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"a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" vs clean eating

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  • HelenDootsonHelenDootson Member Posts: 525 Member Member Posts: 525 Member
    I think both sides are too dramatic. There is much more to nutrition than calories- but you don't need to "eat clean" whatever that means, all the time either. There's a happy middle ground that you can find where you eat a well balanced and nutritious diet- and still enjoy some of the treats that you like.

    My philosophy is to get protein first, eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, some whole grains, and use the excess calories however you wish. It's a very sustainable approach- does not at all feel like a diet.

    This is the approach I am on the whole using and the weight is falling off! Hey this week I had Indian Take Out + Dessert, 2 BBQs and 4 glasses of wine, but they were all planned for and within my calorie goals - I lost another 3.4lbs
    Eat the bulk of your calories from the healthy range and then play and be inventive with the rest :smile:
  • SoDamnHungrySoDamnHungry Member Posts: 7,000 Member Member Posts: 7,000 Member
    I think when it comes to losing weight, calories in, calories out, regardless of quality. But when it comes to feeling better and being healthy in a way that isn't just about not being overweight, it's about the quality of the calories.

    But like Loulady said, if you're not losing weight, it can't hurt to try something new, even if you aren't sure if it'll work.
  • momtokgomomtokgo Member Posts: 473 Member Member Posts: 473 Member
    There is no answer that will be right for everyone. Just keep experimenting until you find something that works for you.

    Personally I don't think a calorie is just a calorie, but thats what works for me. The cleaner I eat, the easier I lose weight. And of course I feel 100 time better then if I were eating junk all day long.
  • islandmonkeyislandmonkey Member Posts: 546 Member Member Posts: 546 Member
    I can lose weight just counting calories, but I can only change my body shape and lose belly fat by cutting out sugar. That's the only thing that works for me.

    Technically, yes a calorie is a calorie....because that's just a measure of latent energy in the food when it's still outside your body. My personal experience is that my body processes that energy differently depending on the form (sugar vs. other carbs vs. protein vs. fat).
  • freerangefreerange Member Posts: 1,722 Member Member Posts: 1,722 Member
    Alright, I keep hearing two sides to this story and it's driving me crazy. People tell me I can eat whatever I want as long as I burn it off and/or stay within my daily calorie goal,..others tell me I won't lose unless I eat clean bc its more about nutrition and macro-nutrients than calories. Since December, I've lost about 30 lbs, and I'm on my way to losing another 20, so obviously I've been doing something right. But It seems as if my weight no longer wants to budge, and I'm wondering if its because I haven't been eating as healthy (yet still staying within my daily calorie allowance). I just need some honest answers please.

    IF your goal is simply to lose weight, it is all about calories in/ calories out, period end of story. IF however you are more interested in HEALTH it's about WHAT you eat, but you still have to stay within your calorie amounts.
  • m60kafm60kaf Member Posts: 421 Member Member Posts: 421 Member
    My take on it is it is calories is calories. Why perfectly healthy people eat rubbish

    However, you are most likely to succeed at the healthy calories with clean eating.

    Doesn't take a lot of fast food to exceed daily calories
  • proudauntproudaunt Member Posts: 46 Member Posts: 46
    bump for later
  • BeanyFrog13BeanyFrog13 Member Posts: 161 Member Member Posts: 161 Member
    The way I've always done it and the way it's really worked for me, both before I joined MFP and after, was just to stick to calories. If I want jelly beans, I now have a 25g, 100cal pre-bagged amount that I make up as soon as I get them. If I want a treat, I have it. If I have anything at all, I log it!

    For me it's all about the calories although of course we all know that too much "bad" or "naughty" food isn't good for us anyway, hence my smaller portions of the things I like to eat and crave :D

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  • Francesca3162Francesca3162 Member Posts: 524 Member Member Posts: 524 Member
    I think both sides are too dramatic. There is much more to nutrition than calories- but you don't need to "eat clean" whatever that means, all the time either. There's a happy middle ground that you can find where you eat a well balanced and nutritious diet- and still enjoy some of the treats that you like.

