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  • Mason Hancock

Calories Deficit Is King: Part 1

Weight loss. A phrase so often mentioned this time of year. Whether it be a new year's resolution, a feeling of guilt from indulging over Christmas or a continuation of last year's goal you can't go long without hearing it. Below I am debunking some of the most popular fad diets and sharing with you the true non glamorized secret weight loss.





Diets we’ve all heard of like the Atkins, 5:2, 16:8, intermittent fasting, keto, slimming world etc are all based on the same scientific model weight loss but publicised and tied up in a pretty different bow to appeal to different audiences. The key scientific principle they abide by is a Calorie deficit.


A Calorie or Kcal for the sake of simplicity will be used interchangeably in this blog. They are both a standardised unit of measurement to determine the energy in food. Scientifically speaking a calorie (with a little c) when burned is the energy needed to warm 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. A Calorie or Kcal meaning 1,000 calories is the energy needed to warm 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. But as long as we know when packaging or companies refer to a Calorie they are also referring to a Kcal as they are the same that is all we need to know.


Nevertheless the true scientific principle all successful diets follow is a Calorie Deficit. Meaning to be consuming/eating fewer calories than the body is expending/burning. Think of it like this; a Calorie is £1. The Calories you eat everyday is the money you’ve earnt, and the Calories you’ve burnt is the money you’ve spent that day. Now against all financial advisors advice to lose weight you want to spend more money than you have earnt, you effectively want to be in debt or a deficit. That means you will lose weight. If you are saving money so spending less than you earn you will gain weight and if you spend and earn the same amount you will stay the same weight.


What all these fad diets have in common is that they all encourage a calorie deficit but in different ways. Whether it is refraining from eating for 16 hours and eating for 8 (AKA skipping breakfast and only eating dinner and tea) or intermittent fasting (also known as skipping breakfast but sounds fancier). Both reduce the window you eat and therefore the opportunity for you to consume Calories encouraging a Calorie deficit. Now if you were to destroy 2 Large pizzas, a tub of ice cream, cookies and wash it down with a bottle of wine or 2 in those 8 hours, you successfully be intermittent fasting or doing the 16:8 diet but it's highly unlikely you would in a calorie deficit and therefore not lose weight.


Companies like Slimming World assign points or Syns to food the same way as manufactures inform you of their calories. So all you're really doing is changing the name, calling a Calorie a Syn, like you could call an Apple a Pear only it would still be an apple. Some would argue its easier to count Syns than Calories, but they would be wrong it's no different. The only difference being Slimming World wouldn't charge a premium for their products which are calculated using the system only they use. Although the Calories still have to be labelled by law because a standardised unit of measurement compared to a Syn which is made up….. And breath.


Ultimately is doesn't matter how you obtain your calorie deficit, whether it be calorie counting, reducing your feeding window or calling a Calorie a Syn. Pick the easiest one to conform to long term and make the appropriate lifestyle changes. Because a diet isn't just for Christmas its for life… that's how the saying goes right?


If you would like to find out more about my favourite method of achieving a calorie deficit then check out my next blog this coming week.


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