Counting carbs or counting calories: it’s a common question when it comes to finding an effective pathway for losing weight. Each strategy has their
arguments and the research shows pros and cons on both sides. So what’s the difference?
Calories represent your total energy intake; you can measure energy burned from exercise and general day-to-day body functions. Although calories are
often seen negatively, they provide your body with fuel; they’re the basic building blocks that keep you going.
When you restrict your calories too severely, the body responds by reverting to ‘survival mode’ and shutting down secondary-to-survival processes like
hormone production, digestion and immune function. Putting your body in this stressful state can cause weight retention, and make weight loss or
weight management much more difficult in the long-run.
Carbohydrates are just a portion of total energy intake, but drastically cutting carbohydrates will help with weight loss, at least initially. The
big problem with low-carb diets is that glucose (from carbohydrates) is required for active thyroid hormone conversion which helps to regulate
your metabolic rate. That means the amount of calories you can burn will fall in response to limiting carbohydrates in the diet. Carbs also help
with digestive efficacy, skin health, and controlling the rate at which we age.
Plus, cutting carbs doesn’t guarantee weight loss; you can still gain weight from low carb foods due to the presence of high numbers of calories. Everything
has a calorie count, sometimes even foods that are low in fat do not necessarily mean low calories or an entire absence of calories.
Both counting carbs and counting calories can be effective for weight loss. They are really two different paths to get to the same goal. However, the important distinction is that, depending on whether you’re counting carbs or calories, you will be eating a vastly different selection of foods under each approach. Balance is really the best lifestyle choice, limiting one or the other will get a result but you need to find the option that your going to stick with.