If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve likely heard about the importance of “calories.” This concept is based on the idea that as long as you eat fewer calories than you burn, you are bound to lose weight.
However, some people insist that the type of food you eat matters much more than the number of calories it contains – both in terms of weight loss and long-term health.
This article examines whether calories really matter?
The calorie model is based on the idea that to maintain a stable weight, the number of calories you eat must match the number you expend.
Calories in (calories in) refer to the number of calories you get from the foods you eat, while (calories out) refer to how many calories you burn.
There are three main bodily processes that burn calories:
Basic Metabolism: Your body uses most of the calories you get from food to maintain basic functions, such as your heartbeat. This is commonly referred to as the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Digestion: About 10-15% of the calories you eat are used to promote digestion. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and it varies based on the foods you eat.
Physical activity: The remaining calories you get from your diet are intended to support your physical activity, including exercise and daily tasks such as walking, reading and washing the dishes.
When the number of calories you eat from food matches the number of calories you burn to maintain your metabolism, digestion, and physical activity, your weight will remain stable.