If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably heard about the importance of “calories in versus calories out.” This concept is based on the idea that as long as you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’re bound to lose weight.
However, some people insist that the type of food you eat matters much more than the number of calories it contains — both in terms of weight loss and long-term health. This article investigates whether the “calories in versus calories out” model really matters.
What’s the ‘calories in, calories out’ model?
Your body uses the calories you get from food to fuel your basal metabolic rate (BMR), digestion, and physical activity. When the number of calories you consume matches the number of calories you burn, your weight will remain stable.
Weight loss requires a calorie deficit
To lose weight, your “calories in” need to remain fewer than your “calories out.” Some factors can make calories seem irrelevant for weight loss, but research controlling for these factors shows that weight loss always requires a calorie deficit.
Health is more than just ‘calories in vs. calories out’
Different foods can impact your hormones, hunger, feelings of fullness, and metabolism differently, regardless of the number of calories they contain. Thus, when it comes to your health, not all calories are created equal.
Why nutrient density matters?
Calorie for calorie, nutrient-dense foods benefit your health much more than nutrient-poor ones. The “calories in versus calories out” model fails to take this into account, reducing its relevance when it comes to your health.
The Bottom line
From a strictly biological perspective, the “calories in versus calories out” model matters for weight loss. You will only lose weight if you consume fewer calories than you burn, regardless of the types of food you eat.
However, this model fails to take nutrient density into account, which is highly relevant to your health. Moreover, different foods can impact your hormones, metabolism, hunger, and feelings of fullness differently, in turn influencing your calorie intake.
Practically speaking, some foods can make it easier for you to remain at a healthy weight, all while optimizing your overall health. Focusing solely on calories may cause you to miss the big picture.
(Source: Helthline News)