How to track your calories? How to measure what amount to eat for weight loss or weight gain? What is the way to calculate and how can an individual track their calories?
Calories are a unit of energy that is commonly used to calculate the energy composition of meals and beverages. Managing your food consumption in today’s dietary pattern might be difficult.
Calorie counting is one method to address this issue, and it is often employed for weight loss.
This is a complete guide on calorie counting that covers all you need to know.
What are Calories?
Firstly, let’s know what exactly are Calories. Calories are energy quantities provided by food or drink. Calorie counts are frequently given on food items, and gadgets like the best fitness trackers allow you to track how many calories you’re burning by completing various activities. Certain foods, such as oily, fried, or processed foods, have a higher calorie content. Other items, such fresh fruit and vegetables, contain fewer calories. Some nutritious fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, might be high in calories, but low-calorie foods, such as diet Coke, have little nutritional value.
We require calories in order to move around, remain warmer, grow, function, think, and play. Even our blood circulation and digestion require energy from calories to function properly.
Each of the three key macronutrients we consume contains calories: carbs, lipids, and proteins. Each macronutrient has the following calorie content per gram:
- 4 calories from carbohydrates
- 9 calories from fat
- 4 calories from protein
Other macronutrients, such as fibre, have different calorie contents based on whether they are soluble or insoluble.
Why Do Calories Matter?
It’s typical to hear that calories don’t matter and that monitoring calories is a time-wasting endeavor.
Calories, on the other hand, do matter when it comes to your weight.
This is a truth that has been repeatedly demonstrated in scientific research known as overfeeding studies. These studies ask participants to purposefully overeat and then assess the consequences on their weight and health. According to one study, weight loss regimens that incorporated calorie counting resulted in an additional 7 pounds (3.3 kilograms) of weight loss than those that did not.
Overfeeding studies have consistently shown that when people consume more calories than they expend, they gain weight. This simple fact suggests that tracking calories and limiting your consumption can help you avoid or lose weight, as long as you keep to it. This simple fact suggests that tracking calories and limiting your consumption can help you avoid or lose weight, as long as you keep to it.
What Should You Eat in Terms of Calories?
The number of calories you require is determined by characteristics such as gender, age, weight, and activity level.
A 25-year-old male athlete, for example, will require more calories than a 70-year-old woman who does not exercise. If you want to lose weight, you must generate a caloric intake by eating less calories than your body burns.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicate that women consume 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day, while males consume 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day. The less calories you require, the less energetic you are.
However, as the guidelines state, the overall number of calories a person requires each day can fluctuate. It may be affected by your age, weight, gender, level of regular activities, and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) specifies how many calories per day should come from carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins in order to acquire adequate energy and nutrition:
- Carbohydrates should contribute for 45–65% of total calories.
- Fats should comprise for 20% to 30% of the total.
- Protein should provide for 10% to 35% of total calories.
These percentages are for the average person, and they may differ for newborns and young children, who require more fat in their diet.
How do you calculate how much food you should eat to lose weight?
Any weight loss plan’s main goal is to eat less calories than your body needs. To achieve this aim in a sustainable and nutritious manner, you must not deprive yourself of essential nutrients such as healthy fats and carbohydrates.
If your weight loss strategy includes calorie tracking, you can use your total daily calorie goal to help you calculate portion sizes.
In contrast to serving size, portion size should be estimated based on the number of calories you intend to consume in a day. You’d then plan your menus by estimating how much of each food you could consume while staying inside that restriction.
So long as dietary demands are addressed, portion sizes can change. The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture set forth these objectives in the 2020–2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines.
You can set a daily calorie goal with the use of a calorie goal calculator. Your present weight, height, gender, degree of activity, and desired weight loss are taken into account in the calculation.
Once you’ve determined how much to eat, you may need to take extra precautions to verify that the portion sizes are correct.
1. Attempt the plate method.
- Vegetables should take up half of the plate, whether they are steamed or added to a salad.