    My philosophy is to get protein first, eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, some whole grains, and use the excess calories however you wish. It's a very sustainable approach- does not at all feel like a diet.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I agree with this^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I figure out what I need to eat to make sure I get my proteins, fruits, veggies, grains etc. then fill in the spaces with snacks!!! But I try to avoid just eating for the sake of eating...... Take a look at my diary to see what I mean......
  • solarpower03solarpower03 Member Posts: 12,137 Member Member Posts: 12,137 Member
    There are two stages of fitness:

    1) One needs a balanced diet- hit required protein levels, fats and fill rest with carbs. In the early stage- you can get away with absolute/net calories often phrased as IIFYM (if it fits your macro)

    2) In advanced stage, not only 1 but also quality of your macros is important. You will need a) low glycemic carbs not simple sugar 2) essential fats not any fats etc
  • marywilsonclinemarywilsoncline Member Posts: 301 Member Member Posts: 301 Member
    I personally cut out eating anything fried, anything with high fructose corn syrup in it, I don't eat out much anymore, NO more McD's!!! I do eat Sugar free chocolate pudding, sugar free oreos, Sugar free hersheys dark chocolate minitures, Skinny cow candies. I go by the " serving size" and do measure everything now. I don't drink soda anymore, just one every once in a while with a slice of pizza. I eat tons of fresh fruit and veggies now. I also bought the "EAT THIS, NOT THAT" line of books that tells the better options avaliable in the grocery store verses brands and I have the one for restaurants too. These books are great. But I do think as much as I workout I could indulge in a treat every once in a while and it would'nt hurt me, but I can't let myself :)
  • lesliefblesliefb Member Posts: 89 Member Posts: 89
    STRICTLY in terms of weight loss, a calorie is a calorie. However, if you eat "clean", you may find it easier to lose weight. For example, a slice of whole wheat bread is going to keep you full for longer than a cookie with the same number of calories will. Also, "clean" foods tend to have fewer calories per unit volume, so you may be able to eat more in terms of size that way. Not to mention that you'll probably have much more energy and feel better.

    I was going to say something similar. In my experience up and down the scale, I think a healthy way of eating is easier to stick to. This is because you'll stay full longer, and your body won't be trying to convince you that you have to eat more because it is craving nutrition.
  • bcattoesbcattoes Member Posts: 17,307 Member Member Posts: 17,307 Member
    As a general rule, for weight loss it really is just calories in vs. calories out.

    As a general rule, for good health clean eating is great, but not necessary, though most any doctor or nutrition expert will tell you that eating more natural whole foods is a good thing.

    Then there are the people with medical conditions that cause the general rules not to apply for them. They have problems with artificial sweeteners, food additives, too much sugar, etc. And they think restricting <whatever> is the best for everyone, or perhaps they just want others to restrict it because they have to (misery loves company school of thought) Or those that have read a book or blog and been convinced that this way or that way is the only healthy way to eat.

    But we all know people that have lived to a ripe old age without following a specific diet. We all know thin fit people that don't cut <whatever> from their diet. We all know healthy people that eat this or that.

    The best thing any of us can do is find a healthy diet that works for us and we can be happy with long term. If that means restricting something, then restrict it. But don't restrict something just because someone else says it worked for them. Do it or don't do it because it works for you.
  • rolo51rolo51 Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    With regards to hitting a plateau in your weight loss, have a look at this calculator: http://www.pbrc.edu/research-and-faculty/calculators/weight-loss-predictor/

    The Penningtion Biomedical Research Center created this calculator which I found to be very informative. It takes into account the effect of metabolism slowing during weight loss. It may help you in re-evaluating your caloric intake and/or activity levels during your weight loss journey.
  • Aimeebird1Aimeebird1 Member Posts: 141 Member Posts: 141
    I think it's best to understand what clean eating is. In all my years as a competitive bodybuilder and trainer eating clean meant eating foods that prompted the body to be most efficient at burning fat and expending energy without burning muscle.

    As we dropped weight we wanted to drop as much body fat as possible without losing muscle. Eating "clean" is the best way to attain a lean hard balanced physiques that is ready for action.

    So what does that mean?
    For starters let's look at carbohydrates. Clean carbs are things like oatmeal (slow cook), whole grains, yams so on a so forth. Carbohydrates with a LOW GLYCEMIC index. These carbs when consumed are released slowly and the body uses them for energy without an insulin spike. When we eat simple sugars or things that have a high glycemic index we spike our insulin which then crashes doing two things.

    1. Triggers a fat storing response.
    2. Triggers a hunger response. ( think of eating Chinese food and feeling stuffed, but then you are hungry 30 mins later.)

    Again, when we eat clean we avoid this pit fall and tend to have more energy and appetite control. We also maintain our fat burning and muscle building "zone"

    So while a calorie is a calorie, eating clean is more akin to putting good software into your computer. The better the operating system you upload the better your computer runs.

    I am being very general in this response, I am happy to be more specific if anybody wants a more detailed answer.

