When people think of calorie counting, they cringe, and while all of us wish we could eat whatever we want without gaining weight, for most of us this is simply not reality and not how it works.
Counting calories is one way people have decided to take charge of their fitness and lead a healthier lifestyle. Along with counting calories, they may decide to go on a low-carb diet in an effort to lose weight.
There may be some confusion about calorie counting and what it actually entails and how it can benefit you, but also if it is necessary when you are on a low-carb diet. To figure out the answer to this question, it is important to understand what each entails and their purposes.
Why People Count Calories
The idea behind calorie counting is the basic formula of calories in and calories out. The goal is to burn more than you eat so to create a calorie deficit that results in either weight loss or healthy weight management.
Typically, tracking calorie intake and being mindful of physical activity you are performing is key to maintaining a healthy weight and staving off overweight and obesity that cause serious health problems for the body.
The calorie formula takes into account your height, weight, activity levels and age in order to determine the correct number for you. For those who workout every day can eat much more food and still lose weight, while those who are sedentary will have to lower their daily intake.
Use an online calorie calculator and plug in your data and then play around with the activity settings and you will see the big differences in allowed calories between sedentary and active lifestyles.
What is a Low Carb or Keto Diet
A low carb diet is an eating plan that greatly reduces carbohydrate food intake. Carbohydrates include simple sugars, likes sweets and dairy and complex carbs like grains, including, bread, rice, pasta and potatoes.
Various low carb plans exist, some that heavily restrict carb intake, like the Atkins diet plan, and others like South Beach that allow you to eat more carbs and more variety of carbs.
There are also those who simply reduce their intake of carbs without following any structured diet plan. For example, many cut out refined sugar and foods made from it from their diet as well as all grains and foods made from it.
Does Counting Calories Help With a Low-Carb Diet?
Since calorie counting keeps people on track of their fitness goals, it may actually be beneficial for people to do so while they are on a low-carb diet.
Calorie counting is only useful when you realize that all food are not created equally. So, the calories consumed from wheat respond very different in the body than the calories consumed from fat.
Calories is merely a guide and becomes way less important in a ketogenic diet as burning fat automatically controls appetite.
Appetite Control on Keto
Many who follow a ketogenic diet find that their appetite becomes much more under control than those who eat carbs.
Simple sugars especially cause blood sugar spikes that cause out of control cravings in the body and generally result in people eating much more food on a daily basis than they really need.
On a low carb diet, one that includes lots of fats, green vegetables and fair amounts of protein, people’s cravings disappear, and they report feeling full and satisfied with much less food than they used to eat before going low carb.
In this case, calorie counting may not be necessary because hunger signals are normalized within the body, out of control, cravings for sugar are gone, and the dieter eats to satisfy genuine hunger, which most of the time means they do not over eat.
Everyone is different. The decision to count or not really depends on you and your results.
Start out by trusting your body’s inbuilt hunger mechanism. If you find that you are not seeing your weight loss goals realized, then consider monitoring your caloric intake.