Dieting: Calorie Counting and Quality of Food are Important

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • A Kansas State University professor recently decided to go on a month long diet of snack cakes and fatty foods.  He posted the experience on Facebook and included products like peanut-butter chocolate bars, chocolate cake rolls, pizza (for breakfast), donuts and sugary cereals.  He wasn't trying to supersize like the famous movie; he was trying to prove that you can eat junk food in portion controlled amounts and actually lose weight.  Since all diets have risk, he was not unduly concerned with the quality of the food he was eating for the 4 week experience - he just wanted to prove that he could lose weight on the diet.  I think he should be ......very concerned.  And I think this is a rather stupid experiment.

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    One of my biggest recent gripes has been that Weight Watchers' older plan of eating portion controlled servings from each of the 6 food groups and figuring out how many portions from each food group is needed for you to lose weight or maintain weight, was replaced by a food points system.  The idea is to make eating and nutrition easier by assigning points to each food, but the reality is that you can outsmart the health benefits of the system and weight loss by choosing lots of unhealthy choices.  So you can actually eat regular pizza, and fries and chocolate and other nutritionally deficient foods, albeit in small amounts.  So yes, you can actually lose weight, but the point is that you can end up thinner, with risk factors for certain diseases, because of the food quality.  Highly processed foods high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar and processed grains has a negative impact on health, even when eaten in small portions, if it's eaten on a regular daily basis. 


    I know many "dieters" who diet on unhealthy food.  I also know many vegetarians who eat less than healthy food options, obviously without any animal-based foods included.  So you can eat a diet of a limited number of calories, and the meals can easily be comprised of highly processed foods, and fast foods.  Will you lose weight?  Probably.  Can you still increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and hypertension because of the types of food you're eating?  Absolutely.  Even though overall number of calories daily is an important consideration for losing weight, satiation, blood sugar surges, energy levels, and disease risk, all depend on the types of foods you include in your daily meal tally.  So count calories and be selective when it comes to your nutrition. 

Published On: January 03, 2011