    I'm with you :) its taken me a few years to get to this way of thinking and I find for me it works best. If I eat whatever I want within my cals I still fell crap and usally crave sugar filled foods more. Now I'm much happier and dont think about food as much as I use too.

    On that note each to their own whatever works best for you :)
  • petiteLady89petiteLady89 Member Posts: 198 Member Member Posts: 198 Member
    When I had more weight to lose, in my case, it didn't matter. Once I got down to the last 10-15lbs, it very much matters.
  • RaindanceMeghanRaindanceMeghan Member Posts: 4 Member Posts: 4
    You are what you eat...Do you want to be a cupcake? Bodies are not made it the gym, they are made in the kitchen. Its 30% working out and 70% nutrition that will get you the results if you want them. What has worked for me is following a 80% clean nutrition meal plan (inc. organic) and allowing myself a few treats & splurges a couple times a week so that my brain and body doesn't go into deprivation mode. All calories and food ARE NOT created equal.
  • KrakenzmamaKrakenzmama Member Posts: 33 Member Posts: 33
    Personally, I take the cookie monster philosophy :"Cookies are a sometimes food." I am learning to eat foods that are good for me, made at home, and following a cleaner living style diet - more strictly- starting these past few weeks. I had to wean myself off fast food but after a setback last week , I decided to kick fast food for once and for all - especially since the guilt far outweighs the comfort lol I will still eat the one small warm chocolate chip cookie offered to me occasionally at my desk but I will run far away from the *free* ice cream that was offered in the the break-room fridge this weekend which is so easy to over-indulge on as an ice-cream lover :P And then leave all of my singles and silver coins with hubby to avoid hitting the snack machine which has the granola bars next to the M&M's and instead bring an apple if I want something sweet!
  • 1holegrouper1holegrouper Member Posts: 323 Member Member Posts: 323 Member
    The people who say "a calorie is a calorie, etc." are not thinking in terms of the bigger picture or they have not been through or observed this directly themselves. It's a way for them to defend their beloved junk food. In terms of merely losing weight they are technically correct. If that is all one is after then the discussion is moot.

    However, that's like saying that a body is a body is a body. The viewpoint needs to be one of lifestyle and long term. You take 2 people and put them both through the same calorie deficit and exercise program but one eats junk and the other eats "clean" then compare those bodies afterwards. Also, compare how they both felt during the process. Who was sick, who had headaches, who had sleep issues? Excessive hunger cravings? Both have lost weight, but one is healthier, more energetic, feels fuller and has better skin and likely better muscle tone. The other is slightly malnourished at best. Guess which one that is. Sure you can have your cake and eat it too but you still are paying a price. But you can also be too extreme. A disciplined eater who occasionally (big debate on how often that should be) takes on a morsel of junk food is not necessarily cancelling out all their hard work prior. Balance and perspective is important to all of this.

    ETA: Nutrition trumps calorie deficit every time.
  • StevLLStevLL Member Posts: 931 Member Member Posts: 931 Member
    I think both sides are too dramatic. There is much more to nutrition than calories- but you don't need to "eat clean" whatever that means, all the time either. There's a happy middle ground that you can find where you eat a well balanced and nutritious diet- and still enjoy some of the treats that you like.

    My philosophy is to get protein first, eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, some whole grains, and use the excess calories however you wish. It's a very sustainable approach- does not at all feel like a diet.

    Excellent response ^^^
    Mywife and I (hootsmamma) have been trying to change our eating habits and behaviors around food. One thing we've learned as we have read and asked questions is that there is not a strict definition to eating clean. One expert wrote in his book "if you can't get it naked with a stick in the middle of the Sahara it's not whole and clean" Kinda limited in my opinion.

    We recently finished a book called the "Happiness Diet" which helped us really define for ourselves what we wanted our clean eating to look like. We wanted less proccessed foods, but even "proccessd" has a ton of different definitions. We try for more whole foods like fresh proteins, fruits, veggies and some grains as we are also trying to eliminate gluten, but for us less proccessed means less chemical based proccessing and less canned, packaged foods. For example we make our own peanut butter which is proccessing, but we know exactly whats in it and can pronounce all the ingredients. We still eat dark chocolate and have popsicles if we want. It's doable and keeps us on our path. FYI fresh peanut butter and dark chocolate beats my old favoraite Snickers any day!

    Try cleaning up your diet for a couple of weeks and see if that makes a difference.

    Ps. if you read the happiness diet you'll never look at packaged canned foods the same. Every couple of pages it has a factoid about our proccessed foods. Wow & Eeewww factor to the enth degree!:sad: :cry:
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