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Just eating less calories is not enough to lose weight. A nutritionist explains why

If you think eating less calories or going on a calorie-deficit diet will help you lose weight, then you are getting it all wrong.
calorie deficit
Not all calories are the same. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Ruchi Sharma Updated: 16 May 2021, 22:01 pm IST
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Let’s go into the meaning of this widely-used term “calorie”. A calorie, just like other units, like kilometre or kilogram, is the unit of energy consumed. Have you ever compared the one kilo of cotton with one kilo of iron bars? They both carry a weight of exactly one kilo, but cotton may require to be put in more quantity than iron to reach the same amount. The same is the case with calories. 

You may get equal calories from a handful of nuts and candies. In fact, just like iron bars, candies will be required in less amount to make the same calories as nuts. But the thing to be noticed here is: are the calories from nuts and candies the same? The answer is NO!

The calories you get from nuts are healthy and nutritious. But candies will give you the equivalent amount of unhealthy food or empty calories.

calorie-deficit diet,
Eating less is not the key to weight loss. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You need to be wary of empty calories rather down cutting down on calories
Empty calories come from added saturated fats, added sugars and some processed oils. Eating candies and consuming sodas while being calorie deficit will definitely help you lose weight but will you feel healthy this way? Shedding kilos doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting healthy; instead by consuming empty calories you will feel drained of energy and moreover quite hungry.

A diet with increased sugar and oil, typically reduces the consumption of foods that are nutrient-dense. This way empty calories increase the risk of inadequacy for various nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium. 

Empty and unhealthy calories even if consumed in a less amount can lead to weight gain in most cases. Foods like cakes, cookies, sweets, candies, beverages, and soda drinks tend to be high in sugar content. While margarine, saturated fats shortening and other fats tend to have a high-fat level. These foods supply energy but there is little to no nutrition that is delivered in the form of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibres ,and essential fatty acids (Omega 3, Omega 6 fatty acids). 

Therefore, it is advised to go for a caloric deficit and nutrient-dense diet, eating the macros in the right proportions, and having a sustainable diet to be healthy. You must opt for losing unnecessary and unhealthy fat and building lean muscle. 

This is a comparatively safer way to lose weight while being healthy. When you first start your fat loss diet you see fast results and are super motivated. These initial results give you a false sense of what the process will actually be like. 

Also, listen:

A calorie-deficit diet needs to be augmented by a fit lifestyle
It’s very natural to see your weight fluctuate on a day to day basis. But if your weight has remained the same over ten days that means the average number of calories consumed per day is a better representation of your maintenance calories. To lose almost a kilo in 2 weeks, it is recommended to reach a calorie deficit of 500 calories each day. 

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So only eating less is not enough; instead, you would need to add nutrient-dense foods in order to keep your body filled with essentials. And it’s important to indulge in some kind of physical activity as well. Try to incorporate fitness and healthy eating as an ongoing and continuous process. Make it a lifestyle rather than just a temporary and short term phase. Such a lifestyle is more sustainable to create a calorie-deficit diet. 

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About the Author

Ruchi Sharma is an Udaipur-based nutritionist and founder of EAT.FIT.REPEAT ...Read More

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