Calories in vs. calories out for fat loss.
Updated: May 15, 2020
When it comes to fat loss, calories in vs calories out is one of the biggest talked about aspect of nutrition within the fitness community. There is a big misconception within the fitness community that there are good calories and bad calories. Calories quite simply are units of energy, so ultimately when it comes down to it, there are no good or bad calories. 200 calories of chicken and broccoli is the same as 200 calories of chocolate, on paper.
However, how your body processes these foods will be very different. The chicken and broccoli will have far more micronutrients, fibre, protein and will be more satiating than the chocolate. The chicken and broccoli will also have a greater thermic effect within the body, meaning that the body will need to burn more calories in order to process these foods, which will then change the energy balance within the body.
So yes, even though a calorie is still technically a calorie no matter what the food. Eating a diet that’s based around more Whole Foods, fibre and lean protein will be a much better approach for fat loss than just thinking that a calorie is just a calorie and it really doesn’t matter. Having a nutrition plan like this will help keep you feeling fuller for longer, helping avoid binge eating and cravings. Higher protein foods will not only help with satiety but will also support muscle growth and repair. Also a diet higher in micronutrients, will support optimal health making you feel better from day to day than a diet full of highly processed foods and sugar.
With that said, I’m a big believer in adopting more of an 80/20 split when it comes to nutrition. 80% whole unprocessed foods and 20% whatever you like. This can be treats such as chocolate, sweets, pizza, burgers etc. in my opinion, this approach will not only help you achieve fat loss results far easier, as you’ll be more likely to stay consistent with your nutrition plan, but will also ensure that you do not develop a bad relationship with food. When always trying to eat “clean” healthy foods and not allowing yourself the odd treat here and there, you will begin to view food as either good or bad. This can be a problem, as it will be extremely difficult to avoid these “bad” foods forever. Eventually, you’ll get invited out to a birthday party, meal with friends, social event etc, which will likely lead you to eating these so called “bad” foods, causing you to feel extremely guilty, angry or even depressed the following day. This could then result in you giving up and reverting back to your old eating habits undoing any results previously achieved.
At the end of the day, as long as you’re in a calorie deficit (roughly 300-500 calories per day is a good guide line) you will lose weight. The types of foods you eat will not matter, however ensuring the majority of your foods come from whole, unprocessed foods with some treats included from time to time, achieving an energy deficit will be far easier, support better overall health and will just make your weight loss journey far more enjoyable and sustainable over time.
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