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 it? Additionally, rigorous calorie counting also has its dangers. Read on to find out if this method is right for you.
In the video: here’s how to calculate your daily calorie needs
Counting calories: what it promises and what it actually delivers
Many diets tout the benefits of calorie counting. If we consume less per day than we consume, we will automatically lose weight. The German Nutrition Society has therefore general calorie limits for every age, gender and every professional group. That’s the theory, but what does it look like in practice?
One thing is for sure: if you count calories, you get a feel for which foods have how many nutrients. One look at the packet of crisps becomes a real revelation, in a bad way of course. Because 100 grams of the popular snack contains more than 500 calories. Knowing how many calories you consume each day can help you be more careful about maintaining a slight calorie deficit. This means you eat less than your body burns through exercise, concentration and sleep – this is the only way to lose weight.
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The problem with counting calories to lose weight: Calorie intake guidelines don’t take into account how much energy your body actually uses—after all, every person is different.
The problem with calorie counting
Short-term success is usually not a problem. Some people can lose five pounds in a week. In the long term, however, success is largely absent. However, this finding is not new, as the Atkins diet trend replaced stubborn calorie counting in the 1960s. The basic idea: not about the simple amount of calories, but about Macronutrients it depends, that is, on the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The diet named after Robert Atkins is based on the low-carb approach. In the early stages of this diet, carbohydrate intake is severely limited, while fats constitute 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 their results, this will be the case Feeling of satiety determined solely by the amount of protein consumed in our food. So we eat until our body reaches the required protein dose.
The problem is that we rarely eat just protein; very often we combine it with fats and carbohydrates. If our food… low protein content we eat more overall. Many researchers are of the opinion that our current eating habits may lead to an increase in obesity. This is because many processed and industrially produced foods are low in protein but high in fats and carbohydrates. So we consume more energy to meet our protein needs. At least that’s the theory.
Since its formulation, the hypothesis has been widely studied and confirmed in both animals and humans. However, it is not without controversy. Some scientists support this Fats they 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 faster and deprive your body of important proteins. Rather, 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 keep you full for a long time and ensure low insulin levels.
Each person has a different metabolism, constitution and bacterial flora. Therefore, low calories is not automatically the best diet for everyone. Calorie counting is therefore only recommended Awareness of the energy content of individual foods gain, but not fundamentally lose weight.
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Calculating your calorie needs: here’s how it works
There are various formulas and methods for calculating calorie needs. However, keep in mind that no method is completely accurate as various factors come into play. Here are some common approaches:
1. Harris-Benedict formula: This formula takes into account your gender, weight, height, age and activity level. Decide yours first Basal metabolism 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 provides a rough estimate of your daily calorie needs:
- Sedentary (little or no activity): basal metabolic rate x 1.2
- Lightly 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 St. 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 App: There are many online calorie calculators and apps that can help you calculate your calorie needs. These often use similar formulas and allow you to report your activity level more precisely.
It’s important to note that these are estimates only and that your actual calorie needs may vary depending on your individual metabolism, genetic factors and other variables. If you have specific health or weight loss goals, it’s best to reach out to them Nutrition experts or medical professionalsto receive a personalized recommendation.
For guidance: here is how high the calorie needs of adults are based on age and gender
The disadvantages of calorie counting
Despite its popularity, calorie counting also has some significant disadvantages that are often overlooked:
1. Simplified diet: Calorie counting focuses primarily on the quantity of food, while quality is often overlooked. It can lead 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 overlooked.
2. Unhealthy relationship with food: Constantly counting calories can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Some begin to view foods as simple sources of calories instead of appreciating the pleasure and social aspects of eating. This can lead to a dysfunctional relationship with food and potentially lead to eating disorders. Calorie counting is not suitable for people who already suffer from eating disorders.
3. Neglecting individual needs: Every 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 feel frustrated when the results we get don’t meet our expectations.
4. Stress and anxiety: Constantly counting calories can lead to increased stress and anxiety. The feeling of having to constantly monitor what we eat represents a significant psychological burden for many people, as it reduces the pleasure of eating and can also have negative effects on the metabolism.
5. Time and effort required: Counting calories takes time and effort. Weighing your food, finding an accurate calorie count, and logging all your meals 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 drawbacks. It is advisable to have one more holistic approach develop a diet that takes into account not only calories, but also nutrient density, individual needs and mental health. It is 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 term.