- Lean proteins, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, lentils, and tofu, should make up one-fourth of your plate.
- Use whole grains and other complex carbohydrates to cover the final quarter of the dish.
2. Make use of portion-control dishes.
You can decide to spend money on a set of portion control plates, serving utensils, and drink glasses to help you achieve your weight loss objective. The dishes frequently have innovative patterns that can aid in determining suitable portion proportions. Looking for a different route? Smaller serving dishes are also effective since they give your food a heartier appearance and can affect how much you serve yourself.
3. Use a scale to weigh food.
When beginning a weight loss strategy, especially in the beginning, a digital scale can be helpful in understanding portion sizes. If a scale is not available, other means of measurement are possible.
4. Consume food mindfully.
Ask yourself why you’re consuming and whether you’re actually hungry the next time you see yourself unconsciously munching on items high in energy. Eat from a plate or bowl after portioning out the food rather than straight from a box.
How do you calculate how much food you should eat to gain weight?
To increase weight, you must consume more calories than your body expends. If you want to gain weight slowly, aim for an extra 300–500 calories every day, or if you want to gain weight quickly, aim for an extra 700–1,000 calories.
For the best possible rate of growth, development, and health, people must consume enough high-quality proteins from animal products. Protein intake of up to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day may be safe for healthy people, with a daily maximum of 3.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Among the foods high in protein include meats, fish, eggs, numerous dairy products, legumes, nuts, and others. If getting enough protein in your diet is a challenge for you, protein supplements like whey protein can be helpful.
However, consuming adequate calories may become more difficult as a result of protein’s strong ability to considerably lower appetite and hunger.
Furthermore, consuming too much protein may make you more susceptible to developing heart disease. Consult your doctor to see if increasing your protein consumption would help you accomplish your weight gain goal safely.
1. Increase your carbohydrate and fat consumption.
If you want to gain weight, eat a lot of high-carb and high-fat foods. At each meal, consume a sufficient amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Avoiding diets like intermittent fasting may be a good idea. This eating regimen may be beneficial for losing weight and for other reasons, but it may make it much more difficult to consume enough calories to gain weight.
2. Eat more items that are high in energy
Aim to include energy-dense munchies as often as doable and help ensure to consume at least three meals a day.
3. Increase your consumption of high-energy foods.
Up your consumption of meals that are high in energy, It is critical to consume largely whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
However, because these foods are typically more satisfying than processed junk food, it is more difficult to consume enough calories from them.
The following foods are high in energy and may aid in weight gain:
- A variety of nuts, including almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and peanuts
- Various types of dried fruit, such as raisins, dates, and prunes
- Dairy products with a high-fat content, such as whole milk, full-fat yogurt, cheese, and cream
- fatty acids and oils such as avocado and extra virgin olive
- grain products, such as brown rice and oats, which are whole grains.
- Various types of meat, including lamb, hog, beef, and chicken; you can also select fattier cuts
- potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes are examples of tubers.
- Dark chocolate, avocados, peanut butter, coconut milk, cereal, and trail mix are additional foods that are high in energy.
How can you figure out how many calories you’ve consumed, and how can you track them online?
One of the simplest ways to count calories is to use an app or online tool to log your meals and monitor your food consumption.
- MyFitnessPal • Lose it!
Making your own meals at home gives you control over what goes on your plate and makes it much simpler to monitor how many calories you consume. It’s also an excellent way to manage portion sizes and make healthy substitutions with your favorite nutritional ingredients.
The number of calories you require each day is determined by whether you want to maintain, lose, or gain weight, as well as other criteria such as gender, age, height, present weight, activity level, and metabolic health.
Although counting calories can help you lose weight, it’s also crucial to maintain a balanced diet and examine the total nutritional content of the items you eat.
You may be able to lose weight and enhance your health by making easy dietary and lifestyle adjustments, such as exercising, drinking lots of water, and boosting your protein intake.