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Want to Live Longer? Calories May Be the Key

Want to Live Longer? Calories May Be the Key

2022 study from Yale University suggests that moderately reducing your calorie intake – rather than adopting any specific diet – can lead to many health benefits.

The study found that when a person consumed fewer calories, there was a correlation to improvements in their overall health, including:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced inflammation in the body
  • Improved immune function
  • Potentially an enhanced, healthy lifespan

The Benefits of Eating Less

Eating fewer calories can help regulate blood sugar levels, improve your sleep, and may help reduce chronic inflammation that can lead to complicated diseases. It’s also been proven to reduce cholesterol levels and improve your cardiovascular and overall health.

How Many Calories Should I Eat in a Day?

According to U.S. dietary guidelines, adults 21 years of age and older should consume between 1,600 and 3,000 calories per day.

So how do you know what your target should be?

The truth is many factors determine the total calories you should consume daily – your age, current weight, height, and activity level all play a role. It’s also important to factor in whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight.

You should always speak with your physician before starting a weight loss program or setting daily calorie intake goals. Your doctor can help you establish realistic goals related to your weight, so you can achieve maximum health long-term.

Your physician may also recommend that you meet with a dietitian to ensure you’re striking a healthy balance with the foods you consume.

Does It Matter Where My Calories Come From?

Yes. According to the most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the majority of calories a person consumes each day – around 85 percent – should meet food group recommendations healthfully in nutrient-dense forms. The remaining calories – around 15 percent – are calories available for other uses, including added sugars or saturated fat beyond small amounts found in nutrient-dense forms of foods and beverages. This equates to 250 to 350 remaining calories for calorie patterns appropriate for most Americans.

Making Healthy Choices – One Meal at a Time

If you’re looking to reduce your daily calorie intake, slight changes can make a big difference. When you make thoughtful choices, you can eat foods you enjoy while meeting your nutritional needs and staying within your daily calorie limits.

Here are a few tips to help set you up for success:

  1. Plan your meals and snacks for the week in advance. If you don’t plan what you’ll eat, you’re more likely to end up in a drive-thru making bad choices.
  2. Drink water. Say no to sugary drinks loaded with calories, and drink water instead.
  3. Read the labels. Always read nutrition labels and be aware of what you are putting into your body. It’s best to choose foods with no or lower amounts of added sugar.
  4. Cook at home as much as possible. Most foods you get from fast-food restaurants are processed and contain a lot of sodium and fat. When you cook your own food at home, you’re able to prepare it in a healthy way.
  5. Eat on a schedule. Your body needs fuel to operate efficiently. That’s why it’s important to eat on a schedule. When you eat meals and snacks at scheduled times throughout the day, you’ll feel more energized because your blood sugars stay stable. And, you’re less likely to get hungry (or hangry) and make poor choices.
  6. Avoid saturated fats. Our bodies need some dietary fat to give us energy, help us absorb vitamins, and help us develop healthy cells. Rather than eliminating fat entirely from your diet, simply replace the foods that are high in saturated fat with healthier options. For example, cook with vegetable oil instead of butter or margarine, snack on nuts instead of full-fat cheese, and have seafood for dinner instead of fatty meat.

How Can I Keep Track of the Calories I Consume?

Does keeping track of the number of calories you consume in one day seem as hard as turning down a candy bar (about 270 calories) at 3pm after a long day? We hear you. But here’s the good news – there are online calorie-counting tools and mobile apps that make it easier for you.

We’ve listed a few popular options below:

The Skinny on Daily Calorie Intake

Calorie counting can be particularly helpful for people who have a tendency to overeat. Tracking the number of calories you are consuming daily can help you better understand exactly how much you’re eating, so you know when to scale back or when to consume more. However, it’s important to remember that calories are more than just a number. The biggest issue with counting calories or simply reducing the number of calories you are consuming daily is that some people will fill their daily calorie goal with junk food while eliminating the essential nutrients that they need to maintain optimum health.

Before you make any drastic changes to your daily diet, you should first consult a medical professional, such as an Archbold physician or registered dietitian, to help determine a caloric intake goal that is best for you.