Learn if Tracking Calories or Carbs Makes a Difference

Maintaining a healthy weight takes more than counting calories or carbs. For women of any age, it’s all about balance. When you’re trying to lose weight, be careful not to limit some of foods you need most. There are plenty of delicious ways to get the energizing nutrients you need and cut back on unnecessary calories, too. Remember that what you eat can be as important as how much you eat.

Count calories or cut carbs?

Truth is, neither approach holds the key to maintaining a healthy weight. For decades, popular diets have focused on limiting calories. But a recent report indicates what many of us have already learned – healthy eating is about more than just cutting calories. Typically, those who eat healthy foods tend to gain less weight or even lose weight, and those who eat other foods, like greasy fries and sugary drinks, tend to gain. Just because you are counting calories and maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t necessarily mean you are well nourished.

Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are your body’s preferred energy source. There’s no need to avoid them, as long you make wise choices. To focus on healthy carbs, cut down on foods with added sugars, like soft drinks and candy. Instead, select nutrient-rich carbohydrates to boost your energy level and enhance long-term health. Think whole and fortified grains (6 to 7 servings a day), plus fruits (2 cups) and veggies (2 ½ cups) every day.

Maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetimeTracking Calories or Carbs - In Content

  • Don’t fall into the diet trap: Studies show most diets don’t work. Often, diets completely eliminate certain foods, which is unhealthy and unrealistic for the long term. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight and keep it off. Good nutrition, moderation and exercise will go a long way in helping you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Set realistic goals: If you ban certain foods completely, chances are that eventually you’ll find them irresistible, leading to cravings and binging.
  • Balance every meal: A healthier lifestyle begins with nutrient-dense foods, even if they are a bit higher in calories. Every meal, even snacks, should contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.
  • Load up on fruits and vegetables: In fact, half your lunch and dinner plate should consist of these colorful options. They’re packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that can protect you from chronic diseases.
  • Get off the couch: Even a little exercise is better than none, so get moving. And mix it up to keep your routine from getting boring.
  • Talk to your doc: Before you tackle a new diet and exercise routine, talk with your physician. 
  • Know your nutrition: Test your nutrition knowledge with this short quiz.
Small Steps: Set Limits
Aim for no more than 9.5 teaspoons of sugar a day (that’s about what you find in one 12 oz. cola.)