According to the Boston Medical Center, 45 million Americans try a diet each year. Those Americans spend approximately $33 billion on various weight-loss products. So many people are trying to find a way to change their weight and searching for the easiest, quickest way to get to do it. Do I cut out carbs? Do I go low fat? Do I take this pill or drink this shake? Do I count calories? Our question to you is why should you do any of this?
People are trying to change their diets so they can lose weight, maintain, or gain it. They are either adding and/or subtracting something from their eating regiment. Losing, maintaining, or gaining weight all relies on the almighty calorie (a unit equivalent to the large calorie expressing heat-producing or energy-producing value in food when oxidized in the body).
There are two things which can be done with calories; they are either expended or ingested. The balance between calories taken in and expended is what determines your weight. Weight loss can be attained by increasing the amount of calories expended, decreasing the amount of calories taken in, or a combination of the two.
If weight maintenance is the goal, then the amount of calories expended and consumed must be in balance. Weight gain is attainable by increasing the amount of calories ingested, decreasing caloric expenditure, or a combination of the two.
Caloric consumption is easily understood. Everything you eat or drink has a caloric value. Add these together and you have the total number or calories consumed during that time period. Caloric expenditure is much more complex. Calculating resting metabolic rate, energy consumed due to exercise, and the thermal effect of exercise. Resting metabolic rate is determined by your weight, age, height, and gender (charts/calculators are easily found online). The energy consumed due to exercise and the lingering thermal effects are determined by the type, length, and intensity of exercise you perform. In non-technical jargon, exercise expends calories and eating/drinking consumes calories.
So what are these so called “miracle diets” doing? They restrict the amount of calories you consume by decreasing or increasing the amount of macronutrients you consume. Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. One gram of carbohydrates or proteins contains nine calories but one gram of fat contains 9 calories. The daily recommended intake of carbohydrates is 45-65% of your caloric intake. Proteins should consist of 10-30% and fats should make up no more than 30% of your daily caloric intake. Diets will persuade you to cut out carbohydrates, fats, or increase proteins in most cases. Why restrict these macronutrients when research states your body should consume them in these ranges? A better way to control your caloric consumption is to keep your macronutrient percentages in check. In order to lose weight, these percentages should be maintained and the overall caloric intake should be reduced (500 calories/day = 3,500/week = 1lb). Below are a list of foods which constitute as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
I urge you to stop the gimmicks. Don’t cut out carbohydrates, take diet pills, or any other extreme measure. Incorporate a variety of foods in order to meet your daily requirements. Plan out your eating and exercise regimen so that you meet your goals of weight loss, maintenance, or gain through caloric balance. Ditch the “diets” and eat healthy.
Carbohydrates – Fruits, Vegetables, Grains
Proteins –Meats (Chicken, Pork, Fish, Beef) Nuts, Legumes, Vegetables, Dairy
Fats – Dairy, Oil, Nuts, Meats
Written by: Kyle Schneider