As you go about your unique healthy nutrition plan or changing your eating habits (notice that I didn’t say crash diet or detox!), one thing that you should be thinking about is food quality. This is actually much more important than simply counting calories, although that has its place, too.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers since traditional diet programs have been repeatedly harping on about how calorie intake dictates the direction your body weight moves. However, this is only one aspect of what makes up a well-balanced diet. In fact, some people can even gain weight on a low-calorie diet!
The idea that you will lose weight if the number of calories going in is less than the number of calories going out should really be thrown out the window by now.
It’s a lot more complicated than that, unfortunately, if you are looking for sustainable changes. Many people crash diet and then regain the weight back after some time specifically because this idea does not work long-term.
While there is a need for reducing the number of calories and controlling portions, it is certainly not the only factor in the equation. Genetic factors, pre-existing medical conditions, lifestyle factors, hormones and meal timing are all important considerations too. It is therefore much better to focus on where your calories come from rather than just how many calories per day are you consuming.
By changing your focus to food quality instead, here’s what happens:
1. You will ensure a more balanced nutritional intake that helps prevent chronic disease.
Nature intended for food to nourish and sustain us. Whole foods are packed with vitamins and minerals that help us fight many illnesses. So, you’ll be protecting yourself from cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disease, arthritis, heart disease and a whole host of other diseases.
By focusing on food quality, you’ll automatically eat greater quantities of natural, instead of processed, foods. This will reduce your intake of additives and preservatives that can cause long-term health problems. In fact, you can actually then eat more food because you know it’s good for you, which brings us to point number 2.
2. You will feel full for a longer period of time and that means you’ll automatically lose more weight.
Unprocessed foods provide more fibre, which makes you feel satisfied for a longer time and makes it easier to stay on your weight loss or healthy eating plan.
When you first switch to a whole foods diet, your appetite and satiety triggers may take some time to reset. But you don’t have to worry. If you’re not full, it’s okay to eat a bit more. That’s the benefit of eating whole foods – they are good for you, anyway!
3. You’ll be able to exercise more effectively.
Going on low-calorie, low nutrient diets will force your body to eventually eat up your protein stores as it thinks you are in a starvation state. Where are these protein stores? They’re your muscles! Imagine wanting to lose the fat covering the toned muscles you work so hard for, sweating it out every day but burning up that muscle instead – that’s the opposite of what you want! Even worse, you’ll feel so weak without your muscle bulk that you won’t be able to progressively increase your exercise limit.
A high-quality diet with adequate calories will provide a cleaner source of fuel for your workout sessions. You’ll feel much more energized until the end of the day.
4. You’ll have a sharper mental focus as well throughout the day.
Foods high in quality enhance mental processing and concentration, improving your overall productivity. You may think that the sugar surge from processed foods makes you more alert, but that sugar rush will crash soon enough once insulin hormone is released. You’ll find yourself even more tired and sleepy than before. Healthy whole foods trigger a slow release of sugar keeping your insulin levels more stable.
5. You’ll look younger.
Eating high-quality produce containing abundant phytonutrients will keep your skin looking radiant and clear. Focusing on food quality promotes natural weight loss and you won’t have to count calories as often. This means no wrinkles from over-thinking! Increasing your overall health will be so much easier.
So there you have it: 5 reasons why food quality is an important consideration, rather than just counting calories. Think of it this way: 100 calories from a tiny bag of crisps versus 100 calories from a salad or an apple. Despite both being 100 calories, one clearly trumps the other in nutritional value.
Switching your focus to the type of food you eat when making meal decisions will set you up better for long-term weight maintenance. It helps prevent disease and is a whole lot less depressing than yo-yo dieting.