients and meals, with their respective food calories as well as their nutritional information, such as the percentage of carbohydrates and proteins.
We will now list down the reasons to count the calories you consume.
You Can Check The Calories You Need Vs. The Calories You Consume
Every individual has a basal metabolic rate, which determines how your body uses the nutrients you consume to generate energy. The basal metabolic rate varies by age, gender, underlying medical conditions, and level of physical activity. Most people usually need 2000 calories per day for normal daily functioning of the body systems.
When you start counting calories, you can check how many calories you’re consuming per day. You can then work on how you can achieve your fitness goals by adjusting your caloric intake. Effective weight loss requires consuming more calories from protein and fats, and removing any extra sources of carbohydrates from your daily meals.
You Make Healthy Choices
Keeping your caloric intake in check means eating fewer calories from processed foods and increasing calories from natural foods such as fruits and nuts. A slice of cake has about 380 calories, whereas one bowl of salad has about 240 calories. While a salad bowl will be more filling and has more calories from fat and protein, a slice of cake will give you more carbohydrates. A healthier choice will be to have a bowl of salad as a snack instead of a slice of cake.
When you start logging your daily calories on your smartphone or on a website, you will develop a habit of making healthier choices in your meals every single day. It may require more willpower to make this shift in your life, but you will feel more energized throughout the day once you start eating healthier foods.
You Will Have Smaller Meals
Developing a caloric deficit also requires eating healthier foods in small portions throughout the day. The science behind this is to keep the digestive system fuller for a long period and to avoid hunger pangs from long breaks between meals.
Websites that provide calorie details also mention the recommended serving of each food item, and you’ll notice that protein-rich foods have generous serving sizes. Including food items that have fewer calories per serving will allow you to have more of them, helping you keep your hunger at bay without compromising your caloric intake.
It Will Help You Achieve Your Goals
Websites where you log your daily calories also contain other features to help you on your fitness journey, such as your target weight and reminders to drink water. You can use these features to track your progress and compare your meal options from previous months. These can help you list down healthy snacking options, removing the time and effort you use to think and plan your meals every day.
Counting Your Calories Is Totally Free!
You don’t need to pay a monthly fee, you don’t need to memorize your meal plans, and you don’t need to sign up with a personal trainer—using a website to count your calories is totally free.
Learning to count your calories is one of the first steps in taking control of your own health. You will not be pushed by fitness trainers and nutritionists to achieve targets according to their plans; you will slowly learn to maintain your health and fitness at your own time and pace.
Counting calories is a great way to develop healthy habits by starting small. Over time, you become conscious of what you consume, and you can be mindful of how your meal consumption can impact your health. Developing healthy habits in your prime years can help you stay healthy and avoid medical conditions associated with aging. Healthy and productive individuals can contribute to the benefit of their community. It will help you enjoy the finer things in life and spend quality time with your family.