Calories are the unit of energy usually represented in kcal or Cal. Your energy needs depend on your height, weight, age, gender, and physical activity level. For example, a 36-year-old man who has a height of 175 cms, weighs 72 kg with no regular physical activity needs 2000 kcal of energy per day (calculated using the Hint app). If he keeps eating more than 2000 kcal every day, he will accumulate body fat and gain weight over months or years. And if he eats not more than 2000 kcal, he will maintain his ideal body weight. And if he wants to lose weight, the first step is eating less than 2000 kcal per day and maintaining a calorie deficit. It is safe to lower 10 to 20% of calories by eating anywhere between 1800 kcal to 1600 kcal per day. You can maintain such a calorie deficit by using a calorie tracker like the Hint app
Suppose you practice eating lower calories over six months using the Hint app. You should certainly lose some weight unless there is something wrong with your lifestyle or an underlying medical condition. This approach has been proven to yield significant results in a recent study on weight loss in people using a calorie tracking app1.
Few things to note before you start following this calorie deficit process
- Do not cut down more than 20% of your daily calorie intake as it could lead to micronutrient deficiencies that adversely affect your health. -Eat foods that are nutrient-dense rather than calorie-dense. For instance, 100 grams (1 small cup) of Lays classic salted potato chips contain 550 kcal, whereas the exact weight of homemade kala chana chat has 123 kcal. The calorie density of potato chips is four times more than kala chana chat. In addition, kala chana chat is a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin C, lutein, thiamine, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and an excellent source of dietary fiber vitamin D, pantothenic acid, copper, selenium. In comparison, potato chips are high in saturated fat and sodium. The moral of the story, always choose nutrient-dense foods with low-calorie density while eating the same quantity. -Each macronutrient provides a different number of calories. One gram of carbohydrates and protein provides 4 kcal of energy, whereas 1 gram of fat gives 9 kcal calories. Try to follow a diet balanced in macronutrients. More on this here
- Hill C, Weir BW, Fuentes LW, Garcia-Alvarez A, Anouti DP, Cheskin LJ, Relationship Between Weekly Patterns of Caloric Intake and Reported Weight Loss Outcomes: Retrospective Cohort Study, JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2018;6(4):e83
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