For some time now the dieting world has been dictated by the dreaded calorie, with most food fads involving us restricting how many we consume in a day. Cut the calories and reduce your waistline - this was the motivational mantra that was, until recently, heralded by promoters of a healthier and happier lifestyle.
However, increasing evidence now suggests that we should be focusing more on the food types we’re eating, rather than the calories they contain.
Looking to kick of our 2015 with a #StartBetter boost, we reached out to GTG expert and nutritionist Vicki Edgson , to get the skinny on exactly why calorie counting is now longer the order of the day and what we should be doing instead to keep us looking trim and toned.
1. It is an old fashioned, man-made evaluation of individual foods, which has become outmoded by the advent of the greatest misunderstanding of all: that eating fat doesn't necessarily make you fat.
2. Low-fat products which apparently have less calories have now been found to have higher levels of sugar - this is because when the fat is removed from food such as yoghurt or cheese, the product needs to be stabilised.
3. It has now been scientifically established that eating sugars (derived naturally or man-made) actually contribute more rapidly to weight gain than protein-rich/fat-rich foods. This is because when sugar laden food is ingested it is converted into fat that is easily stored in the body.
4. It is now considered more important to measure the glycemic index (e.g. how rapidly a food is converted into glucose) than to measure the calorific content.
5. Food scientists are now realising the potential damage of the plethora of 0% calorie fizzy drinks - these are simply laden with a multitude of chemicals that can alter mood, attention, memory and may even be responsible for ADHD as well as obsessive compulsive behaviour.
6. Research is repeatedly finding that food products that are aligned with specifically dietary plans are often deficient in essential nutrients that are required for satiety.
7. Some natural foods that are high in calories e.g. pork, beef and lamb are so, not because they are fattening but because they are nutrient rich. E.g. a 6-ounce fillet steak with a side salad may appear to be high calorie but is a totally satisfying whole meal.
8. It is more important to eat fresh, good quality food on a regular basis that to consistently limit what your eating to stay under a calorific total.
9. The success of the 5:2 diet has come not from limiting calories but instead to giving your digestion a break. If a woman is limited to 500 calories a day while on the 5:2, those foods should be lean protein with plenty of green vegetables that supply the body with all the nutrients it needs for healing and repair.
10. The saying ‘eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Queen and supper like a pauper’ makes perfect scientific sense - your digestion is at its most effective at the beginning of the day when it can convert your food into energy more readily, and not store it as fat - so technically having a high calorific breakfast is preferable.
Have you got any tips and tricks that help you stay on the healthy straight and narrow? If so, send us a picture on Instagram or tell us your motivational mantras on Twitter using the #StartBetter.
This feature was written in partnership with Clinique. #StartBetter.