We all know that calories are important when it comes to reaching body composition goals. Eating fewer calories than you burn each day will help you lose fat, whilst eating more calories in combination with training will help you gain muscle. But if you’ve ever tried tracking your calories before, you know it can be quite confusing!
With so many misconceptions out there about calories, my team of nutritionists are here to simplify things for you. Here are the 5 biggest myths about calories busted!
Myth #1 All calories are equal
Whilst all calories are equal in their energy value, they do not have the same effect on the body. For example, 100 calories from broccoli produces a very different metabolic response compared to 100 calories of candy. Whilst calories are important for overall energy balance, the quality of where those calories are coming from are JUST as important as the calorie itself. In fact, you’ll find that nutritious foods will make it easier to stick to your calorie goals compared to a less nutritious food of the same calories.
Myth #2 You need to be 100% accurate when counting calories
A lot of people tend to get fixated on a certain ‘number’ of calories they need to consume each day. Whilst it's good to have a calorie goal, you need to remember that your body doesn’t actually know how many calories it's consuming - it just knows to utilize the energy it’s getting from the food. As a very general rule, eating 50 calories under or over your calorie level, will not negatively affect your progress. For example, if you are aiming to eat 1800 calories, eating slightly over, such as 1830 calories, will not have a negative impact. You don't need to be 100% accurate with your calories, there is room for leeway.
Myth #3 You need to drop your calories super low to lose weight
Still think that 1200 calories is the amount you should be eating for weight loss? It’s time to break this myth! The amount of calories you should consume for weight loss should be relative to YOU. It should take into account your gender, height, weight, AND activity levels. For example, a ‘weight loss’ calorie level for one woman may be 1400 calories, but for another woman, it may be 1800 calories!
We’ve taken the guesswork out for you with the LSF app. When you sign into a program or challenge, we allocate the best number of calories for you based on your information and goals. This way, you can trust that the calories you are allocated are actually right for you.
Myth #4 You burn most of your calories through exercise
Ever done an exercise in hopes that it will ‘burn off’ calories? We hate to break it to you, but exercise really doesn’t burn that many calories. Calories burnt each day are attributed to three factors: resting metabolic rate, thermic effect of food, and lastly, physical activity. In fact, up to 75% of your daily calorie expenditure simply comes from how many calories your body naturally burns at rest! So if you view exercise as a means to ‘burning calories’, it's time to shift your mindset. Exercise helps weight loss through boosting metabolism and from burning some calories, but most of your weight loss will come from your diet and overall metabolism.
Myth #5 Lower calorie foods are better for you
Whilst it's great to know what some low calorie snacks are, your whole diet should not be made up of just low calorie foods. In fact, there are HEAPS of high calorie foods that are extremely nutritious and can help with weight loss when consumed in a moderate portion! For example, nuts are high in calories, but studies show that consuming a handful of nuts each day actually helps keep weight off! So do not be afraid of incorporating foods that have more calories than others. In the end, it's all about balance!
There are plenty of misconceptions out there when it comes to calories. Navigating calories whilst you're on your health journey can be a challenge, but there is no need to stress any longer - team LSF is here for you! The LSF app makes nutrition easy, with recipe based meal plans designed by our expert nutritionists to help you get the results you’re looking for.
Are you ready to EMPOWER yourself to level up your workouts, mindset and nutrition? It’s not too late - join EMPOWER CHALLENGE now before sign ups close. EMPOWER starts June 6th!
Team LSF xx