Calories in Foods
Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites
Why calories matter and how they impact what you weigh.
Why is counting calories so important when anyone is attempting to lose those unhealthy pounds?
Because calories to the human body equal energy - or life. Without energy, our body would diet.
And it receives all of its energy from the foods and the beverages that we choose to insert into our daily diet menus.
Too Few Calories Consumed to Support Current Weight Equals Weight Loss
When the energy (calories) goes into the body, it must be sufficient to meet the needs of the body. It we consume too little energy, we experience weight loss. If we consume too much energy, then we see weight gain.
There are other factors which contribute to weight gain and weight loss other than the food and drink that we consume.
For example, our activity level impacts our energy reserves. If we consume too many calories we may not experience weight gain if we are able to expend those extra calories through activity.
Calories in Food, Wide Ranges of Values, Even Where Same-Foods are Concerned
One thing that makes losing those unwanted pounds so difficult is that every food has its own set of nutritional values, including caloric values.
While a banana contains about 100 calories, an apricot contains about 17 calories. Each are considered healthy fruit group selections, but both differ greatly in nutritional values - although they reside within the same Food Group.
Another factor that influences calories in foods is the size of the food. Take our example of the banana; while a large banana contains about 100 calories - an extra large one or an extra small specimen will either contain fewer or more calories.
These are just two reasons why a diet plan that is built upon the official Food Pyramid can fail.
Maintaining our recommended weight isn't as simple as eating x-amount of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy food selections.
We must also look at their caloric content as well as the size of the food.
Some Foods Require Measuring to Ensure Accurate Caloric Intake
We must measure certain foods - such as mashed potatoes or rice or pasta.
In addition, each Food Group comes with specialized notes for the daily dieter. Let's review a few of those health notes.
One-Half of Grain Intake Should be in Whole Grain Form
- Grain Group: the individual should aim to make at minimum one-half of their grain selections in the form of whole grains.
Dairy Food Selections - Reduced Fat for Weight Loss
- Dairy Group: foods chosen from this group should be in their reduced fat state. In addition, cream, butter and cream cheese are not considered as Dairy Group Foods nor are they housed within the Food Pyramid as they are considered too high in saturated fat by healthy standards.
Fruits & Vegetables - Pick Multiple Colors & Add Citrus-Rich, Green-Leafy Foods To Your Daily Diet
- Fruit Group: a good mix of colors is vital for total nutrition in addition to a good selection of citrus foods which assist in building immunity against disease and illness.
- Vegetable Group: it is important to get a well-rounded mix of vegetables and the meal plate should contain several colors.
Green leafy vegetables, yellow and orange too should be included in the day's diet menu.
Lean Proteins, But We Suggest Vegetable-Based Proteins Over Animal-Based for Optimum Health
- Protein Group: foods should be free of skin and visible fat; because red meats are high in certain types of fat they should be limited.
Seeds, nuts, beans and eggs are rich sources of protein and make excellent alternatives for the more fatty proteins. Fish and shellfish should be included at least two times per week in the diet.
Counting Calories for Weight Loss
Daily Set Calories
When the individual goes on a weight loss plan the most influencing element is that of caloric consumption.
Exercise to Enhance Weight Loss Results
Exercise is also a vital component of overall health, but once an overage of calories has been consumed, it is very difficult to burn the excess off.
It is wiser to consume the energy needs for recommended goal weight and build the diet plan around this number of calories.
Weight Loss Formula
An excellent formula for losing weight is to decrease current caloric intake by 500 calories; this will allow a rate of weight loss of two pounds per week - or about 10 pounds per month and is a safe rate for fat loss.
Depending upon your current weight, daily calories will have to be adjusted. For example, if Mary needs to lose 100 pounds, then she can most likely reduce her daily diet by 500 calories; she will need to adjust this amount at some point to continue losing pounds.
However, if Fran needs to lose only five pounds - she won't have room in her current daily diet to make such a drastic caloric reduction.
She might benefit best by upping her activity level to burn off those five pounds as well as decreasing her daily energy intake by 50 to 100 calories.
When it comes to effective weight loss, the calories contained in the foods that we consume truly matter but they must be managed in a safe, logical manner to protect our good health.
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