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TOPIC: Do people on low carb diets count their calories?

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June 28, 2012 1:59 AM
If calories in vs calories out isn't everything, do people on low carb diets still consider how many calories they've eaten?

I've been eating relatively low carb (70-80g per day) and on a calorie deficit for a few weeks, and I'm losing nicely and feel good on the low carb diet, but my hubby tells me I'm too obsessed with the calories, and that the calories don't matter ... I should just count the carbs.

Any thoughts?
  4224925
June 28, 2012 2:02 AM
I count both. And protein too.

Well, the calories is the most imprtant goal, but I also aim for 100g protein and under 100g carbs. Some diets (such as Atkins) dont bother with counting the calories, but they are VERY low carb approachs.
  3627003
June 28, 2012 2:04 AM
Because if you want to lose weight, you have to ensure calories in < calories out, otherwise you will put on weight or at the very least stalemate on that weight.

It depends what you're trying to acheive, body composition-wise.
June 28, 2012 2:05 AM
I count both calories and carbs. As Melanie says I think it's diets such as Atkins that don't bother with calorie counting, but I see the low carb diet as a lifestyle change more than a quick fix as I am a total carb junkie so I feel it's quite important to count calories to ensure that a) I am actually eating enough and b) to get an idea of how I can maintain this style of eating.
June 28, 2012 2:06 AM
Yes, because you can still gain weight on a low-carb diet. It's just slightly harder to do because it is a lot easier to eat 500 calories of pasta than it is to eat 500 calories of grilled chicken breast orlettuce.
  21619196
June 28, 2012 3:37 AM
Yes, on low carbs still log calories. I'm on Dukan, and was eating way below my 1200 per day without noticing it. Now started logging calories again to make sure I eat enough, because I plateau as soon as I go under 1200 a day.
June 28, 2012 4:54 AM
QUOTE:

If calories in vs calories out isn't everything, do people on low carb diets still consider how many calories they've eaten?

I've been eating relatively low carb (70-80g per day) and on a calorie deficit for a few weeks, and I'm losing nicely and feel good on the low carb diet, but my hubby tells me I'm too obsessed with the calories, and that the calories don't matter ... I should just count the carbs.

Any thoughts?


Your body uses energy. It measures this energy in units called calories.

Macronutrients provide these calories, and each have a specific grams/calories conversion.

One gram carbohydrate - 4 calories
One gram protein - 4 calories
One gram fat - 9 calories

It doesn't matter what you read, what you think, what your stupid hippy friend told you; your body obeys the laws of physics. It doesn't matter if you are eating low carb, high protein, high fat; or that weird fad diet said hippy friend told you about. Your body has energy demands, and it will go about meeting those demands one way or another.

Yes, what you eat can affect your health and well being, but caloric demands are caloric demands. If you get nine calories of fat per gram from bacon, several times throughout the day, versus nine calories of fat per gram of salmon; will your cardiovascular health differ in the long run? Quite likely. If you get four calories per gram of protein from white rice versus four calories per gram of protein from quinoa is your lean body mass going to be affected in the long run? Probably.

However, in either case if the caloric inputs are the same. The energy consumed versus expended is the same. Your metabolism remains fairly constant, the only factors that really affect it are age, sex, height, weight etc. Everything else, "thermogenic" foods, extreme calorie deficits etc don't really make it budge as much as people like to think. Why do extremely fat people lose weight very fast? Because it takes much more energy to sustain that giant frame, puts more stress on the system...and obese people have been storing a very rich source of fuel on their bodies in the form of fat.

It's like if you tow a load with your car, or hell, drive the average vehicle faster than 70 mph; you start to consume more fuel.

So to circle all the way back to your question; yes of course you. If you eat less carbs, yes you will retain less water, your "fat" loss will progress more smoothly in a visible sense on the scale and in general fluctuations in weight a person goes through just in a day, but it all breaks down to calories in versus calories out.

original post edited by mod
June 28, 2012 4:56 AM
I do.
June 28, 2012 4:57 AM
I did Atkins before and I didn't. I lost some weight but after I stopped I ballooned right back up lol
June 28, 2012 4:57 AM
Im medically required to follow a low carb intake, but also a food elimination list to avoid like the plague thanks to allergy testing.

I definitely track calories, but also carbohydrates (restricted to 120g/daily), but can do as much protein and fat necessary. Im a big fan of vegetables and only allowed one serving of fruit per day (again, medical reasons)...

