New dieters often have questions about different weight loss plans. Some diet plans suggest that you eat more protein calories, some suggest that you eat more calories from carbohydrates and some diet plans limit the amount of calories from fat. The confusion leads many dieters to ask: are all calories the same when you’re trying to lose weight? Or are some calories worse than others?
What are Calories?
Calories provide fuel for your body to function. There are different types of calories in your food. Carbohydrates like bread, pasta and fruit and contain 4 calories per gram, protein from meat, dairy and some vegetables contains 4 calories per gram, and fat from sources like butter and oil contains 9 calories per gram.
If weight loss is your goal, what matters most is the number of calories you consume. The best way to find out how many calories to eat is to work with a registered dietitian. An R.D. will take your lifestyle, your activity level, and your health concerns into account to come up with the right number of calories for you. If you can’t meet with an R.D. you can also get a general estimate of your caloric needs along with a daily food plan at SuperTracker.USDA.gov
Different Types of Calories
Depending on your goals and your health status, there may be certain types of calories that your registered dietitian may recommend. For example, people with type 2 diabetes need to monitor their carbohydrate calories during meals and snacks. Older adults should be mindful that they eat enough protein as they age to maintain healthy bones and muscle.
Instead of trying to decode the many diet books and fads. make an appointment with your primary care provider to get a referral to see a registered dietitian. You’ll get a plan designed specifically for you and your specific needs.
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