This is a topic which I find many people struggle to comprehend. However, in order to have a healthy diet you must be able to grasp this fully (regardless of your size).
I will start off by talking about calories. Calories are just a measure of energy as miles are a measure of distance. All foods and most fluids will contain calories (energy) and your body needs this to stay alive.
The amount of calories someone needs in a day is very different depending on their sex, age, exercise levels and amount of muscle they may have. If you eat/ drink exactly the same amount of energy as you use in your day to day life, then your weight will stay the same. If you have less, then you will lose weight and if you have more you will gain weight. It really is as simple as that.
So the problem with foods which are high calorie is that you don’t get much in the way of volume for your energy. This means that you won’t feel full and will have to eat more in order to be full.
1 Classic Macdonald’s beef burger = 698 calories (you will probably also add chips to feel full)
1 Chicken sandwich, 1 apple and a low fat yoghurt = 620 calories (MORE FOOD but less calories)
Many high calorie foods are unhealthy because they are high in sugar and bad fats which can harm your body. However, there are many high calorie foods which are also healthy. They are ‘healthy’ because they offer large amounts of good fats, vitamins and/or minerals which are needed in our bodies. Foods such as nuts, seeds, fruit juice and avocados are examples of these types of foods. It is important that you have these in your diet in moderation.
There aren’t really any ‘unhealthy’ low calorie foods available. However, there are some foods which are low in calories but don’t provide you with much of a nutritional benefit. These tend to be diet based foods such as low calorie cakes/ crisps/ biscuits/ drinks. You only have a certain amount of calories to play around with each day and you need to make sure the foods which form these calories are also giving you the most nutrients possible. However, I wouldn’t get too hung up on this point as these foods still offer you a healthier alternative. Just don’t rely on them as your go to snacks all the time.
1 bag of crisps = 170 calories
Healthier option = rice cake alternative= 107 calories
Healthiest option = 14 almonds = 100 calories (also full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and good fats)
So to summarise, you need both high and low calorie foods in your diet. However, all the high calorie foods need to offer you a source of good fats, vitamins, protein and/or minerals. Just remember though, you should still need to limit the amount of high calorie foods you have regardless of whether they are healthy or not. Otherwise you can end up gaining weight.
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