Is It Better To Count Calories Or Carbs

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Pros And Cons Of Counting Calories

Low carb is better than calorie counting

To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit. That means you need to burn more calories than you consume. You can burn more calories through exercise or increased daily activity . You can also create a deficit if you consume fewer calories each day. So calories do count.

Calorie counting may or may not be the best weight loss strategy for every person. A benefit of calorie counting is that it helps you monitor how much food you’re consuming. Calorie data is readily available for most foods, and for many people, reducing calories is safe and effective.

However, it does not work for everyone. Not all calorie counters and apps are accurate, especially if you don’t know for sure how much you are eating .

And for some people, counting calories could lead to disordered eating. There is also a risk of nutritional deficiencies if you don’t take a holistic view of your calorie intake .

Quality Of The Calories You Eat

Dietitians pay attention to a foods glycemic index and glycemic load that is, how quickly and how much it will increase your blood glucose levels. A rise in blood glucose triggers the release of insulin, which in turn influences energy metabolism and storage of excess energy as fat.

Foods like white rice, cakes, cookies and chips are all high on the glycemic index/load. Green vegetables, raw peppers, mushrooms and legumes are all low on the glycemic index/load. There is some evidence to suggest that foods lower on the glycemic index/load may be better for keeping blood sugar levels regulated regardless of the calories they contain.

Reward centers in the brain light up when people eat high glycemic index/load foods, highlighting the pleasurable and addictive effect of foods like candy or white breads.

The fiber content of food is another thing to consider. Your body cant digest fiber found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans for energy. So foods high in fiber tend to have less metabolizable energy and can help you feel full on fewer calories.

So Do Calories Still Count

Yes, calories absolutely do count, but that is not the only factor that matters. Calories from different foods are not all equal. Many of the foods we think of on a typical low calorie diet tend to be low in healthy fats and protein.

  • For example, 300 calories worth of plain salad, popcorn, and fruit will certainly provide vitamins and fiber, but they lack protein and healthy fats. Protein and fat both digest more slowly, which leads to a more gradual rise in blood sugar. This also tends to keep us feeling full longer.
  • In contrast, 300 calories worth of chicken, avocado, and spinach is full of vitamins and fiberas well as protein and healthy fat.

Because the low carbohydrate diet has more filling and satisfying protein and healthy fats, it can also help reduce cravings for some higher carbohydrate foods. One study found that over a two year period, people who reduced their carbohydrate intake had fewer cravings for those high carb foods.

You may be surprised one day when you realize you do not miss the foods you cut back on, as much as you thought you would. This also makes a low carbohydrate plan easier to stick to long term compared to a low fat diet .

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Foods Rich In Calories Vs Carbs

All food contains calories. Examples of calorie-rich foods include animal fats, such as lard and fish oil, vegetable oil, salad dressing, peanut butter, candy bars, cheese, fried foods and processed meat such as sausages.

Examples of foods that are high in carbohydrates include bread, potatoes, rice, fruits, soft drinks and sodas, pasta and noodles, beans and cereal.

Pros And Cons Of Counting Carbs

Carbs &  Cals Carb &  Calorie Counter: Count Your Carbs &  Calories with ...

Following a low-carb diet can be helpful for people who need to monitor their carb intake . Tracking carb intake is relatively easy, since nutrition labels clearly list carb countsand once you get familiar with which foods are higher and lower in carbs, it’s even easier. And some people do find that reducing carbs does help them lose weight.

There are also risks of this eating pattern, however. Counting carbs may lead to overconsumption of foods that do not have carbs, but are high in calories or other macronutrients . And as with calories, it’s hard to count carbs on foods that don’t have a nutrition label.

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Should You Count Carbs Or Calories To Lose Weight

When it comes to losing weight, both a low-carbohydrate diet and counting calories can help you shed pounds and keep them off, as long as you stick with your chosen plan.

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But that’s about where the similarities end between these two dieting approaches.

Studies suggest that many people see results more quickly on a low-carb diet, but in the end, it’s important to choose the diet that works best for you.


Speak with your doctor before starting any weight-loss plan, to make sure it’s the right move for you based on your health status and wellness goals.

Should I Track Calories Or Fat When Trying To Lose Weight

The short answer is both.

Calories help you understand how much energy your body gets from the food you eat fats are one source of that energy.

So, in terms of weight loss, its important to find out how many calories you can eat per day without gaining or losing weight.

A simple way to do this is by counting calories.

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body uses in a day.

You can then use that information to cut back on some of your favorite go-tos to start losing weight.

An easy way to make the calorie counting process easier is with intermittent fasting.

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Calories Carbs Or Fats: Which Is Worse For My Health

If youre trying to eat healthier, you may have heard that cutting calories is the best course of action. Or maybe you heard from your friend at work that cutting out all carbs and loading up on fats is the thing to do. And yet, every time you see your doctor, she suggests lowering your fat intake to improve your cholesterol. So, which is the real culprit for bad health: total calories, carbs or fats?

