Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Carbs are bad… so I can’t have Pizza…. 🍕

There is a common misconception that carbs are inherently ‘bad’ and that in order to lose weight you need to cut them out or avoid them completely. I often hear people complain that they feel really bloated after eating things like pasta/pizza etc “due to all the carbs”.

Pizza is definitely placed firmly in the “carb” camp, but In reality that large pizza that you consider to be carbtastic is actually mostly fat and protein (from the toppings). The reason you may feel bloated isn’t necessarily the base, but the combination of rich, fatty cheese, with other toppings and the sheer quantity of food. As you can see 38% percent of the 1,144 calories from this pizza come from carbs, whilst the remaining 61 percent are from fat and protein (with a small % from other nutrients). So actually it’s mostly fat and protein, not carbs, and let’s be honest, you wouldn’t eat that quantity of naked pizza dough without any toppings right? So perhaps it’s time to stop demonising the carbs?

In reality there is no reason at all to cut carbs (or pizza) from your diet. You can lose weight with or without carbs of any sort; it’s all about calories. Now obviously some people have medical reasons to avoid things like gluten in some carb-based foods (coeliacs etc) but for the majority of people these foods are fine. The reason you may see less bloating and more weight loss when cutting these sorts of carbs is simply because you’re reducing your overall calorie intake and reducing consumption of that rich combo of fat and protein. However unless you never want to eat carbs again then you’re not really setting yourself up for sustainable, long term weight management.

Different carbs do have different pros and cons; complex carbs will keep you fuller longer, whilst simple carbs (fruits mostly) will provide a faster hit of energy, you’ll get different nutrients from the different types too. It’s important to have a balanced diet, including a range of carbs – from pizza to fruit! Cutting out whole food groups is never a sensible or sustainable approach though.

Eat the carbs you like and enjoy and just be mindful of the calories! 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Volumetric vs Weight measures…

Volumetric vs Weight measures…. 🧭

This tip doesn’t just apply to tracking your calories, it’s also important for baking too! You will often find that certain items on tracking apps / recipes are measured in cups. This method of measuring though is very inconsistent. For a start – which cup? What size is the cup? Well usually this means measuring cups, but UK and US cups are actually different sizes so even that is inconsistent! The other issue is that measuring cups and spoons vary slightly in capacity from manufacturer to manufacturer. In addition people differ in their perceptions of how to fill them e.g. do you have it loosely packed, compressed, levelling off the top, heaped etc. So whilst these measures give you a ball park figure they aren’t that precise. For some things this won’t matter – a cup of lettuce for example is so low in calories that it won’t make much difference. However with certain things it can make quite a difference.

In this example, oats are often measured in cups, especially on tracking apps. A serving is half a cup which is assumed to be 40g. So you may think it’s ok to just go with a half cup when scooping out your oats. In reality though a loosely filled half cup is actually closer to 55g. This is an extra 56 cals per portion. 56 cals may not seem like much but if you were also measuring other things in your oats with cups/measuring spoons (like a tbsp peanut butter, tsp jam etc etc) and all those are out too then you’re consuming quite a bit more than you realise. If you’re doing that daily that’s over 390 cals a week, which is enough to affect your progress.

So where possible go for metric measures i.e. grams or ml on a kitchen scale if you want to track your calories more accurately, especially for calorie dense foods.

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

I don’t have time to track my calories….

I don’t have time to track my calories…. 🍏

People are desperate to lose fat/weight but often say they just don’t have time to track what they eat. Now whilst it’s perfectly possible to lose weight without tracking calories, there’s no denying that accurately tracking them is an extremely effective way to do it. And in addition is gives you an excellent foundation of knowledge for maintaining any results you achieve.

I completely understand that it can be really stressful trying to balance work, social life, childcare or caring for other family members etc and perhaps even more so right now with home schooling/home working, but I am not sure the excuse of “no time” always rings true.

On average, in 2020, people in the UK spent 2hrs and 24 mins a day scrolling social media/messaging etc, 1hr 11 mins watching TV and 1 hr 21 mins online shopping. That’s an average of nearly 5 hrs a day! Now whilst you may claim you don’t spend anywhere close to that amount of time doing those things I bet you spend more than 30 mins on these activities (or similar ones)? Studies have shown that tracking your food; whether it be in an app or physically writing it down, takes no more than 30 mins a day. That includes weighing portions, barcode scanning items that are pre-packaged and then actually entering it into the app/writing it down and adding it up.

