May 16, 2024
Advice from a Béarnaise dietitian-nutritionist / Want to lose weight: why you need to stop counting calories

Advice from a Béarnaise dietitian-nutritionist / Want to lose weight: why you need to stop counting calories

The editorial team advises you

The editorial team advises you

Summer is coming and you may want to lose the 2 to 3 kilos you gained this winter. For decades, a theory has been circulating that to lose weight, you have to go into a calorie deficit. Understand: consume fewer calories than those spent.

Many diets still advocate this method to help you lose weight. This approach is outdated and scientists have realized this for a long time.

But, actually, do you know what a calorie is? In physics, it is the quantity of energy necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree. Nothing to do with the human body. In nutrition, it is the unit of measurement of the energy value of a food. The scientists thus determined the energy value of macro-nutrients, namely: lipids (9 kCal/gram), carbohydrates and proteins (4 kCal/g). Counting the calories in our meals is ultimately complicated and remains very approximate.

Why is counting calories useless?

– 1. Energy needs are difficult to assess. They fluctuate according to sex, age, height, weight, body composition, physical activity and finally the microbiota of each person. Therefore, it is impossible to exactly define a person’s daily calorie needs.

– 2. Since man is not a machine, energy needs fluctuate every day depending on physical activity, outside temperature, sleep, but also hormonal balance.

– 3. It is a source of daily stress which can even cause eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, hyperphagia).

– 4. Not all calories are equal. This counting technique does not take into account the quality of the food. However, it is the nutritional composition of foods that matters. Calories provide energy, but above all your body needs nutrients to make it function properly. These nutrients are none other than vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants, etc. Therefore, we cannot compare foods according to their energy intake.

– 5. Our body is smarter than our brain. He is able to reduce his energy expenditure to counterbalance the reduction in food intake. The body adapts and goes into sleep mode. Difficult to swing the scales in these conditions.

Avoid processed foods

Here are some examples that invalidate the calorie counting theory:

– Some fats will be easily stored while others (omega 3) will help you lose weight.

– Poor quality proteins rich in branched chain amino acids promote prediabetes and metabolic syndrome.

– Carbohydrates with high glycemic indexes promote the synthesis of insulin, this storage hormone. Fructose is easily converted into fats.

– Our daily lifestyle (quality of sleep, physical activity, stress, etc.) fluctuates on our eating behaviors and can, without even eating differently, cause us to gain weight.

– Regular consumption of sweeteners leads to weight gain even though they contain no calories.

– Endocrine disruptors (from packaging, air, water, medications, etc.) modify our hormonal balance and can cause weight gain. Endocrine disruptors contain no calories.

– Certain pathologies or functional disorders lead to significant increases in weight without affecting the balance of the plate.

– The intestinal microbiota is preponderant in weight balance. Experiments on mice have shown that if the microbiota of obese mice is transferred to mice of normal weight, they begin to gain weight without even having changed their eating habits.

To lose weight, you don’t need to count or weigh. Instead, focus on the quality of the food. Avoid processed foods. Adapt the quantity to your physical activity and your hunger and don’t forget to treat yourself from time to time.

Anaïs Taqourt is a dietitian nutritionist in Morlaàs. Such. 06 83 65 52 09. Website: www.dieteticiennenutritionniste-pau.fr. “Anais Taqourt” Facebook page.

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