You have heard this over and over again. Weight loss is all about counting calories, as long as you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. While this is true, how many of us actually can maintain a lifestyle of counting calories, or have the time and effort to track everything that you put into your mouth.
All it takes is one single mistake when you are counting calories to sabotage your weight loss goals. Now, you don’t have to worry about making the same mistake or counting calories.
According to an article in The New York Times, a study that was published in JAMA shows that people who are eating healthy, without worrying about calories or limiting their food portions, were able to lose significant amounts of weight over time.
The study use participants that were overweight or obese and split them up into groups of two. One group will be on a low-carb diet, while the other group will be on a low-fat diet. The study aim was to find out if genetics played a role in how a person responded to a certain type of diet for weight loss.
Besides teaching the participants about eating healthy and choosing the correct foods for their respective diets through dieticians, the participants did not need to count calories and they were told to eat till they were full. The participants were also told to meet federal guidelines for exercising but generally did not increase their exercise levels.
The result? It shows that both groups of participants lost on average 5kg without counting calories. Genetics did not affect their weight loss as well, regardless of which diet they were on.
This does not mean that calories don’t play a part in weight loss, after all, according to Dr Christopher Gardner, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and lead author for this study says that both groups of participants ultimately consumed lesser calories on average after the study ended.
Aside from weight loss, eating healthy can also be beneficial for long-term health and well being. While it may not be the most sustainable way for maintaining weight loss, it will have a lesser room for error and could possibly be a more effective way of losing weight. While eating healthy, you will also be consuming lesser calories at the same time. It will also save you the headache of counting calories.
“I think one place we go wrong is telling people to figure out how many calories they eat and then telling them to cut back on 500 calories, which makes them miserable,” he said. “We really need to focus on that foundational diet, which is more vegetables, more whole foods, less added sugar and less refined grains,” says Dr Gardner.
Then again, you should really start to cut out all your favourite goodies slowly, too extreme and too fast, may result in a rebound. You may not be sustained mentally and start to have strong cravings for those foods, which can result in regaining all your weight.
If all else fails, you can go back to counting calories. Well, the formula never goes wrong, calories in vs calories out.