You don’t have to devote your life to tracking food, but if you can’t spare a few minutes to think about what’s on your plate before you eat it, you won’t make changes to what you eat and drink to reduce calories. In short – it won’t work. You have to make a change.

If you’re telling yourself you’re too busy or don’t have time to put any attention on your diet, then you’re right – you don’t – but that’s not because you don’t want to, it’s because it’s not enough of a priority right now. Once it becomes a big enough priority you’ll find you do in fact have time. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re too busy to track or that it’s a bigger job than it really is, and maybe reconsider the time you spend on other activities that are perhaps not as important for you?

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Fasted vs non-fasted Exercise

Fasted vs non-fasted Exercise… 🏃🏼‍♂️

There’s a fair amount of confusion out there about whether you’re better off exercising fasted (on an empty stomach) or after you’ve eaten something (non-fasted) and whether one is better or worse for fat loss.

The confusion arises because people often talk about how exercising on an empty stomach increases fat oxidation. This then gets conflated with fat loss. Fat oxidation is the process of using fat for energy in the body. When you eat something the body secretes insulin to aid in the processing and metabolism of the food for energy and storage. Insulin reduces fat oxidation, so less fat is used for energy. So the argument is that if you haven’t eaten anything yet that day then you won’t have secreted any insulin and therefore fat will be oxidised and used for energy.

Whilst this is true – you will have more fat oxidation, it doesn’t actually mean more fat loss. Fat loss is dependant on overall calories consumed, on average, over the day/week/month etc. Even if you exercise before eating, you still need to have a calorie deficit for that day otherwise any excess calories will still be stored as fat. So It makes NO difference to fat loss whether you choose to eat before or after exercise.

For some people they prefer to exercise on an empty stomach, but for others they need some food in their system to workout. From a workout perspective if you haven’t eaten yet then you may find you fatigue faster and aren’t able to work as hard, so you may end up burning fewer calories. So it’s very much personal preference!

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

I need to give up sugar… or maybe sugar isn’t the problem?

I need to give up sugar… or maybe sugar isn’t the problem? 🥣

One of the many diet myths I hear a lot is that sugar is bad, and clients will often say they need to give up sugar. Now in reality this usually means they intend to give up things like biscuits, chocolate, cakes, ice cream, doughnuts etc. Very few people are mainling pure sugar! These foods aren’t just “sugar” – they all contain significant amounts of fat too.

As you can see from this comparison – 50g of sugar contains nothing but sugar. It’s 50g of carbs – no fat, no protein etc. All of those carbs are sugar and 100% of the calories it contains are from sugar. The jam doughnut on the other hand contains around 12.4g sugar which accounts for only 17% of the total calories. The majority of the calories come from fat, other carbs and a little protein. The foods that people commonly associate with sugar are a mixture of sugar, fat and salt which make them hyper-palatable. That means they’re designed to taste really good – which encourages you to eat more. Eating 50g of pure sugar in one sitting is actually not a pleasant experience (try it – I dare you lol!) and it isn’t something most people would do. Eating a jam doughnut or 2 though – well thats super easy. To consume the same amount of actual sugar as pure sugar you’d need to eat 4 doughnuts in one go.

So this combo of sugar, fat and salt is what makes doughnuts and other snacks so easy to over eat. That’s not to say doughnuts are bad but they have the potential to derail you from your goals because they’re calorie dense (i.e. more cals in a smaller package) and as I said they taste great so you’re likely to eat more. So it’s not the sugar thats causing this – its the combination of ingredients in these products. So vilifying sugar is pointless and a misunderstanding of where the real issue lies. In fact sugar is actually an important nutrient and the brain’s main fuel source.

In sum, sugar isn’t “bad”, it isn’t causing you to gain fat in itself and you don’t need to give it up. If you have a balanced diet then having the odd “sugary” snack like doughnuts etc is fine – just account for it in your calories.

Enjoy 🤗