There are many people around the world who are often not clear about the role of calories in weight loss. Many of us are guilty of pinning ‘calories’ as the main culprit for weight gain. Which is not entirely true. Calorie is a unit of measurement used to indicate the amount of energy released when the body breaks down (digests and absorbs) food. In other words, you need calories to sustain. When the food releases more calories than needed by the body as energy to sustain, the extra calories get stored as fat. As long as your body is using up all the calories released by the food you eat, you may be able to maintain your weight. Whenever there is an imbalance, or you tend to nosh in more than you need, is when you put on weight due to calorie overload. All food items release calories, be it from a carbohydrate source, protein source or fat. One gram of carbohydrates has four calories. A gram of protein also has four calories. One gram of fat has nine calories!
How many calories do you need for ideal weight loss?
If you are on a weight loss spree, you may have heard your friends or fellow fitness enthusiast to keep your calories in check. A calorie restricted diet does not mean you starve yourself. As mentioned earlier, if your body does not get enough calories it requires for fuelling up your body, it can have drastic effects. It may trigger cravings and result in bingeing.
Bangalore based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood suggests a calorie breakdown that could help you with your weight loss goals. “Around 15 to 20 percent of your calorie intake has to be fat, out of which 50 percent should be from visible origins (ghee, butter, and oil) and the other 50 from invisible origins which are already present in the food you eat. Recent studies have noted that you need to have 3 parts of poly-unsaturated fatty acids and 1 part of saturated fats for optimum health.” She also adds that the calorie requirement differs from person to person. You must consult a certified nutritionist or dietician who could help you with a proper meal chart, suggesting foods as per your calorie needs.
Here are some low calorie foods that are most likely to make it to every weight loss meal plan:
Eggs are one of the best sources of bioavailable protein. Egg whites, specifically are all proteins and bare minimum calories. 100 grams contain just 52 calories. Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora agrees, “With their high quality proteins and fat soluble vitamins, eggs are the perfect delicious treats for anyone looking to lose weight. You could have them scrambled with veggies, or have an omelette. If you are looking to experiment can also whip up some interesting egg frittatas or go simple with egg curry and rice.”
Apples too contain very low calories, about 50 calories per 100 grams. Pectin fibre present in apples helps lower the body’s absorption of excess dietary fats.The rich quantum of fiber found in apples also helps you feeling full for longer and prevents you from binging on other fattening and sugar laden foods. In the long run, this aids in weight loss.”
16 calories per 100 grams! Yes our summer staple is that low on calories. Cucumbers are full of minerals, vitamins and electrolytes and are extremely hydrating. It is also known as the classic cooling food which helps maintain the body’s water balance on hot days.
Oatmeal is loaded with fibre, both of which make it an excellent food to stave off those hunger pangs, without taking in too many calories. 100 grams of oatmeal contains close to 68 calories which makes it one of the ideal foods for weight loss.
Containing barely 16 calories per 100 grams (as per USDA), celery is ranked high among negative calorie foods. Packed with fiber, celery is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make the healthy switch today!