View Full Version : How important is counting calories?

03-02-2002, 07:02 PM
How important is counting calories when -

A lot of the components of many foods that you eat are estimates.
the breakdowns on label are probably not accurate.

As long as you know roughly what is in the food that you are eating should you not be able to have the same results by listening to you body and the sort of food it requires. Energy levels, recovery times etc...

As soon as I eat anything outside of what I have a a label for - say I buy a meal whilst out, the whole calorie counting system just flies out the window as often I have no idea what the exact weight and colories involved with that meal is. For example, yesterday for lunch I bought some pasta with avocado and chicken - not so hard to calculate roughly, but then I ate a burger with chips and the burger had various stuff and sauces on it and the chips I think were cooked in oil which I put tomato sauce on, then I ate a roast beef dinner with potatoes and pumpkin and gravy/mint sauce with a couple of beers and that was just my lunch since I forgot to bring anything to work with me...

If I got a breakdown of calories in the gravy off the net for example, is that going to be the same as what I ate. Or the meat, which I dont know the exact quality of, the bread, even the beers.

Maybe it is important whilst cutting I guess but when bulking, why not just at as much as possible in roughly the right ratios and at the right times?

I see a lot of people have it all neatly set out and calculated and I dont think that this is at all accurate. When I get too fat I just stop eating so much.

Is this wrong?

03-03-2002, 03:36 AM
Eventhough you can't exactly define the amount of daily consumed calories and you have a ~10% (at most) over or under estimation error in your accumulation,this is something that you repeat every day.

I mean that the estimation error will range between 0-10% every day,so your progress will be measured correctly.

By the time you have done this calculation for over a year,you're very experienced and you eliminate the chances of creating a big gap between the estimation of the consumed calories and the real amount of them.

It is important, if not essential if you're serious about always making many steps forward.

03-03-2002, 06:17 AM
I can look at food and guess quite accuratley, but like wizzard says I am exprienced at this.

Besides the cacluations being estimates the portion size of food will change slightly as well.

most fat people who say they do not eat much often mis calcuate the wieght of the food by up to 50%. this is one reaosn why their slimming diets do not worka s they eat to much.

Some foods nutrients levels will change with the season. eg when fish get preganant there fat level increase by from 5 to 25% fat in makeral or salmon, I forget which.
but other foods like lettuce are low in kcals so even if the fat level increased by 500% the level will not make a significant difference.
remember some levels may be less and some more, so the product you diet will roughly even out.

03-03-2002, 06:52 PM
I have a list of nutritional information for different fast food items, such as BK Broiler w/o mayo, Subway sandwhiches, McGrill, Chicken Fiesta Burrito, etc. If I MUST eat out, I try to eat something that is healthy, and preferably something that I know the nutritional information for. Now, if I drank a few beers, that is easy, just look up the nutritional info for that beer, and multiply by two.

If you weigh yourself for two weeks, and count your calories for two weeks, being a tiny bit off will not make a huge difference. If you figure out your daily caloric requirements, you can bulk and cut optimally. If you wanted to cut, you would just go about 500 calories below your calculated maintenance. There is no way to know otherwise if you are debiting the correct amount at the beginning of a diet, as you will lose several pounds of water and undigested food (possibly). Later in the diet, you can figure out when your metabolism has become too low and you need to up your calories for a while (just look at your maintenance calories, are they too low?).

You should become an expert at counting calories. I started by just counting protein. Then I learned carbs (fiber, complex, sugar, GI), and later fat. Now I know my maintenance calories, how many carbs I need to maintain energy, etc. Much easier in the long run.

Complete Muscle
03-06-2002, 06:26 PM
Monitoring your nutritional intake in some way shape or form is mandatory for maximum progress. I don't trust my appetite to tell me when to eat or how much or how much protein vs fat vs carbs. I tried that for years with no success. So I began counting every calorie that crossed my lips. That helped my body building progress immensely, but what a pain! So I invented a nutrition tracking system. It utilizes counting portions rather than label reading. After logging hundreds of foods and averaging their nutritional information I came to the realization that food portions are plenty accurate. Like Wizard says there's a 10% margin of error. I read somewhere that food's nutrition labels have about plus or minus 10-20% tolerance as well. I averaged 3 weeks of calorie counting vs portion tracking and they were almost identical, but the calorie counting took a lot more time out of my day! Have a look at my "invention" if you want: www.nutri-tracker.com

03-07-2002, 02:33 PM
I roughly count my kcals in my head each day.

I have a good memory of what i eat per day.

But today was hard as i grazed for 4 hours. just eating ham, tuna, salmon, chicken, chicken tikka, prawns, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce.
I could have weighed it as I had scales in fornt of me.