It might be time to forget what we previously thought true about dieting and calorie counting. A new study published last month in JAMA shows that we may have been approaching weight loss all wrong. As it turns out, when it comes to watching your weight, it may be the quality of calories not the quantity that should be monitored. For most people that means swopping out those “low calorie” (low quality) processed snacks for more home cooked meals.

In the yearlong study which included 600 participants, doctors advised their patients against counting calories and told them instead to focus their attention on consuming more vegetables and whole foods while cutting back on added sugars, processed foods and refined grains. In this case participants didn’t have to worry about logging their meals in food journal, changing their workout habits or measuring their portion sizes, all they had to do was avoid eating processed foods. The results that followed were astonishing in that some individuals lost up to 60 pounds just by improving the quality of calories they were consuming.

The researchers in the study also controlled for DNA composition and dietary tolerance for fats or carbs and found that this lifestyle change had positive implications regardless of biological differences. Coincidently the people in the study ended up eating fewer calories largely due to the fact that the wholesome meals they were cooking kept them fuller longer, thus cutting out excess calories without even realizing it.

What this all boils down to is that spending more time in the kitchen can prove more helpful than simply logging your calories. If you need help to get cooking check out our articles on the kitchen tools we recommend for any kitchen, Food safety in the kitchen, and our quick guide to setting up your pantry. And don’t forget to check out our how-to cooking videos with Ann.


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