Registered dietitian Priscilla Benavides, MS, LD, says it depends.

The goal should be a well-balanced diet that provides enough, but not too much, of each nutrient that we need, Benavides said. To start out, you may find it easiest to focus on just one part of your diet, which could be total calories, carbs or fats. Which one you decide to focus on first depends on what health issue or goal that youre trying to address.

Whether you want to lower your blood sugar, improve your heart health or lose weight, Benavides breaks down which approach may contribute the most to your specific health concern.

Research On Very Low Calorie Diets

How to Lose Weight: Carbs vs. Calories

Research shows that caloric restriction can help people with type 2 diabetes achieve non-diabetic glucose levels.

One 8-week very low calorie diet study, found that 87% of patients having diabetes < 4 years and 50% of patients having diabetes > 8 years, saw clinical improvements in fasting blood sugar levels, with a 50% chance of eliminating all diabetes therapies, including medication.

A 2017 clinical trial, randomized people with type 2 diabetes to follow either the standard diabetes diet or a very low calorie diet for 12 to 20 weeks.

The results of the study showed a large percentage of the calorie restricted group lost over 30 pounds/15 kg, and 46% achieved complete diabetes remission.

An important thing to note is that the low calorie diet was also a low carbohydrate diet, containing between 122 to 126 grams of carbs per day. Even the diet recommended to participants after the study, was you guessed it low carb!

While the results for very low calorie diets are very impressive, you must have clinical guidance to follow a diet so low in calories .

Beyond needing clinical guidance, very low calorie diets are not sustainable long term. And restricting calories that low will inevitably lead to fatigue, along with the potential for vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

The good news is that low carb diets are equally effective for achieving diabetes remission, without the need to restrict calories so low!

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Counting Carbs Vs Calories: Which Is Better For Weight Loss

Trying to lose weight? Chances are youre facing the great debate: counting carbs vs. calories. So whats the right answer? And whats the difference between carbs and calories anyway?

No matter how youve decided to work on your diet, starting to track either carbs or calories will help you lose weight. But which method is better for long-term weight loss?

Habits Based Interventions For Weight Loss

Similarly with habit based and mindfulness interventions , the benefits are both of longer duration, and of greater sustainability.

Their benefits over other weight loss approaches is that they provide skills, not just information.

These skills allow you to reduce or eliminate eating patterns and behaviours that not only help you lose weight but also provide a longer term eating approach that is more flexbile. They also create behavioural flexbility meaning they teach you how to avoid the on and off again mentality of a diet. They are aimed at changing your mindset towards food as well as your eating behaviours so there is a two-fold, more lasting effect.

Approaches include a variety of behaviours including routinising mealtimes, cultivating mindful and conscious eating practices, pre-planning meals and learning to deal with trigger foods.

These techniques instill long term mindset shifts, in how people view, approach and respond to food-based stimuli, allowing you to be more calm and conscious when making the food choices you want to make and avoiding the on and off again mentality that can trip you up with other weight loss approaches.

I am a huge fan of using these kinds of approaches due to the focus on health, effective and long term weight management and overall positive relationships with food.

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Energy Actually Available To Your Body

In the late 1800s, chemist W.O. Atwater and his colleagues devised a system to figure out how much energy that is, how many calories various foods contain. Basically, he burned up food samples and recorded how much energy they released in the form of heat.

Not every bit of energy in food that can combust in the lab is actually available to your body, though. What scientists call metabolizable energy is the difference between the total energy of the food consumed and the energy that passes out of your body, undigested, in feces and urine. For each of the three macronutrients proteins, carbohydrates and fats Atwater devised a percentage of the calories they contained that would actually be metabolizable.

According to the Atwater system, one gram of each macronutrient is estimated to provide a certain number of calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture still uses these calculations today to come up with an official calorie number for every food.

Oh No The Article Is Going To Say Neither Is Good

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Well, not quite.

Ultimately no approach with weight loss is going to suit everyone, but either approach can work well with professional advice that shows you how to make them balanced and healthy and how to maintain it.

But, if after reading this, neither of these options tickle your fancy, there are other ways!

In my opinion, the biggest gap with both diets is that they dont include equal parts WHAT to eat as well as HOW TO STICK TO IT.

To fill those gaps, two other options may appeal to you.

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Be Present To Shed Pounds

Recent research found that when people did a short mindfulness exercise called a body scan meditationin which you take stock of how you feel insidethey were better able to pick up on internal cues that signal hunger and fullness. People who are more mindful have also been shown to experience fewer weight fluctuations over time.

