Calories are a unit of measurement for energy.
When counting calories, you measure the total amount of energy you consume through food. However, this does not take into account the nutrient intake.
For example, you can have 100 calories worth of veggies, and 100 calories worth of cake. This does not acknowledge the macro or micronutrients consumed through the veggies and the lack of nutrients in the cake.
There is a misconception that counting calories is the only way to effectively lose weight. When assessing your calories, it’s generally a question of “how much” you should consume which is based on the volume and type of foods you eat.
When counting calories, it is typically calories ingested through the food you consume vs the energy you expend through performing your primary biological functions and any additional energy expended like exercise. The calories you burn throughout the day is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which varies based on age, weight, height, activity etc. It is important to know your BMR when setting your correct calorie levels.
Although calorie counting is important, there are many other factors that a successful diet should include to best support individual needs.
If you want to reduce, maintain or increase your body mass you will adjust your calorie consumption to support these outcomes.
- Reducing your body mass – you must enter into a hypocaloric state meaning you consume fewer calories than you burn.
- If you want to maintain your same body mass – you need to eat the same calories as you expend which is known as an isocaloric state.
- If you want to increase your body mass – you generally need to consume more calories than expend which is known as a hypocaloric state.
The degree in which you set the calorie adjustments needs to be considered in conjunction with your exercise program, or activity level to ensure you have the right balance.
Setting the correct macro levels is important when trying to improve your body composition and match your diet to the health outcome you want to achieve, as different macro levels will alter your metabolic state based on the type of energy your body metabolises to perform.
Macros are the ratios of Carbs, Proteins and Fat you eat from food that contributes to your daily calories consumed. Setting your macros should be done in conjunction with setting the correct calorie levels, as both are very important in optimising your diet. The type of energy (macros) you consume will greatly impact how you perform and how your body responds to your diet. Carbs are a great form of quick energy and can provide you with a burst of energy. Protein is great for muscle growth and recovery. Fat is great to support your organs and encourage cellular growth and absorb nutrients.
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