Friday, June 8, 2012

The Truth About Calories

It would appear that you cannot go anywhere without being confronted by calories. Not only do all food packaging list the calories contained in the food therein but also restaurants, and even some fast food chains, now print the calories on the menus. Just because the calories are listed on the products, does this mean that we are fully aware of what calories are, how they work and how many we should be consuming in a day?

How many calories do we need each day?

The recommended average calorie intake for a man is 2500 calories per day while a woman should only consume 2000 calories per day. This of course is only a guideline. 

How does cutting calories help with weight loss?

Many people will tell you the only real way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. This is in fact the truth. Each pound of fat your body stores represents 3,500 calories of unused energy. In order to lose one pound of fat, you either have to burn 3,500 calories or eat 3,500 calories less over a period of time.

In order to lose weight by cutting calories, firstly look at how many calories you consume in your day to day life and compare it to the daily need. Keep in mind the guidelines, but note that each persons’ calorie need will vary depending on gender, weight, height and level of daily physical activity. An easy way to start is by cutting your calories by 300 a day in addition to adding some simple exercises to burn an additional 200 calories (a total loss of 500 calories a day). By doing this, you will be burning 3,500 calories a week or one pound of body fat per week.

It is recommended that no more than 2 pounds or 7,000 calories be lost per week for lasting weight loss, however, you may find that if you are just starting a diet you will gradually lose more calories at the beginning whilst your body gets used to the diet. 

By reducing the amount of calories slowly, you are more likely to maintain your diet as you are not undertaking such a dramatic change and you are therefore more likely to keep the weight off once you have achieved your weight goal. 

What are good and bad calories?

Calories are calories whether they come from carrots or cookies but that’s not the end of the story. Foods are diverse and offer more than just calories so to truly evaluate the quality of calories, you need to consider their nutrient density. “Good” calories are nutrient-dense which means you get more from the good calories you consume. For example, you will get more nutrients from 100 calories of milk compared to 100 calories of fizzy pop. Calories from fizzy pop provide sugar and that is about all. That same number of calories from milk would provide protein, calcium and vitamins A and D - therefore, the milk is a more nutrient-dense food.

But even the most nutrient-dense foods can get us into trouble. Olive oil and avocados for instance are high in heart-healthy fats but the calories can stack up quickly and therefore portion control is still a key element.

“Bad” calories tend to score low in the nutrient department and eating too much of them can negatively affect your health. Foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol can lead to heart disease and a diet overflowing with sugary foods is not good for your waistline. That said, all foods can be included in a healthy diet as long as the majority are “good” and those that are not are only eaten in moderation.  Great news that we can still enjoy chocolate as an occasional treat!

Help with cutting calories

Many of us are unaware of the calories we are putting into our bodies each and every day. Starting to look at the labels on the foods we are eating is a great start in monitoring your calories. Many cookbooks provide nutrition facts at the bottom of their recipes along with ways to modify certain ingredients to make your meal healthier.  However, sometimes we just need that extra hand.  

There are many products on the market that offer to help us cut calories but how do you know which one is going to give you the results you are after? 

FutureShape offers a number of products, which provide an easy weight management solution. The range includes a Carb Blocker, Fat Burner, Appetite Reducer and Fat Binder. Using FutureShape products will mean that you can lose weight without having to make too drastic changes to your diet meaning that you can slowly change your daily lifestyle over time whilst still achieving great results. Using products like those offered by FutureShape, means that you are not facing your diet alone. 

FutureShape products offer a natural solution with no known side effects and should most definitely be on your list of products to try!

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