Calories and Carbs:

Calories and Carbs and Fat, Oh My!

Regardless of how much weight you might want to lose, you'll no doubt run into the same confusing issues everyone else does. Should you cut down your calories? Should you reduce or eliminate your carbohydrate intake? Or should you just cut out fat? I know I get so confused by all the different information available out there, I sometimes wonder if it would be easiest to just stop eating.

Well, obviously, not eating can and will kill you, if you keep the fast going long enough. Some forms of juice fasts and even water fasting can be beneficial, but chronic fasting will impact your health. Particularly if you do any of this for long periods of time.

The problem isn't really that there exist so many opinions, facts, and theories on weight loss, the problem is that many of these approaches work. Going on a juice fast will make you lose weight. But staying on a juice fast for too long could create further problems down the road.

Now to talk about lowering calorie intake. The body burns a certain amount of calories in any given day, so taking in less than you're using will cause you to lose weight. The problem most people run in to with this approach is they become hungry all the time. Modern day foods don't keep most of us full and satiated for very long, but they contain quite a bit of calories.

So eating three simple meals of 400 calories each will give us a total of 1200 calories for the day. This is quite low for most men and women, but it will cause you to lose weight. Unfortunately, the three meals you choose to eat may not satisfy you, so you end up hungry or even famished more often than not.

You could try eating five meals totaling just 250 calories each and that will help quite a bit. You're not going so long between meal times, and you may not feel quite as deprived in the process. You have to be careful with your meal choices when going this route though because as I've said: Our modern meals are not overly low in calories. In fact, many quick snacks come close to having 250 calories all by themselves.

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So what about cutting fat then, and forgetting the calorie intake? The downside of the anti-fat diet is that eating foods with little to no fat will leave you hungrier than eating foods based on calorie totals. Also, an extreme anti-fat diet will cause health problems down the road.

Fat helps fill you up and keep you feeling satiated for a longer period of time. But even worse, foods without fat tend to have many more "fillers" in the form of sugar and starch. Sugars and starches are processed by your body quickly, which means you're hungrier again sooner. And many people make the mistake of thinking as long as they're not eating fat, they can eat "nonfat" products anytime they'd like. In reality, they're loading up on too many calories, and too much processed sugars and chemical-laden junk.

That said, of course there are fats you should limit in your diet. These are considered to be "bad" fats, and are called trans fats. Too many of these types of fat can cause health problems in addition to weight problems.

Now let's look at the low carb issue. Eliminating carbs all together was all the rage years ago, but that's not a wise move, as time has shown. Most of your healthy fruits and vegetables have at least some carbohydrates in them. So a better plan is to limit or restrict your carb intake instead of trying to eliminate it all together.

In fact, you should strive to choose healthy good carbs instead of simple ones. You can still limit the total amount of carbohydrates you take in each day, but be sure to eat those which are good for you such as what you find in vegetables or organic cheese.

I bet you've heard about the program where you're able to eat as much food as they want as long as you limit carb intake. Some practitioners eat 3000 calories or more each day, but as long as they're restricting the carbs, they can still lose weight.

Why this works is quite simple. Cutting out quick, simple sugars, starches, and carbs from your diet will regulate your body's insulin production. And it will force you to eat alternative foods, which fill you up better and keep you full longer.

Believe it or not, all of these common approaches to weight loss work together. And they all work best when you cut out simple starches and sugars from your diet. Cutting your carbs very low for just a few days will kill your cravings for sweets... but it may also kill your appetite. In the end you actually consume much less calories overall, because you're not hungry often and you're not getting hit with sugar cravings. So a low carb diet will turn into a low calorie diet over time.

The same applies to low fat diets. If done well, you will find yourself eating more fiber rich foods to help you feel full longer. And foods which are naturally higher in fiber are also naturally lower in carbs and calories.

It all boils down to eating well. Choose healthy fats and healthy carbs, plus eliminate simple starches and sugars, and you will lose weight.

Disclaimer: Throughout this entire website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.