Whenever there is a discussion about weight management, the talk inevitably goes towards counting calories. Many weight gurus and nutritionists will tell you that one of the few essential steps into managing your diet is to count calories.
Lately, we came into an article that says “Real men do not count calories, but count protein.” We found the premise intriguing, but upon careful research, we found that counting calories may not only be unmanly, but ineffective as well. Now, if you are on the heavy side, no one will mock you for counting your calorie intake. For skinny to average (to slightly paunchy) dudes, however, counting calories is not something you’d want your bros to hear. Counting your protein intake will help you manage your diet without sounding vain or body conscious.
Instead of counting your calorie intake, try to give attention to your overall nutrient intake.
So how do men manage their diets? It’s all about the proteins or macro nutrients.
Calories versus Macro Nutrients
In looking at the nutritional value of food, we usually see it given in kilojoules or kilocalories, which are standard units of energy. Current research done on primates, however, show that overall energy intake is less important than achieving the correct nutritional balance of what we eat. This means that instead of counting the total calories one takes in daily, it is found to be more effective to look at the different macro nutrients one takes in and how these interact to regulate ones appetite.
Each food we eat are made up of a complex mix of nutrients that interact with one another to influence our diet. A nutritionally balanced diet means that there is not competition between the appetite systems for the different nutrients. This is where our food choice becomes crucial. Since the food we usually eat does not have a balanced ratio of protein versus carbohydrates, we have to adjust our carb intake appropriately based on the amount of protein we need.
The study done showed that when apes and monkeys cannot get a balanced diet, they will make sure they get the right amount of protein they need. This meant either over or under eating carbs and fats till they get the amount of protein they need.
Like these animals, humans are found to prioritize proteins over carbohydrates and fats. This basically means that unless we get the amount of protein we need, our body will continue craving for it resulting in overeating. With the proportion of protein dropping in our diets, we tend to eat more. Processed food which are low in protein further aggravate the problem which may explain the rising obesity in the Western world.
Simply put, instead of looking at how much calories each food we eat has, it would be more beneficial for us to make sure that we get the right amount of carbohydrates and proteins in our diets.
Knowing this, how do we then make sure we keep our bodies healthy? Here a few tips to consider when managing our diets.
- Get healthy to lose weight, don’t lose weight to get healthy.
- Healthy eating is a lifestyle. It is a lifelong commitment. Counting your nutritional intake is better and easier to keep than counting calories.
- If you want to manage your weight, start eating healthy. Do not engage in short term diets that often cause more damage than benefits to the body.
- Choose quality food with a variety of nutrients over counting calories. Many nutritious meals are very high in calorie. Do not avoid those just because they go over your limits.
- If a nutritionally balanced food is hard to get, stick with a high protein diet. All natural and organic Beef Jerky, for example is a good snack that can give you the protein you need.
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