Does calorie counting work?

 

Now, we’ve never been one for too many rules. Of course, we understand the benefits of calorie counting, especially if you’re set on shedding a few pounds. It’s pretty simple really – it’s all about calories in vs calories out; burn more than you consume and you’re onto a winner. However, is this still the case? Some say calorie counting is outdated, claiming that inaccurate packaging provides incorrect results and too many restrictions can negatively impact mental health. So, we’ve decided to set the record straight and dish up the pros and cons of calorie counting. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the topic over on socials!

What are the pros of calorie counting?

We’ve been counting calories since, like, forever. So, surely, we must be doing something right, right? Here’s three pros of keeping tabs on your daily calorie intake:

 

It increases accountability

 

Logging what you’ve eaten each day, on apps such as My Fitness Pal, is a great way to be accountable about your diet choices. It sounds crazy, but when you’re not taking note of what you’re eating, it can be easy to underestimate the actual amount you’ve consumed. However, if you’re logging your meals and snacks, you’re less likely to overeat cos you’re more aware of what you’re eating. This can be key for those trying to lose weight or make healthier food choices.

 

It’s ‘tried and tested’

 

As we said before, the ‘calories in vs calories out’ method is a trusted, tried and tested way of dieting for many. In a bid to lose weight, people have been exercising and dieting to burn more calories than they consume for as long as we can remember, so, why question this theory now? There’s more on this over on our guide to macros blog post.

 

It improves your nutritional knowledge

 

Not only does logging your calorie intake raise your accountability, but it’ll also educate you too! It’ll inform you on the macronutrient content of your food, allowing you to make better choices.

 

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What are the cons of calorie counting?

 

As with anything, calorie counting has it’s downsides too:

Food labels aren’t always accurate

 

Did you know that the nutritional info on your groceries isn’t always completely accurate? So, all of your calorie counting efforts may be a waste of time if the numbers aren’t on point.

 

Remember, you can gain weight via muscle too!

 

One thing that calorie counting doesn’t account for is the extra weight that you may put on due to an increase in muscle mass. You might be hitting your macros and eating super clean, while lifting heavy and smashing those PBs. So, when you step on the scales and see you’ve gained weight, it can cause you to wonder what you’re doing wrong. And the answer is: nothing! It’s just that tracking progress via calorie counting alone doesn’t account for other factors, so always consider this and remember not to focus too much on the number on the scales.

It can cause a negative relationship with food

 

While some people benefit from counting their calorie intake, others find that that extensive macronutrient awareness of certain foods can cause them to have a negative relationship with these foods. For example, if you already suffer from low self esteem or are lacking in body confidence, the last thing you need is a breakdown of all the fat, sugar, carbs and calories found in that burger you just destroyed! While it’s important to be aware of the food we put into our bodies, it’s also essential that we eat for enjoyment, as well as fuel, so if calorie counting causes you to restrict or cut out certain foods out of fear, it may be time to stop.

 

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Are you a calorie counter? Let us know your thoughts over on social media. If you’re keen to find out more about macros, our helpful beginners guide is a must-read!