The calorie factor

shutterstock_74592793We all know that calories count. We all know that a calorie is a number that measures the energy that fuels our bodies. What we don’t have a handle on is how many calories we need to function at optimum levels. There are many variables to consider – age, physical activity stress levels, hormones, etc. This makes it challenging and even confusing to figure out how many calories to consume. For many, calories are the enemy – when too many are eaten, it shows up on our bodies. Too few calories affect the organs in our bodies that keep us alive.

Let’s start at the beginning. An adult body needs a minimum of 1000 to 1400 just to stay alive. This minimum is called your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and varies depending on age, sex, weight, and muscle mass. Clearly, to be active and thrive you need more energy than your RMR. There is no magic formula; however there are guidelines you can follow.

Most people vary their caloric intake each day, which usually ends up balancing out, which also stabilizes your weight over time. But some stabilization weights may be too high. Since you’ve established a pattern of eating too many calories your body won’t like the idea when you start reducing calories to get rid of unwanted fat. Your body wants to hold on to that fat – just in case you run out of food.

So the bottom line is this: if you eat too many calories, you will likely gain weight. If you eat fewer calories, you will likely lose weight. Now, let’s throw a monkey wrench into the whole idea. Research is showing that the kind of calorie consumed also determines whether you lose or gain weight. Why? Because not all calories are created equal. Junk foods and highly-processed foods, although some may be low in calories, have a negative impact.

If you want healthy “junk food” that tastes good, look for alternative products.   Products like TOFUTTI® offer an alternative to saturated fat treats. For example, TOFUTTI® Cuties and TOFUTTI® Premium are unsaturated, no cholesterol, non-dairy frozen desserts to replace ice cream.  Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol, a major diet concern. Unsaturated fats tend to decrease blood cholesterol.

It’s important what you put into your body so make those calories count.