The number of calories people should eat each day depends on several factors, including their age, size, height, sex, lifestyle, and overall general health. A physically active 6′ 2″ male, aged 23 years, requires considerably more calories than a 5′ 2″ sedentary woman in her 60s.

The NHS (National Health Service) stresses that rather than solely counting numbers (calories), people should focus more on eating a healthy, well balanced diet, stay physically active, and focus on balancing how many calories are consumed with the number of calories expended each day. Simply counting calories, and ignoring what (type) you put in your mouth might not lead to good health and this is why: insulin levels will rise significantly more after consuming carbohydrates than after eating fats (no rise at all) or protein. Some carbohydrates get into the bloodstream in the form of sugar (glucose) much faster than others. Refined flour, for example, is considered a fast carb, while steel cut oats (oatmeal) is slow. As one might guess, slow-release carbs are better for body weight control and overall health. This means that when you prepare your meal plan, in order to lose weight and gain health, your calories must be clean. You’ve all heard this “clean eating” buzzword but what does it actually mean? In a nutshell, eating clean is the practice of eating whole (unprocessed and unrefined) foods in their natural state. Nothing is added and nothing is removed so the food remains intact, keeping all it’s original vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Eating clean is also avoiding the junk and chemical-infested “non-foods” that typically make up the Standard American Diet (S.A.D). The types of junk I’m speaking of are man-made sugar, bad fats (hydrogenated, trans-fat), preservatives, white bread, and any other ingredients that are unnecessary (such as food dyes). An easy way to remember this essential rule: “If it’s made in a plant don’t eat it; if it is a plant, do.

Julie Peterson, LDHS, CNHP, CNC
Nutrition Coach & Personal Trainer
Fitness by Design, Carmel