Counting your calorie intake can be a great way for people to manage food intake for weight loss. As most would say, keeping a close watch on the quality of food you eat is wiser than measuring the quantity of your daily food intake. Individuals who are on a ketogenic diet mostly count their macros than their actual calorie intake.
Going on a keto diet for cutting calories is actually not the way the keto diet exactly works. The amount of calories you consume is not as important as the macronutrients you get from food. However important calories play a part in weight loss or weight gain, they do not make up the entire story. First, let’s get to know what calories are.
What are Calories?
The unit of energy your body requires to perform its task is called a calorie. Every involuntary and voluntary movement your body does requires a unit of energy to burn. Running, walking, jumping burns more energy compared to involuntary movements such as breathing, maintaining your body’s normal temperature, and even circulating blood. All this movement requires energy from your body to burn.
The human body needs a certain amount of energy or calories to be able to keep it moving and allow these processes to continuously perform its tasks efficiently. The rate your body burns energy is called your basal metabolic rate or your BMR. Your BMR is greatly influenced by your age, weight, gender, and body frame.
As you age or gain weight or your metabolic rate slows down. The fewer activities you do, the slower your metabolism becomes. Relatively, your body requires more calories if you live an active lifestyle. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, the fewer calories your body needs. When your metabolism slows down, you start to gain weight.
Keto Diet for Cutting: Know Your Macros
Carbohydrates (sugars), protein, and fat (lipids) are all energy-giving nutrients with large quantities contained in the food we eat. An individual will require certain amounts of these nutrients depending on several factors such as weight issues and health concerns. Each macronutrient provides the body with fuel to burn in the form of calories:
- Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram
- Protein: 4 calories per gram
- Fats: 9 calories per gram
As you look at food labels which lists 20 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat, that specific food will contain a total of 168 calories. With the ketogenic diet focusing on high fat and high protein, the calories from these macronutrients are denser and much more filling compared to calories from carbohydrates. This is what curbs your cravings for sweets and urges to snack.
Protein is a macronutrient that is most satiating and is essential in cell repair and growth. However, protein is not as effective in providing energy as excess protein is converted into glucose in the liver.
MACRONUTRIENTS OF TWO LARGE EGGS
TOTAL CALORIES: 146 CALORIES
- 4 CALORIES FROM CARBS (1 GRAM x 4 calorie gms of carbs)
- 52 CALORIES FROM PROTEIN (13 GRAMS x 4 calories gms of protein)
- 90 CALORIES FROM FAT (10 GRAMS x 9 calorie gms of fat)
In general, consuming more calories than what your body gets to burn will mean extra calories that turn into stored fat. And if you eat fewer calories than what your body needs, your body taps into your fat stores to burn and you eventually lose weight.
Counting and cutting calories may seem to be the best yet an imperfect tool for managing weight. But what we seem to miss out on is the important role that hormones play in our appetites, the sense of fullness, and how our body stores fat. Much research has suggested that going on a keto diet or a low carb diet activates hormones that naturally reduce or curbs appetite which leads to less calorie intake.
Hormonal changes are mostly associated with the food you eat. Individuals who have a diet high in carbs usually have an increased level of insulin secretion that leads to more stored fat.
This was further proven in a study between a group of overweight people who had the same amount of calories in eggs and another group that had equal calories in bagels. The group who ate eggs felt fuller and ate fewer calories at lunch than those who had the bagels.
Along with this, research studies have shown clearly that low carb diets yield much effective and better results in weight loss compared to low-calorie diets.
Weight loss obviously results from using up the calories you consume. Then again, the macronutrients from calories play a much vital role because different foods gave varying metabolic as well as hormonal effects in each individual. Whatever you eat and how those calories are expended can dictate your food intake as well as how the calories get stored or burned.
Not All Calories Are Created Equal in Keto Diet
It is impossible to know how and what your body will do with the calories you consume. Which makes it easier and more effective to consume foods that can promote or trigger the release of hormones that curb hunger and keep you feeling satisfied.
Many argue that most weight loss from a keto diet is from water. However this may be partly true, there is also the fact that weight loss from keto lasts longer and can be greatly attributed to fat loss than water.
Weight loss from the keto diet is closely credited to metabolic advantage and appetite suppression. Metabolic advantage takes the side of eating fewer carbs to enable ketosis and allow faster fat-burning. When the body is subjected to a keto diet, higher fat intake also suppresses the hormones that make you feel hungry and keeps you satiated much longer.
Should You Count and Cut down Calories?
Most keto dieters and studies will tell you that keto weight loss is more about the type of calories you eat than the actual amount of calories you consume. Counting calories may have benefits but with the keto diet, there is no such strict control on the intake of calories.
This is possible because the keto diet was designed with food humans lived on for thousands of years. A diet that is low in starchy carbohydrates and sugar and focusing more on fats, proteins, and fiber-rich vegetables.
The type of foods keto dieters consumes keeps them satiated for long periods of time — which in turn curbs their appetite and cravings and therefore lessens their calorie intake.