I recently saw a feature on the Today Show about Calorie Counting. With the availability and accessibility of apps like My Fitness Pal and Lose It! calorie counting is becoming an increasingly popular way to lose weight.
I’m just going to come out and say it, I HATE calorie counting. I know it works for some people, and that’s great. If you’ve lost weight by calorie counting than keep up the good work! Especially in the field of fitness and nutrition, it’s so important to acknowledge that what works for one person may not work for another person, and that’s ok!
My issue with calorie counting, in addition to it feeling very tedious to me, is that it can easily give people the wrong impression about food and the calories they're consuming. Simply put, all calories are NOT created equal. Your body responds differently to different foods.
Equal calorie consumption of cookies or kale will not have equal results. Just looking at quantity alone, you get way more bang for your buck with the kale. One small chocolate chip cookie is 132 calories. Not terrible, but 132 calories of kale is 4 cups. That’s a lot of kale. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten 4 full cups of kale in one sitting and I LOVE kale.
Additionally, refined carbohydrates, like those found in cookies, will cause your blood sugar level to spike, signaling your body that it needs to store fat cells. Kale, however, is quite the contrary. It is full of fiber and as such aids in digestion. Kale is filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium. Per calorie, kale even has more iron than meat and more calcium than milk. Cookies? Not so much.
Don't get me wrong; I’m not saying that if you’re craving a cookie, kale will suffice. That’s a joke right? But instead of painstakingly tracking every calorie, I recommend focusing on GOOD calories and portion size.