Anyone who has tried to lose weight has heard the notion of taking the guesswork out of weight loss by simply “counting your calories”. So long as you burn more than you eat, the weight should just fall off, right? Why mess with following a regimented diet of low fat, low carb, high protein. Eat whatever you like and keep it under a certain calorie count and viola–weight loss!
To prove that this theory would work, an overweight nutrition professor at Kansas State University went on the much popularized “twinkie diet” experiment eating only twinkles at meal times with oreos, sugary cereals and Doritos if he got hungry in between. The key was that he kept his calorie count below his recommended intake for someone his size, consuming 1800 calories instead of 2600 over a period of 2 months and guess what–he lost 27 pounds!
The takeaway from this experiment shouldn’t surprise you–a low calorie diet works. At the same time, the nutrient content and quality of the foods you are eating do affect you in different ways. When embarking on a low calorie diet for weight loss pay special attention to the source of your calories because what you choose to put in your mouth will ultimately affect:
Your appetite–high sugary foods will leave you craving more high sugary foods which will cause your daily calorie count to rack up quickly!
Your energy–protein and complex carbohydrates will give you sustained energy while candy and cookies will leave you wired and headed for a crash.
Your longterm wellness–your nutrient level, cholesterol, blood sugar and many other physiological factors are all effected by the foods you choose on a day to day basis.
So, if you really want to simplify your weight loss, instead of counting calories I recommend that you choose to have the bulk of your food be from fruits and vegetables which are high in fiber (so you’ll stay full longer), low in calories and high in nutrients and antioxidants. The rest can come from healthy fats and lean proteins. The point on any diet is that you will be able to stay on it to maintain the weight loss long term.
So although our twinkie guy was able to shed his initial weight, its easy to gather that he likely would NOT be able to sustain that weight loss unless he ditched the snack cakes and adopted foods that would support his weight and his health for the long haul.