How useful is calorie counting when losing weight?
Blick reporter Luisa Ita (27) lost over 60 kilograms by counting calories. But how useful is the method? Lia Bally (34) from Inselspital Bern classifies.
Nutritionist Lia Bally thinks calorie tracking makes sense in principle.
Minus 64 kilograms: Blick reporter Luisa Ita (27) lost weight by counting calories. Expert Lia Bally (34) assesses how useful the method is. She is an endocrinologist and heads the Department of Nutritional Medicine, Metabolism and Obesity at the Inselspital Bern. Bally explains that counting calories can be useful for meeting a daily calorie goal as part of a weight-loss diet. Calorie counting can work well, especially if someone has a specific target weight that they want to lose. If you eat 500 fewer calories per day than you normally would, you will lose about half a kilo per week.
One disadvantage: calorie tracking is expensive. “Each food item has to be checked and sometimes even calculated.” Counting calories reduces the quality of life. There are now many tools (various apps) that make tracking easier, says Bally.
exercise is necessary
In addition to counting calories, exercise is an important factor for long-term success. Without strength training, there is also a risk of muscle loss when you lose weight. “Around 25 percent of the weight lost is muscle if you don’t exercise,” says the expert. Another tip from the expert: “Not thinking about food too often can also help.”
Bally advises people who are of normal weight not to count calories: “The quality of the diet is the priority here.” So: Count calories only when necessary so you don’t risk an eating disorder.
The expert is cautious when it comes to crash diets. She says: “These so-called very low calorie diets may only be carried out under professional supervision and must be embedded in a long-term strategy.” In exceptional cases, such as severely overweight patients, the nutritionist prescribes special shakes that cover the daily requirement of essential substances and make such a diet possible.