I know I’m supposed to count fat grams to lose weight, but are calories still important? If I stick to eating non-fat foods, will I lose weight? What’s the maximum number of calories I can eat and still lose weight? Is more important to count calories or fat grams when dieting?
I hope you didn’t toss away your calorie counter, because calories are still where it’s at when it comes to weight control. The whole “don’t count calories, just focus on fat grams” theory was a reasonable one when it first hit the streets. Fat has more than twice the calories per gram as carbohydrates and protein, so it was an easy target. But that was before the Snackwell era and the barrage of fat-free ice cream, cookies, cakes, and other baked goodies.
My father used to tell me that nothing in life is free. (Don’t tell him I said this, but the man was right.) Eating two pieces of fat-free pound cake at 130 calories a slice, will still put 260 calories on your hips if you don’t exercise it away.
Counting fat grams is still a good way to keep your daily fat intake under the recommended 30 percent of calories. But a low-fat diet isn’t always a healthy diet if those low- or non-fat foods are coming from the bakery and are displacing nutrient-rich, stomach-filling whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, along with lean dairy and protein.
An easy and painless way to shed weight is to cut back by a modest 125 calories a day (having approximately half cup frozen yogurt instead of a full cup, for example) and adding some exercise, such as brisk walk. At the end of a year, you stand to lose a whopping 26 pounds!