q Eating and Exercise: Are All Calories Created Equal? - Harcourt Health

Eating and Exercise: Are All Calories Created Equal?

Scientists and health gurus agree: it’s difficult if not impossible to accurately count calories, yet over 65% of people implicitly or explicitly calculate calories when food shopping and eating meals.

What’s the deal?  How can people accurately keep watch on their waistlines in a systematic and orderly fashion?  It may be more about adopting an ongoing lifestyle and less about crunching individual numbers.  For example, high-fat foods quickly accumulate calories no matter when or how often you eat them; however, low-calorie and wholesome foods keep a person feeling full longer as well as offer low calories.

In addition, it’s easier to guess the proper calories contained in a small portion of food than a larger one.  Therefore, researchers assume it is harder for those who are overweight to regulate their intake; they are used to eating larger portions, which are more difficult to assess regarding caloric intake.

Eating out can be difficult for dieters; those assuming orders are healthy, sometimes get served chickens with sauces high in fat content or salads with high counts of fatty cheeses and dressings.  In one study, over 100 dieticians, given a variety of menu-based foods and asked to choose the healthier items, were grossly off mark; worst-case scenarios had dieticians guessing less than half the amount of correct calories aligned to menu items.

Counting calories helps with dieting, and a calorie counter can help get you off weight-loss plateau, but additionally, health professionals advise the following information:

Eat smaller portions of food.  Rather than gorge on larger meals, making it easier to mistake the number of associated calories, eat smaller portions throughout the day and at a slower pace per meal; eating slowly helps with digestion and gives your stomach time to tell your brain the body is sustained.  Those who ‘binge eat,’ consuming a lot of calories in a short amount of time, don’t give their stomach enough time to send signals to the brain to stop.

Foods high in fiber and whole grains, burn calories via digestion, saving dieters the effort.  For example, a whole grain piece of bread, through thermic effects of food digestion, burns calories, but a slice of white bread, a simple food, would not.  Seek healthier foods, those that help with digestive and diet efforts.

Take survey of the foods you regularly consume, especially ‘guilty pleasures.’  One finds caloric crimes stem from one to a few bad eating habits, such as drinking soda while working or stopping by the fast-food market on the way home from the office several times per week.  Fast food helps with escaping the need to cook but attracts the weight of unhealthy habits.

Furthermore, don’t underestimate the synergy between healthy eating and effective exercise.  Those who eat well and take in less harmful foods get more out of their workouts.  Natural foods and whole grains are easy for the body to process and burn during workouts.  Those who eat fatty, sugary, and processed foods give the body more work, actually getting less out of workouts per time and energy spent.

All calories are not created equal; a hardcore diet is not worth the time spent if a person is willing to go back to harmful foods months later.  Eating well and exercising regularly is a lifestyle and not a limited-time offer.