Even though eating quality calories will help you crave treats less, there’s still room for the occasional indulgence. Dr. Ludwig is a fan of dark chocolate, which has heart, brain, and satiety benefits. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can keep the occasional cookie in the mix. “After cleaning the metabolic slate and lowering their insulin, people may be able to enjoy pastries, pasta, etcetera in moderation,” says Dr. Ludwig. If you miss these foods, he recommends experimenting to see what you can handle before cravings are triggered. “For others whose metabolism doesn’t tolerate that as much, the benefits of being in control of hunger and not having to fight cravings will be much greater than the fleeting pleasures of those processed carbohydrates.”

As for Rabe, she ended her year of dodging calories by embarking on a new one in which she embraced fat and reduced sugar. She lost about as much weight while gaining leanness, strength, and a steadier stream of energy.

“I feel so much freer to not be restricted and obsessed over calories,” she says. “I’ve made some really major changes in the quality of my diet, and I feel I can sustain them.”

Burn Body Fat By Eating Fat

The body is smarter than that. Mistakenly sensing your bodys fuel tank is empty, you go to fuel up again

The body doesnt actually need the fuel, so its going to store it for future use. What may that storage area be? Body fat.

As Eugene wrote about on his blog in Supplements Worth Taking#1 Fish Oil , fats like extra virgin olive oil and fish oil actually have properties inherent to them that speed the fat loss process.

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But What About Calories In Calories Out

Youve probably grown up hearing that in order to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than you burn off, right? This statement is still true, but its not the full story. Its almost impossible to know exactly how many calories youre consuming, without using very precise technology. Most calorie counts on food labels are created based on the amount of calories in each nutrient in a food:

  • Carbohydrates 4 calories per gram
  • Protein 4 calories per gram
  • Fat 9 calories per gram

These numbers are generally accurate, but they dont account for the differences in how the human body digests calories from different foods. DID YOU KNOW that some research has found that the number of calories on a label may differ up to 32% from the number of calories that we actually obtain from the food ?!

What Are The Different Types Of Carbs

Calorie Counting or Low-Carb Diets?

There are 3 types of carbs:

  • Sugars, such as the natural sugar in fruit and milk or the added sugar in soda and many other packaged foods.
  • Starches, including wheat, oats, and other grains starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes and dried beans, lentils, and peas.
  • Fiber, the part of plant foods that isnt digested but helps you stay healthy.
  • Sugars and starches raise your blood sugar, but fiber doesnt.

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    /6pros And Cons Counting Carbs

    Unlike calories, finding the right amount of carbs in food can be a bit of a challenging task. You may not find the net carb content of all the food items. Even the food you buy from the supermarket might have listed carbs under three different headings: Total carb, dietary fiber and sugar.

    Besides, in a low-calorie diet, you are allowed to eat all kinds of food, all you have to do is take care of the calories and manage the portion size. But in a low- carb diet, you might have to avoid some sources of carbs.

    Low-carb diet is good for people suffering from type 1 and type 2 diabetes to manage the blood sugar level. After losing weight on a low-carb diet you might maintain the same calorie intake for a while to stay in shape.

    Choosing Fat Over Carbs To Lose Weight

    When youre trying to lose weight, eating fat in place of carbs can actually help your efforts. Its a myth that eating fat makes you fat.

    Its eating too many calories from fat that can make you fat.

    Fat does not raise insulin levels as much as carbs do.

    So when you cut out carbs and eat fat instead, your insulin levels go down and youre able to burn more fat for energy.

    Whats more, certain dietary fats can help you feel full and satisfied, so its easier to stick with a reduced-calorie meal plan key for anyone who is trying to lose weight.

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    Are Low Carb Diets Effective For Short And Long Term For Weight Loss

    Low carb or keto style diets have been touted as the solution for everything from depression, to , to cognitive health and . They are designed to shift around the relative amounts of macronutrients in your diet, with a particular focus on lowering your carbohydrate intake and eating more fat and sometimes but to a lesser extent, protein.

    A low carb diet can certainly work for some people and it will create effective weight loss – as long as you stick to it. The higher fat and protein content can keep you feel fuller , and can help with reducing sugar cravings. Some people love the perceived open license to eat bacon and cream but its less of an option for people who are dairy intolerant, get constipated easily or exercise frequently and need the quick access to energy .

    From a medical point of view, a strict keto diet is recommended in cases of and those with certain , as that is what the evidence supports.

    That said, the evidence supporting lower carb diets diets in the prevention of the progression from pre-diabetes and is strong, but the same results are achieved from an with no focus on lowering carbs .

    To be honest, I rarely recommend diets that go lower than 50-100gms carbohydrate daily for my weight loss clients. Why?

    Firstly, restricting carbs can send you on a mental rollercoaster and I really dislike promoting any type of eating that creates more grief when weight loss is already hard enough.

    Why a mental roller coaster?

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