Now the only thing Im waiting for is clearance to go back to the gym to exercise thanks to some horrible damages to my heel bones (the images are NOT pretty and when you know how to read xray results, it means that much more to properly heal the heel!)
  11372560
June 28, 2012 4:59 AM
a calorie is a calorie whether its a carb calorie or a fat calorie or a protein calorie. to lose weight you need to limit the total calories so counting them is the only way to know if you are in a deficit
June 28, 2012 5:12 AM
I've been doing low carb since April. I still count caloires.
  9428580
June 28, 2012 5:25 AM
when i am being good. I am under 100 carbs and over on my protein. I have found when I am good with my carbs it is naturally easy to stay under my cal goal as well b/c I am replacing starchy carbs mostly with veggies and no that much more meat. If what you are doing is workign keep it up.
  3150954
June 28, 2012 6:45 AM
QUOTE:

when i am being good I am under 100 carbs and over on my protein. I have found when I am good with my carbs it is naturally easy to stay under my cal goal as well b/c I am replacing starchy carbs mostly with veggies


^^^^ This!
June 28, 2012 7:16 AM
On Atkins (if you actually read the book) you are supposed to count calories AND pay attention to portion sizes AND eat six cups of veggies per day even on the lowest induction phase. That is if you have time to read the book or go to the Atkins website.
So yes--calories do matter. Atkins even gives a range and warns against going too low in calories.
  143739
June 28, 2012 7:22 PM
My carbs are quite low (less than 30g a day) so I don't bother with counting calories as well. I generally aim for a certain level of hunger.
June 28, 2012 7:25 PM
I watch calories and do an average of 70 carbs a day. I keep my calories around 1590. Its working for me.
  16477409
June 28, 2012 7:31 PM
QUOTE:

My carbs are quite low (less than 30g a day) so I don't bother with counting calories as well. I generally aim for a certain level of hunger.


So you are hoping to be hungry at the end of the day?

If you are wanting to lose weight, you should count calories too. Just my two cents.
  5253844
June 28, 2012 7:42 PM
I've recently started to work on being low-er carb ~50g per day. With this I haven't been getting even close to my calorie limit/goal for the day (1600). On an average day I'm eating about 1000 calories without including exercise calories. So while I pay attention to the calories I know I'm eating so low that I don't obsess about that, but instead carbs/fiber and adding more protein. But then again, maybe I'm not eating enough calories.

Its interesting and I find that I have been feeling a lot better... And hoping to get in the groove for losing more weight. Its sooo hard!

Good luck and have a great day guys!
June 28, 2012 7:47 PM
QUOTE:

My carbs are quite low (less than 30g a day) so I don't bother with counting calories as well. I generally aim for a certain level of hunger.


just curious, since the primary function of this site is to count calories, why are you on this site? did you switch to not counting calories after you found this site?
June 28, 2012 7:53 PM
It must be a guy thing. My husband doesn't count calories either, it drives me nuts. For him it is carbs and fiber. I am doing low carb and counting calories. That is what works best for me. If you are doing low carb then you can give yourself a little wiggle room on the calories!
June 28, 2012 7:54 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My carbs are quite low (less than 30g a day) so I don't bother with counting calories as well. I generally aim for a certain level of hunger.

So you are hoping to be hungry at the end of the day?


What I meant was I eat when I'm at a certain level of hunger, rather than at a certain time.
June 28, 2012 7:54 PM
QUOTE:

However, in either case if the caloric inputs are the same. The energy consumed versus expended is the same...but it all breaks down to calories in versus calories out.


Wrong. When you have insulin resistance like I, and many overweight people do, it's not just calories in, calories out. The body doesn't use carbs for energy like it's supposed to. Many of the carbs get stored because the body isn't responding to the insulin the body is producing.
  8735779
June 28, 2012 7:54 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

My carbs are quite low (less than 30g a day) so I don't bother with counting calories as well. I generally aim for a certain level of hunger.


just curious, since the primary function of this site is to count calories, why are you on this site? did you switch to not counting calories after you found this site?

I am a low carb lifestyler (making it back on track) who isn't interested in calories as a marker. I am on this site because I don't want to do it alone. I need encouragement and a "high five" every once in a while. We are all on different journeys and arrive here on MFP for a variety of reasons. Why be such a putz?
  25203911
June 28, 2012 7:55 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

However, in either case if the caloric inputs are the same. The energy consumed versus expended is the same...but it all breaks down to calories in versus calories out.


Wrong. When you have insulin resistance like I, and many overweight people do, it's not just calories in, calories out. The body doesn't use carbs for energy like it's supposed to. Many of the carbs get stored because the body isn't responding to the insulin the body is producing.


Well said.
  25203911

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