Where Calories Should Come From
An average U.S. male should consume around 2000 calories per day and an average female around 1500, right?  Or is it 2500 for men and 2000 for women? But wait, should you actually ignore caloric intake all together and just focus on certain food groups? Or maybe zero-in on exact grams of carbs, protein and fats?

Cue Dr. Christian Rosevear, D.C., Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Beaumont, Kentucky. "When it comes to the healthy diet that works the best, there’s an easy answer—it’s the diet that you can stick to," says Dr. Christian. "That being said, we’ve spent years focusing on counting calories and as you look at obesity rates in this country, it’s obvious that approach did not work."

Make Your Calories Count

Counting Calories
If your goal is to lose weight, Dr. Christian notes that it’s more important to monitor and reduce your intake of grain carbohydrates and fructose than it is to count calories. These foods have a big impact on the body’s insulin level, which affects metabolism rates. This means limiting foods like breads, pastas, whole grains and anything with sugar, both natural and added.

"We need to get away from looking at nutrition in our diets as just calories. The quality of calories is very important," explains Dr. Christian. "Consuming 1500-2000 calories of cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef and organic fruits and vegetables is not the same as consuming 1500-2000 calories of soda, chips and fast food. All calories are not created equal."

Calorie Counting Tools

If you’re concerned about your caloric intake, chances are you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. For help with realistic goal setting, Dr. Christian recommends www.myfitnesspal.com.  Log on and answer a few questions about yourself and your goals. Within seconds, the site determines a recommended daily caloric limit, broken down by grams of carbs, proteins and fats and tailored to your weight loss goals. For more tech tools that help with weight-related goals, see yesterday’s Be Well post, The Best Virtual Weight Loss Tools.

Our Ancestors Didn’t Count Calories

In Dr. Christian’s opinion, eating the way our ancestors did is your best bet. Instead of being calorie-centric, eat the way our hunter-gather forefathers did. This type of diet is high in healthy fats, plant and fruit-based fiber, lean meat and fish protein. It’s also extremely low in carbohydrates, dairy and added salt. Dr. Christian often turns to www.marksdailyapple.com for inspiration about this primal diet and wellness lifestyle.

When it comes to calories, Dr. Christian encourages us to discover the healthiest way we can get them and to stick with that plan. “You can’t expect to eat healthy for a short amount of time, then stop and go back to the standard American diet and maintain or lose weight.”  Making long-term nutrition changes is the best way to achieve success.