Should You Count Calories or Carbs?

Should You Count Calories or Carbs?

What is really the best way to not only lose weight but to keep it off as well? It's a question that people have been seeking an answer to for decades.

One thing that often confuses dieters the most is should they concentrate on counting calories to effectively slim down, or is monitoring their carb intake closely more important?

Much of this confusion stems from all the conflicting information on TV, in newspapers and online. Some articles profess that cutting carbs – especially sugary carbs – is the key to real weight loss, while others state that reducing calories from foods of all kinds is most important. And then there is the whole issue of fat in your diet too, where does that fit into the puzzle?

To get the real answer it's important to look at some basic nutrition facts.

In the most basic terms, nutritionists and other medical professionals are in general agreement that a person needs to follow a calorie deficient diet. That means that you need to burn more calories than you consume.

This is achievable in two ways; consuming fewer calories and burning more of them away via increased physical activity. So yes, counting calories is important. But, the intake of various carbs, fats and sugars affects that total, so those numbers warrant some close attention as well.

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Fats vs Carbs vs Calories: How They Really Affect Your Diet

Fat- One gram of fat is equal to nine calories of energy, while the same amount of carbs or protein is only worth four. So, eating high-fat foods can indeed increase your daily calorie count quickly. But before you cut fat out of your diet completely it's important to know that smaller amounts of healthy fats – like those found in nuts, fish, and avocados can be very beneficial additions to a healthy diet.

Sugar – In itself, sugar isn't necessarily that bad for you. The problem is that most people consume too much of it. Much of the sugar we consume is ways we are not even aware of. Did you know that ketchup, canned soups and processed TV dinners are all loaded with sugar?

Aside from the calories that sugar consumption adds to the average diet it can have other adverse health effects as well. These include the widely discussed increased risk for type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity. So cutting your sugar intake really is a goal to keep in mind, even if you really aren't trying to lose weight.

Carbs – As they only deliver four calories per gram carbohydrates are not as fattening as some people think. But too many refined white carbs – like those found in white bread and white rice – can send a daily calorie count through the roof. And a carb heavy diet tends to push out healthier food.

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Carbs or Calories: The Last Word

To really create the calorie deficient diet you need to lose weight it's usually easier to focus on counting calories. The calorie count is easier to find in most cases and easier to tally.

However, as you count calories it will be helpful to monitor the balance of carbs and fats in your diet as well. If you keep your carb intake at around 45-50% of your total intake that leaves plenty of room for fruits, veggies, proteins and healthy fats and creates a healthy diet that will help you slim down and stay healthier.

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