Calorie Counting Explained

Food is what fuels us.  Some of the nutrients in our food yield energy. These nutrients are categorised into a group

called macronutrients.  The macronutrients are protein, carbohydrate and fat.  The amount/ratio consumed of these nutrients is responsible for energy balance.


Energy Intake > Energy Expenditure = Weight Gain

Energy Intake < Energy Expenditure = Weight Loss


Food energy intake and energy expended via activity can be measured (or 'counted') in calories or kilocalories (kcal).

The success of every weight loss diet is ultimately determined by whether or not a calorie deficit (Energy Intake < Energy Expenditure) is both achieved and easy to comply with. 


Weight loss diets that are least restrictive towards food groups are least likely to be associated with poor compliance.  Weight regain always coincides with poor compliance to a diet. Ultimately to successfully
lose weight and keep it off in the long term, the weight loss diet you choose needs to be
sustainable for you. It needs to develop from a tactical weight loss diet into your habitual food
intake.  This is why "crash" type fad diets are unsustainable and why any fat they enable you to burn is unlikely to stay off. 


With this in mind, a weight loss diet that targets a healthy balance coinciding with calorie deficit, will be easiest to comply with and provide the most sustainable weight loss results.  Additionally, aim to combine your calorie deficit with a sufficient intake of protein and foods that are high in fibre.  This will provide feelings of satiation and satiety, which keep those hunger cravings suppressed. 

An excessively low calorie intake should also be avoided.  Having too large of an energy deficit whilst trying to burn fat will result in unwanted muscle loss.  A very low calorie diet will lack the capacity for sufficient intake of essential nutrients.  The maximum energy deficit of a healthy balanced diet should not surpass 600 kcal.


Not sure how many calories you should be eating to be in a healthy calorie deficit? Find out here.