The energy released for body functions when foods are burned in our body is measured in calories (more correctly kilo calories or kcal) which is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1000 grams (2.2 pounds) of water by one degree celsius (1.8 degrees F). Calories come from proteins, carbohydrates, fats and alcohol. Calories in excess of our bodies needs are stored as fat and therefore ALL calories are potential sources of fat.
Motivation to Cut Calories
No matter what I or other nutritionists say, cutting calories is not the most enjoyable exercise on planet earth. The tastiest foods are frequently those that contain the highest amount of calories, and even though most of the “taste” comes from added fat, sugar and/or sodium, it’s not easy to give up these daily treats.
So, if you need to reduce calories to lose weight, do it properly and spare yourself months (or years) of haphazard dieting. The good news is, once you start eating healthier foods with less of these “taste-enhancers”, your tastes will change and you’ll find it much more difficult to revert to eating mouthfuls of fat and sugar.
Ways to Reduce Calories
The best way to lower your calorie intake is to substitute a lower calorie alternative for your normal high-calorie food. Here are 4 examples:
Instead of: 1 cup whole milk (150 calories).
Choose: 1 cup non-fat milk (90 calories).
Calorie Saving: 60 calories
Do this once a day and save: 21,900 calories per year.
This is the equivalent of: 6.25 pounds of weight
Instead of: 2 eggs scrambled with 1 pat butter and whole milk (261)
Choose: 1 egg, 2 egg whites, scrambled with skimmed milk (144)
Calorie Saving: 117 calories
Do this twice a week and save: 12,168 calories per year.
This is the equivalent of: about 3.5 pounds of weight
Instead of: 6 oz cream of chicken soup (245)
Choose: 6 oz chicken noodle soup (80)
Calorie Saving: 165 calories
Do this twice a week and save: 17,160 calories per year.
This is the equivalent of: nearly 5 pounds of weight
Instead of: 3 Cups Microwaved Caramel Popcorn (280)
Choose: 3 Cups Airpopped Popcorn (90)
Calorie Saving: 190 calories
Do this three times a week and save: 29,640 calories per year.
This is the equivalent of: 8.5 pounds of weight
Total Calorie Reduction
Total calorie saving: 80,868
Total body fat: 23 pounds
Food Calorie Facts
For reference, here are energy values for the basic foods.
Fat: 9 calories per gram
Carbohydrate: 4 calories per gram
Protein: 4 calories per gram
Alcohol: 7 calories per gram
Note About Low Fat Foods
If a food is labelled “fat-free” or “low-fat”, this does not necessarily mean that it is low calorie. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, which can make the food high in calories. And because sugar contains no nutrition, high sugar foods are not ideal for health or weight control.