Friday, April 12, 2013

Do I Need to Count Calories if I'm Eating Clean?

Hi guys! Rachel here, and today I want to talk to you about eating clean.  This is a question I get quite often: do I need to count calories if I'm eating clean?

This is actually a complicated question because ultimately, it depends on how your diet is laid out.  Clean eating generally includes eating quite a few fruits and vegetables and many vegetables are actually negative calorie foods, which means that they cost more energy (calories) to break down and digest than our bodies absorb from eating them.  However, not everyone is able to stomach a lot of vegetables in their diet.  At least, not at first.

Ultimately, calories are calories and regardless of where they come from, we all use them the same - as energy.  If we eat too many calories for our activity level, then we will store the energy for later use, meaning we will store them as fat. 

However, clean foods get stored differently than processed foods.  We have two different types of fat in our bodies: brown fat and white fat.  White fat you can probably see if you have or have ever had a tummy.  White fat has no blood circulating through it which makes it difficult to burn, why it takes so much longer for your belly to shrink when you're losing weight than it does for your chest or arms to shrink.  Brown fat does have blood circulating and after your body has used up your glycogen (what our liver turns carbs into), your body will turn to brown fat as fuel.  Excess clean calories get stored as brown fat.

If you are new to eating clean, new to being able to recognize portion sizes or vegetables don't make up the bulk of your diet, then I absolutely recommend that you count your calories even if they come from clean whole food sources.  Does this mean you'll have to count calories and track forever? No! But we have to learn first to recognize how much we are eating and when we have truly eaten enough. 

Want some more information on how to eat clean? Check out my latest article on my new blog: What Does it Mean to Eat Clean?

1 comment:

  1. This is a great explanation for why it's so much easier and better for you to just eat cleaner!