Pros and Cons to Calorie Counting

We’ve written the list so you don’t have to. Now with the introduction of calorie count for meals on menus becoming a thing, it’s impossible to avoid. But is it actually good for you? We want to know so we did some research into what the pros and cons of calorie counting actually are.


Pros to Calorie Counting


Mindfulness – You become conscious of what you put in your body, as well as gain portion awareness for the calories your food contains. The quick snacks you might grab are put back on the shelf or only taken when the calories are deemed useful.


Education – You learn that the things you think you ought to be eating might have a higher calorie content depending on the ingredients that go into it.


Control – This new found knowledge gives you more control over not just your body weight but how you feel. Processed foods are swapped out for homemade meals that make a better use of the number and feel good to eat.


Purpose – Calorie counting helps us learn which foods serve what purpose and where we should be going for that reason. Like finding the right energy source for those all important workouts.


Goals – Once you understand what your food’s calorie count is made up of you can make better choices that help you get to your goals. However, this we’d say take with a pinch of salt. Without knowing the true nutrition value that is behind the calorie number you might struggle to reach your goals.


Action – (Following on from above) Now that you are actively looking at calorie information on your food, you’ll discover the nutritional information on the back of food labels. These provide you better facts to base your decisions on. Whether you want to increase calories for muscle gain or decrease calories for fat loss, now you know which foods to adjust for your goal.


Cons to Calorie Counting


Perspective – Calorie counting can affect everyone differently. For some it can become obsessive when taken too far, that we do know. When you’re in search of a goal it’s important to maintain consistency, which is better managed by tracking food. It forms a habit which isn’t always easy to break. 


Inaccurate and imprecise – If you forget to log or weigh foods then the count for that day doesn’t mean a lot. Not to mention if you’re using an app to count calories you might find discrepancies.


Unhealthy eating habits – As we covered above, the actual number the food has doesn’t provide enough information for you to base your goals on. You could be filling your calorie count with chocolate, cake and ice cream everyday. As long as you hit the calorie goal it doesn’t matter right? Wrong, the nutritional value of your calories is more important for your goals than the number itself.


Repetitive – Its novelty can wear off and fast. No-one wants to make dinner for 30 minutes, add another 15 minutes to log your calorie count only to sit down and eat for all of 5 minutes. It takes time to do and the results take a while to appear, so it can easily be given up.


Joy – When you start calorie counting after a while it could become something that stops your mind being relaxed when eating. You might end up limiting yourself from the food that brings you joy. This could only ruin food for yourself.


Calorie Count Conclusion


As you can see, the pros and cons of calorie counting aren’t quite balanced. Sure there are more positives than negatives but the value of the negatives may outweigh the positives. We believe that calorie counting serves a purpose in relation to achieving your fitness goals but it’s – not – everything.


Maintaining a balanced diet, taking into account both the calorie count and nutritional value of food, is highly important to enjoy food. Added to the fact that beginning calorie counting gives you an understanding of portion control. But you don’t necessarily have to do it forever. You could do this process for a few weeks and stop when you feel you have a better idea of how much you’re eating. Then only start again when you think you’re slipping into old habits.


There’s a wealth of knowledge to be learned from calorie counting. At the end of the day if you think it’s going to help you then go for it! However, the point is to be mindful. If you’re someone who will become obsessed with never forgetting to log or only eating ‘good’ foods then perhaps it’s not for you.


Liked reading this? Why not have a read of our blog on How to Use The Gym for Improving Mental Health here…


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