With millions of diets on the market with new ones being produced every second, it can be pretty hard to know what to try and what works but are you looking at the right thing?
The main thing to understand is that every successful diet relies on one thing…. Energy balance. A negative energy balance to be precise. This means that you are burning more calories than you consume meaning you would, over time, lose weight.
The Two Components of Energy Balance
This is obviously the food that we eat but also, we need to remember the calories in the drink we consume too. To make this slightly more difficult there are two more factors that can get in our way:
- Absorption – We don’t absorb all of the nutrients we consume depending on factors such as age, medical conditions (such as Crohn’s), alcohol & caffeine consumption, gut health and stress!
- Calorie tolerances on food and drink labels – The numbers you see on the label are averages based on tests done on samples but as you can imagine depending on the mix of ingredients and batch discrepancies this can vary sometimes as much as 15% in the UK and 20% in the USA due to government tolerances.
- BMR – Your Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the energy you require to sustain vital functions while awake (Brain – Breathing – Digestion) and the bodies heat production.
- NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. The energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping eating or exercise.
- TEF – Thermic Effect of Food. The energy used to digest foods.
- EEE – Exercise Energy Expenditure. The energy we expend during exercise.
Positive or Negative Energy Balance
It is the difference between the two figures (calories in – calories out) that will cause us to either lose or gain weight.
Positive energy balance -> we gain weight as we are consuming more calories than we are using a day causing them to be stored as fat.
Negative Energy Balance <- We will lose weight as we are consuming fewer calories than our bodies require therefore, we burn our fat supplies as fuel.
Working Out Energy Balance
Hopefully, this helps you understand the facts and how you can get your energy balance in check.
If you want to work out your calories and macros based on your individual requirements and goals then check out our calorie and macro calculator!