Most Americans consume a lot of carbohydrates and, in turn, a lot of calories. Deciding to count one or the other can help you get a handle on your weight loss. When you keep track of your intake, you’ll naturally consume less and be more aware of what you’re eating.
Yes, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. However, you can eat 1500 calories per day in candy bars and cookies, and chances are you won't feel good or full. You may still lose weight, but you'll probably feel tired, sluggish, and cranky. Why? Because sugar shoots up your blood sugar with energy and then causes a crash after. You end up more exhausted than ever. What's more, 1500 calories of junk food per day just isn't sustainable in the long run. A 1500-calorie diet consisting of a toaster pastry for breakfast, a burger for lunch, and starvation for dinner will set you up for failure fast.
A 1500-calorie diet that consists of a high protein breakfast like a vegetable omelet, lunch of a salad topped with light dressing and protein like fish, and a dinner of lean protein, vegetables, and a low-carb side will help you stay full and feel sustained throughout the day.
As you can see, counting calories works, but if you don’t also consider the mix of macronutrients in your diet, it may be much harder to sustain a low-calorie diet. What happens to many people is that they eat or drink empty calories; they get a boost, crash, and feel ravenous. Then, they go out and overeat and fall into the “diet starts tomorrow” mentality.
Counting carbs, on the other hand, may be a little more sustainable and might help you stay fuller longer. The same menu—omelet, salad, and healthy dinner, is also low-carb. You could even supplement your meals with a high protein snack or two—a hardboiled egg in the morning, turkey jerky in the afternoon, or veggies and hummus. A dessert of berries, high protein yogurt, or a frozen banana whipped with peanut butter powder can leave you sustained and successful.
When it comes to calories vs. carbs, the secret to success is eating enough to fill you up and keep your blood sugar steady. If you can avoid the crash, you’ll find your way to success.