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Manage Calorie Intake

How to Manage Calorie Intake

One of the primary problems facing our societies today is obesity. Its prevention requires a balance of energy intake and energy output. Such prevention must begin early in life when good habits are formed.

When people diet, it is difficult for them to ensure the required nutrients are included at the recommended levels in their new eating regime. It is often more appropriate to increase exercise than decrease energy intake.

Also in this first instance when people are attempting to reduce their calorific intake, they should first aim to increase the quality of the foods they are eating. Once a diet consists primarily of nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse foods, a person can safely and slowly begin to reduce their total calorie intake.

Many people will lose weight simply by changing their diet to include less high calorie foods. This process should be undertaken slowly. The reason for this may surprise many people; the human body stores pesticides and toxins in fat tissues. If fat is lost too quickly, all the stored toxins are flushed into your bloodstream and the detoxification organs such as the liver and kidneys are unable to remove them effectively. People can then suffer from an increase in toxins in the blood. The recommended transition time from one diet to another i.e. from calorie rich to nutrient rich, is 6-9 months minimum. Changing a diet should be more like changing a lifestyle and can take 1-2 years to implement fully and to form new healthy habits.

The key to this kind of diet regime is to replace calorie-dense foods with calorie-sparse foods which are nutrient dense. During this kind of diet, obese people are likely to see the highest percentage weight loss.

Healthy Tips for a Lower Calorie Diet

Outlined below are some healthy tips for following a restricted calorie diet.

  • Avoid simple carbohydrates as they contain very little nutrition for their calorie content. They are also absorbed quickly by the body, with a sudden peak in blood glucose levels, leaving the person feeling tired later after blood sugar levels return to normal or fall
  • Eat both green leafy (salad) and other vegetables as they contain the highest content of a wide variety of nutrients for their calorie content. By volume (and often by calories), vegetables are the major component of many calorie restricted, but not nutrient deficient diets.
  • People should carefully select protein and fat sources as they can significantly influence a person's risk factors for a wide variety of diseases. Protein should be sufficient, but not overly abundant.
  • Common recommendations for total protein intake range from 0.6 to 0.8 grams per kg of body weight, and some recommendations are much higher for women and men respectively. 
  • Unfortunately, animal proteins also tend to include undesirable components; red meat and dairy often contain large quantities of saturated fats. The nutrient density of meats is often lower than other choices.
  • Eat more fibre as it has been shown to increase the feeling of being full, which in turn (by reducing hunger) can decrease food intake. Eating an additional 14g of fibre per day is associated with a 10% decrease in calorie intake and a loss of body weight of 2 kg over four months. This doesn't sound like much, but remember 14 g of fibre is hardly anything! Eating more high-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a nutritionally sound way to not feel as hungry when reducing calorie intake.
  • Start the day with breakfast as it acts as the metabolism's wake-up call, kicking it into action.
  • People should consume monounsaturated fats, avoid saturated fats, and consume some Omega-3 fats. Foods containing monounsaturated fats lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, while possibly raising HDL ‘good’ cholesterol. Fatty foods, even healthy choices, are high in calories so people should be sure that they carefully track their intake so as to stay within the calorie goal.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Below are some basic examples of advantages and disadvantages of turning to a calorie restricted diet.

Adopting a healthier dietary plan – more fruit and vegetables and complex carbohydrates -

  • Requires motivation and commitment.
  • Encourages longevity.
  • Increased energy.
  • Increased immunity.
  • Decreased likelihood of developing disease.
  • Risk of remaining overweight due to increase in nutrient rich foods and no exercise.
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency.
  • Could be difficult to ensure all nutrients are taken by children.
  • Can be expensive to buy healthier food options.
  • Can be time consuming – preparation and cooking time etc.
  • Too restricted calorie intake could lead to body storing energy as fat as it ‘thinks’ there is a period of famine.

Understanding Nutrition

Nutrition is a key factor in living a health life. There is, however, much more than just knowing the basics. Many other factors need to be considered when managing weight and diet, including an individuals age as well as their health.

Whether you are looking to manage your own diet, are a parent concerned about your child's nutrition, or a looking to provide dieting or counselling services, we can help. We offer a wide selection of courses which cover these areas and more. Get in touch with our highly experienced, specialist tutors today - they will be happy to answer any questions, or discuss study options to meet your aims.

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