You might be struggling with weight gain, and considering changing your eating patterns to lose weight. To do this, two options are available – calorie counting or carb counting.
Though both options can help you to lose weight as long as you stick with your chosen plan, there are significant differences between them. It has been suggested that many people see results faster on a low-carb diet. However, choosing the diet that works best for you is crucial.
Reading food labels is essential to any of the two diet approaches you choose. If you’re using a calorie counting approach, it’s the calories per serving you’re reading which makes it an important consideration. This is because the food you are considering eating may comprise more than one serving.
It’s not just calories that are listed on food labels. Yes, carbs, too, are! There are three listings for carbs. They are; total carbohydrates, dietary fibre, and sugar. Total carbohydrates means the total number of carbohydrates that exist in the food; dietary fibre is the amount of food that contains dietary fibre. Sugars are found naturally in foods (but can also be added).
Do you want to know the preferred one? Here’s what you need to know to determine which approach would best fit you, your family, and your lifestyle.
The calorie counting approach
Every food (some drinks included) contains calories. Each macronutrient can get calories, like fat, carbohydrates, protein, and alcohol, which the body uses in the form of energy. Calorie counting aims to burn more calories than what you eat. “Calories in vs. calories out” is a term used to describe calorie counting.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has said that to lose one pound a week; you need to reduce your daily calories by 500. Or better still, lose two pounds by reducing 1,000 calories per day.
To do this, you need to consume fewer calories and burn calories via exercise. The number of calories you need depend on various factors such as your height, age, activity level, sex, and more.
The carb counting approach
As for carb counting, not every food contains carbohydrates like calories. Some foods and drinks that contain carbs are sugary, refined, and starchy foods. Examples of such foods are; pasta, bread, soft drinks, corn, cakes and pies, rice, potatoes, etc.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of carbohydrates is set at 130 grams per day for both men and women by the Food and Nutrition Board of IOM. Even though everyone’s different, this is the absolute minimum needed for the brain to function.
To find the total grams of carbohydrates in foods, you should check the nutritional facts, which include both fibre and sugar, it is listed there. Therefore, it is uncomplicated to see how many grams per serving it will provide.
Many foods that don’t contain carbohydrates, including butter and red meat are high in unhealthy fats and calories. However, many high-carb foods can be a good source of protein, fibre, and vitamins which might be missed out if it’s being kept limited.
With all that has been said, you might still be wondering which is the preferred one. The bottom line is that calorie and carb counting can help with weight loss.
You need to make sure you’re choosing whole foods that are nutrient-heavy while doing away with processed foods that are high in sugar and salt.
Before starting any weight-loss plan and probably counting calories or carbs, speak to a doctor to ensure it’s the right move for you based on your health status and wellness goals. They can ensure that you’re hitting the right target for your nutrient needs and following your calorie or carb count in the healthiest way possible.