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calorie counting

The calorie counting debate has been raging for quite some time now.

It can be confusing and often trying to Google your way to new information can leave you in more of a heap than anything else.  If we eat the cheesecake, can we eat anything else all day? How does one calculate calories correctly? What the hell is #IIFYM anyway?

We have a lot of questions.

So, in an effort to help people discover that calorie counting can be done effectively and without making you hate everything and celery, five editors spent a week counting their calories. 

This is what they learned:

Not everyone should even count calories:

Buzzfeed Health editors consulted the creator of the 30 Days to Body Love programme. She advised that not everyone should count calories.

If: you have a history of disordered eating, or attaching your own self-worth or confidence to your eating habits, or consider restricting yourself to an exact number of calories as “punishment” for eating too much, or are prone to becoming obsessive about aspects of your life, you probably shouldn't be counting calories.

Not all calories are created equally:

Calorie counting puts emphasis on numbers as opposed to nutrients. So while something may be low in calories, it may not actually have anything nutritious in there. 

There's an app for everything:

There are a number of calorie counting apps out there so do some research and find out which one will best suit your goals. Otherwise you may be inclined to forget to record certain meals.

Record calories after you eat:

Certainly not during your meal, and definitely not before you tuck in. Counting calories before you eat can make some people feel guilty about the amount they consume, which is not good. Instead, snap a photo before you eat to use as a reference when you record your calories later. 

If you want to do this effectively, you have to be accountable: 

Honesty is truly the best policy. If you're frustrating because you don't see any results, it could have something to do with the cheeseburger and milkshake you ate yesterday but logged in your app as an apple. 

Counting calories alone may not actually help you lose weight: 

Yes, if you want to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume, so counting calories is a good place to start. However, there are lots of other things that can slow down you metabolism such as stress, your sleeping patterns, etc. So, keep that in mind before embarking on a calorie counting journey.

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Now, this is news we like to hear on a gloomy Monday morning.

Food giant Nestlé reportedly has plans to create a drink or pill that recreate the fat-burning effects of exercise.

Scientists at the company's Swiss HQ say they have found a way to potentially mimic the actions of an enzyme in charge of regulating our body's metabolism. 

Nestlé's ultimate goal is to create a product that could help to burn fat without exercise, especially for people with limited mobility, diabetes or obesity. 

The enzyme in question, called AMPK, is like a "master switch" that boosts metabolism and burns fat when our body is low on energy, according to Professor Kei Sakamoto. AMPK is usually activated by exercise, but research has shown that there ways to activate it artificially.

So could it be a replacement for that dreaded Abs Burn class? Not quite – although the enzyme would help to burn fat, it won't tone muscles or give that great endorphin high that only comes after physical exertion.

"Exercise has so many different effects – a cognitive role and physiological function – we'll never be able to mimic all those effects in a single product," says Professor Sakamoto.

All the same, we wouldn't say no to a wonder drink next time the alarm goes off for that 6am spinning class!

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