Counting Nutrients, Not Calories

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At TACHW, we fully endorse a life of Health and Wellness. We believe that this comes from nourishing and nurturing the body you have.

Now, while this isn’t going to be specifically a post about weight loss, it needs to be acknowledged that the majority of people count calories in order to maintain or lose weight. There has, however, been a developing shift in how people perceive calories’ role in the food we eat. People are gaining an understanding that counting calories can actually be detrimental to losing weight and have a more wide-reaching effect on your health.

Hear us out on this one, we’re not crazy.

Calories are essentially a unit of measurement for the energy potential of the food you eat. Everything you eat and drink undergoes the same scientific test to determine its calorie content. What’s often completely overlooked, however, is that not every calorie is created equal. There are all sorts of factors that determine how well your body receives and deals with the energy it is provided by the food you eat.

Let’s look at the science a little closer.

Everything you eat and drink is consumed in order to sustain the cells which make up your body. Each individual cell requires specific nutritional content, without which the cell cannot function properly. When you eat, the energy (calories) provided by the food is sent to the cell in order to prepare it for the coming influx of nutrients. However when the food you eat holds less nutritional value (aka processed and refined foods), it leaves the cell confused.

It had been expecting to receive a hit of nutrients yet nothing had been delivered. Still, the cell continues to expect those nutrients and so it stores the energy (calories) for the time when it does receive its nutritional hit.

As the cell continues to be denied the nutrients it so desperately requires, it lets us know by crying out in the form of cravings. A lot of people feel these cravings and continue to send calorie based, nutrient deficient foods its way instead and the process simply continues on a downward slope.

Image Source: Instagram

Essentially, the whole calorie-counting process leads our bodies to store the energy we receive from the food we’re eating in the form of fat. In other words, we will gain weight. It also increases our stress hormone levels and slows other processes in the body. Our metabolism, for example, is knocked back a notch in order to preserve energy. This in turn leads to a storage of fat, and a disruption to digestive, hormonal and liver function. Our bodies end up struggling to digest the food we consume and are no longer efficient in removing toxins.

I’m sure you don’t need to be told that, at this point, you start to see the effects everywhere else. From your hair, skin and general mood, evidence of the stress you have put on your body by starving it of nutrients will be widespread.

By focusing on the nutrient content of the food you eat, you ensure that the cells are getting everything they require to function in a healthy and efficient way. Feed your body the correct food and it will have all the fuel it needs to process the food as it should.

Next time you are shopping and you go to turn over the label to read the calories, try looking for the more essential nutritional content instead. How will this food be beneficial to your body?

You will start to notice that the products you buy that are already packaged and labelled, generally have less nutritional value. Commonly, these foods are heavily processed and refined which means much of their goodness is gone. True, that might have a lower calorie count, however those calories are often more likely to be turned into fat as they are not accompanied with the appropriate nutrients they were designed to assist in absorbing. Conversely, some of the most densely nutrient packed foods also have a high calorie content.

Embrace wholefoods, real foods, brightly coloured foods (no, we’re not talking about M&Ms) and, if you need to count anything, count nutrients, not calories.

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