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Future Health

Counting Calories and Carbs

August 10, 2020 

The upshot of all this is that when it comes to counting calories, not all calories are created equal. This is where so many of us are going wrong when we obsess about the number of calories in our food. We think that, whether 100 calories are derived from healthy vegetables or from chocolate cookies, it’s worth the same for your body. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, biological mechanisms are at play, something which means that your body processes those 100 calories in very different ways, and this could hold the key to better health and better weight loss.

If you are not conscious of the amount of food you are consuming, you can easily go overboard. This can be dangerous if you are constantly eating too many calories or if you eat too many carbohydrates which was raise your blood sugar. Carbohydrate counting helps you keep track of how much carbohydrate you eat for meals and snacks. Skipping meals can cause blood sugar to drop too low. This will make you feel weak, tired, hungry, and you may eat too much at your next meal.

Carbohydrate counting is a meal-planning technique used by some people with diabetes. It involves tracking the grams of carbs in food to ensure that you don't eat more than a predetermined amount at a given meal. You can count each serving of carbohydrates, since each serving of carbs is 15 grams. If you choose this strategy, your doctor or diabetes educator will tell you how many total carbs to aim for in each meal or the total daily amount you need.

Some people also practice mindful eating to help them maintain a healthy weight. Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating. By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one. How to practice mindful eating:

  • Eat more slowly and don't rush your meals.
  • Chew thoroughly.
  • Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV and putting down your phone.
  • Eat in silence.
  • Focus on how the food makes you feel.
  • Stop eating when you're full.

There is a fine line one must walk when dieting. It is, of course, good to eat healthy foods in healthy amounts. However, if that routine becomes obsession, you may want to seek help. Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health. Eating disorders can affect every organ system in the body, and people struggling with an eating disorder need to seek professional help. The earlier a person with an eating disorder seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery. Common health consequences of eating disorders are:

  • Cardiovascular System
    • Muscles are some of the first organs broken down, and the most important muscle in the body is the heart. Pulse and blood pressure begin to drop as the heart has less fuel to pump blood and fewer cells to pump with. The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.             
  • Gastrointestinal System
    • Stomach pain and bloating
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Blood sugar fluctuations
    • Blocked intestines from solid masses of undigested food
    • Bacterial infections
    • Feeling full after eating only small amounts of food
  • Neurological
    • Although the brain weighs only three pounds, it consumes up to one-fifth of the body’s calories. Dieting, fasting, self-starvation, and/or erratic eating means the brain isn’t getting the energy it needs, which can lead to obsessing about food and difficulties concentrating.
    • Extreme hunger or fullness at bedtime can create difficulties falling or staying asleep.
    • The body’s neurons require an insulating, protective layer of lipids to be able to conduct electricity. Inadequate fat intake can damage this protective layer, causing numbness and tingling in hands, feet, and other extremities.
    • Neurons use electrolytes (potassium, sodium, chloride, and calcium) to send electrical and chemical signals in the brain and body. Severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can lead to seizures and muscle cramps.
    • If the brain and blood vessels can’t push enough blood to the brain, it can cause fainting or dizziness, especially upon standing.
    • Individuals of higher body weights are at increased risk of sleep apnea, a disorder in which a person regularly stops breathing while asleep

These are just name a few. The effects of eating disorders effect your body from head to toe literally.

If you do not have any underlying medical or health issues, then speaking with a dietitian would be beneficial. If you do have medical issues or are unsure always seek out advise and information from a health professional or doctor.