Calories provide an indication of how much fat and sugar we eat each day. However, if you want to calculate your calorie needs to lose weight, you don’t just need time. Not exceeding a certain nutrient limit also requires discipline. And the question remains: is it worth the effort? Furthermore, strict calorie counting also has its dangers. Read on to find out if this method is right for you.
In the video: This is how you calculate your daily calorie need
Counting calories: what it promises and actually delivers
Many diets tout the benefits of counting calories. If we consume less per day than we use, we will automatically lose weight. The German Nutrition Society has therefore general calorie limits for all ages, sexes and all professional groups. That’s the theory, but what does it look like in practice?
One thing is certain: if you count calories, you get a sense of which foods have how many nutrients. One look at the bag of chips becomes a real revelation – in a negative sense, of course. Because 100 grams of the popular snack contains more than 500 calories. Knowing how many calories you consume per day can help you be more mindful of maintaining a slight calorie deficit. This means you eat less than your body spends on exercise, concentration and sleep – this is the only way to lose weight.
Suitable for the winter season these treats are the biggest calorie bombs, here you will discover what you need to pay attention to.
The problem when you count calories to lose weight: Calorie intake guidelines don’t take into account how much energy the body actually uses—after all, everyone is different.
The problem with counting calories
Short-term success is generally not an issue. Some people can lose ten pounds in a week. In the long term, however, success is practically absent. However, this discovery is not new, as the Atkins diet trend replaced stubborn calorie counting in the 1960s. The basic idea: not in the mere amount of calories, but in the Macronutrients depends – that is, on the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. The diet named after Robert Atkins is based on the low-carb approach. In the initial phases of this diet, carbohydrate intake is severely restricted, while fat serves as the main source of energy and proteins as a source of amino acids.
In 2005, British scientists Stephen Simpson and David Raubenheimer first developed the Protein leverage hypothesis. According to its conclusions, it will be Feeling of satiety determined solely by the amount of protein consumed in our diet. Then we eat until our body reaches the required dose of protein.
The problem is that we rarely eat just protein; most of the time we combine it with fats and carbohydrates. If our food… low protein we eat more overall. Many researchers are of the opinion that our current eating habits can lead to an increase in obesity. This is because many processed and industrially produced foods are low in protein but high in fat and carbohydrates. Therefore, we consume more energy to meet our protein needs. At least that’s the theory.
Since its formulation, the hypothesis has been extensively studied and confirmed in both animals and humans. However, it is not without controversy. Some scientists argue that Fats are responsible for the feeling of satiety.
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However, pure calorie counting does not take this phenomenon into account. Because if you only eat foods with few nutrients, you will feel hungry again more quickly and deprive your body of important proteins. Instead, they are healthy fillers asked. Example: unprocessed nuts. They contain a lot of protein, but also a lot of calories. However, they are considered healthy because they maintain satiety for a long time and guarantee low insulin levels.
Each person has a different metabolism, constitution and bacterial flora. Therefore, low calories is not automatically the best diet for everyone. Counting calories is therefore recommended only Awareness of the energy content of individual foods to achieve – but not to basically lose weight.
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Calculate calorie needs: see how it works
There are several formulas and methods for calculating calorie needs. However, keep in mind that no method is completely accurate as several factors come into play. Here are some common approaches:
1. Harris-Benedict Formula: This formula takes into account gender, weight, height, age and activity level. First you decide your Basal metabolic rate or BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). This is the amount of calories your body needs to maintain basic functions like breathing, heart rate and metabolism while at rest.
For men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
For women: BMR = 447,593 + (9,247 x weight in kg) + (3,098 x height in cm) – (4,330 x age in years)
After calculating your basal metabolic rate, multiply it by one Activity factor. The result gives you a rough estimate of your daily calorie needs:
- Sedentary (little or no activity): basal metabolic rate x 1.2
- Mildly active (light activity/sport 1-3 days/week): basal metabolic rate x 1.375
- Moderately active (moderate activity/sport 3-5 days/week): basal metabolic rate x 1.55
- Very active (intensive activity/sport 6-7 days/week): basal metabolic rate x 1.725
- Super active (very intense activity/sport, physical work or training twice a day): basal metabolic rate x 1.9
2. Mifflin Street Jeor’s Formula: This 1990 formula has been slightly modified and adapted to changing living conditions.
For men: BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5
For women: BMR = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161
Then, multiply the calculated value by your activity level as indicated above.
3. Online Calorie Calculator and Apps: There are many online calorie calculators and apps that can help you calculate your calorie needs. They often use similar formulas and allow you to report your activity level more accurately.
It’s important to note that these are just estimates and that your actual calorie needs may vary depending on individual metabolism, genetic factors, and other variables. If you have specific health or weight loss goals, it’s best to get in touch Nutrition specialists or medical professionalsto receive a personalized recommendation.
For guidance: See how high calorie needs are for adults by age and gender
The Disadvantages of Counting Calories
Despite its popularity, calorie counting also has some significant drawbacks that are often overlooked:
1. Simplifying the Diet: Calorie counting mainly focuses on the quantity of food, while quality is often neglected. This can cause us to limit ourselves to low-calorie options without getting enough nutrients. A balanced diet, rich in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients, is often forgotten.
2. Unhealthy relationship with food: Constantly counting calories can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Some begin to view foods as mere sources of calories, rather than enjoying the pleasure and social aspects of eating. This can lead to a dysfunctional relationship with food and potentially promote eating disorders. Calorie counting is not suitable for people who already suffer from an eating disorder.
3. Neglecting individual needs: Each body is unique and therefore individual nutritional needs vary greatly. However, calorie counting often ignores these individual differences. It does not take into account metabolism, activity level, genetic factors and personal preferences. As a result, we often become frustrated when the results achieved do not meet our expectations.
4. Stress and anxiety: Constantly counting calories can lead to increased stress and anxiety. The feeling of having to constantly control what we eat represents a significant psychological burden for many people, as this stress reduces the joy of eating and can even have negative effects on metabolism.
5. Time and Effort Required: Counting calories takes time and effort. Weighing food, finding accurate calorie counts, and logging every meal is time-consuming, even with good apps. This extra effort can be stressful and prevent us from enjoying other important activities.
Calculation of calorie needs: conclusion
While calorie counting can undoubtedly serve as a weight management tool, it’s important to recognize the potential downsides. It is advisable to have a more holistic approach develop a diet that takes into account not only calories, but also nutrient density, individual needs and mental health. It’s best to focus on a balanced diet that nourishes your body with everything necessary nutrients provided, while at the same time the The pleasure and joy of eating are preserved. Losing weight is not only fun, but it also works in the long run.