The Great Calorie Secret

When it comes to diets, we’ve been fed a fair few lies. We’ve all been told that this diet is superior over that diet, or this detox tea will help you lose fat from your belly. Or my personal favourite, find the diet that is right for your body type. The only people that usually benefit from these so-called diets, are the people flogging them. 

Naturally, there will be some people that these diets will work for (apart from the detox tea), that comes down to ratios. 

However, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: All diets work.

Yep, you read that correctly. All diets work. Or at least they do if you stick to them.

If you remember one thing from this blog, let it be this…


Doesn’t matter if you’ve paid a fortune for it or not. Whether you have to count syns or points. Whether you’re low carb or carb free. If you’re veggie, vegan or only eat Maccas. You have to consume less than you expend.

But what exactly is a calorie? It’s a unit of energy. Without getting too scientific, a calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. So when you hear someone spout that calories aren’t created equally, that’s rubbish, a calorie is a calorie. 

There are 4kcal in a gram of carbohydrate and 4kcal in a gram of protein but there are 9kcal in a gram of fat. These three things are called macronutrients and will make up the majority of your diet. Your diet will also include micronutrients but that’s getting a tad pernickety for this article so we’ll leave that for another day. Each macronutrient has a different job. 

Carbohydrates are sugars, fibres and starches found in grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. They are your bodies main source of energy and although some diets will argue against it, they are important when maintaining a healthy diet. If someone is arguing against eating carbohydrates, consider what they are trying to sell you.

You can think of proteins as the body’s building blocks as they build and repair muscles, but they also provide the body with energy. Sources of protein include red meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. People should be eating between 1.5 and 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day. For example, if you’re an average build female weighing 62kg, you should be eating between 93g and 124g of protein per day. This can go up if you’re trying to build muscle or if you’re training load increases.

Lastly, we have fats. Fats, or lipids as they’re sometimes known, have had a bad rep in the past, hence why there are loads of low-fat food options (the fat has usually been replaced with sugar so pick your poison). Like carbohydrates, fats are used as an energy source. There are different types of fat but again, for the mo I don’t think we need to go into that much detail. One of their jobs is to protect your organs and they are imperative to include in a healthy, balanced diet. 

So, as you can see, all calories are equal, but they aren’t all packaged the same. 

For example, which do you think is better for you? A 50g Mars Bar or 50g of chicken? In a standard 50g Mars Bar there are 228kcal, in 50g of chicken there are 68.5kcal. You’d have to eat 3.3 times the amount of chicken to consume the same amount of calories as the Mars Bar. Think about all the other benefits that chicken has. It would satiate you for longer, there would be no sugar spike and it’s one of the best protein sources around. Plus, thanks to the thermic effect of food, you’d also burn more calories digesting the protein in the chicken.

BUT…when it comes to losing fat, as long as it fits in with your calories then there’s no reason why you couldn’t pick the Mars Bar over the chicken every so often. Nobody will expect you to be a saint 100% of the time so don’t put that pressure on yourself. 

In short, the aim of every diet is the same. Whether you’ve paid for it or not. If you need the structure of counting syns or whatever then by all means, crack on. If you’re like me, then just having a calorie limit is enough. But don’t be led to believe that one diet is superior over the other, it really isn’t. You just need to find one that works for you. As with everything, if you stick to it, it will work. I guarantee it. 

If you’d like to find out what your calorie and protein targets would be for fat loss then by all means, get in touch!

Carbs are not your enemy!

I was speaking to a client the other day and they’d been to see another professional who’d told them that giving up carbohydrates or “carbs” will help them lose weight. Controversial. Personally, I think carbs are given bad press. 

For those who don’t know, carbs are a macronutrient. They are the sugars, starches and fibres that are found in most food groups and are essential for a healthy diet. What they are not, is the cause of obesity. Over eating is. 

In fact, it is nigh on impossible to ‘give up’ all forms of carbohydrate. They are found in dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurts, all fruit and vegetables, grainy foods like bread, pasta and rice, legumes such as beans and finally, in sugary foods such as cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks.

The main job of carbohydrates is to provide the body with energy. Once consumed, they’re broken down into glucose which is then utilised by organs and muscles around the body. Any glucose that is unused gets converted into glycogen and is stored in the liver and muscles. If too much glucose is consumed and not all of it can be stored as glycogen, it is converted to fat for long-term storage of energy. 

As I said earlier, it is not to the consumption of carbs that’s the problem, it’s consuming too much of them!

I wouldn’t ever tell a client to cut out any foods, whether that’s cake, crisps or alcohol. We all have our vices and life is too short to deny us the foods that we enjoy! However, what I would say to them is to manage the amount of these vices that they have. For example, if you’re going to have a pudding in the evening, maybe skip the biscuits with your cup of tea! 

Losing weight is simple, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This is a scientific fact. If you consume more calories (energy) than you expend you WILL increase your fat levels and put on ‘weight’. If you expend more calories than you consume then you WILL lose weight.

In short, I won’t be cutting out donuts any time soon. But I will carry on counting my calories to the best of my ability! 

7 Things to Know About Sugar…

I like a donut, correction, i love donuts, i like cake and, like the majority of the population, I like chocolate. So I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you shouldn’t be eating sugar. After all, sugar is also found in fruit which is deemed as healthy.

However, problems arise when we eat too much sugar. When our diet is filled with cereal, chocolate, fizzy drinks, white bread, sweets, biscuits, cake and even fruit. So, here are seven things that will happen when you lower the amount of sugar in your diet.

1. Your cholesterol will drop.

According to a study published in Open Heart, the risk posed by heart problems can be reduced by more than half. Within a few weeks LDL cholesterol can drop 10 percent, with a 20 to 30 percent reduction in triglycerides

2. Your body’s inflammation will decrease.

Inflammation is linked to problems from acne to heart disease to depression. Cutting down on sugar intake decreases overall inflammation and the risks that come with it.

3. You’ll think more clearly.

One UCLA study found that sugar slowed learning and memory, and may even damage brain signals. Part of this may also have to do with the fact that sugar causes energy crashes that don’t do your attention span any favours.

4. You’ll age more gracefully.

Fructose helps form oxygen radicals, which accelerate the cellular damage that’s associated with aging.

5. You’ll feel more energized.

You’ve probably heard that sugar gives you a boost of energy, and there’s truth to that. Sugar spikes glucose and can have an impact that feels similar to that of caffeine. However, cutting out sugar helps stabilize glucose levels, helping you avoid the crash and feel less dependent on that sugar rush.

6. You’ll stop missing it.

Sugar is literally addictive. While it triggers the pleasure hormone dopamine in your brain, eating too much makes you desensitized to it, meaning you need larger doses to get the same affect. People who go cold turkey with sugar report intense cravings and even headaches, both symptoms associated with withdrawal.

7. You’ll lose weight.

If you cut out the 300 extra calories a day you get from sugar, you could lose five pounds in two months. And that’s assuming you’re on the lower end of the sugar consumption scale.

So pals, as I said, you don’t need to cut all sugar from your diet as it tastes pretty damn good! Just think about dropping the amount you have. Two biscuits instead of three, a slightly smaller slice of cake, one less can of fizzy drink per day…you get the drift!