For years now I have been championing the role that good ol’ fashioned healthy eating can play in cutting the prevalence of obesity- related health issues. Calorie counting is a problem in the UK, people often become so fixated on calories that they actually over or under consume certain food groups in order to keep calories down, which often causes more harm than good for a micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) perspective.
Not before time then, some prominent public health experts have publicly declared the benefit of a healthy balanced diet in reducing obesity-related heart disease and death. Now by no means are we saying that ‘cutting calories’ increases your risk of obesity or heart disease, because managing your calorie intake (if done sensibly) are very beneficial.
However this term ‘calorie counting’ has become synonymous to obsessive eating, to such a point where people can’t see the wood for the trees! Counting your calories shouldn’t be about restriction, but more so about getting a balance between your energy intake (calories), macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
Think holistically about nutrition…here’s the secret
Look at the bigger picture, health, wellbeing and nutrition is NOT one dimensional, so don’t place all of your healthy eating and weight loss efforts into calories. I’ll let you into a secret, if you focus on getting a balance between a protein source (chicken, beef, fish etc), a starchy carb (rice, sweet potato, pasta etc) and fruit and vegetables in your daily diet, whilst cutting out most of the refined carbs (table sugar, syrups, fizzy drinks etc), then nine times out of ten the calories will take care of themselves.
Some of the researchers from the journal Open Heart explain:
“Shifting the focus away from calories and emphasising a dietary pattern that focuses on food quality rather than quantity will help to rapidly reduce obesity, related disease, and cardiovascular risk.”
It comes to something when evidence proves that poor diet is responsible for more disease and mortality than physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption PUT TOGETHER!
Malhotra, A., DiNicolantonio, J, J. & Capewell, S. In Press. It is time to stop counting calories, and time instead to promote dietary changes that substantially and rapidly reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2015-000273