When it comes to losing weight, exercise can only do so much. It’s all about what you decide to put into your body, in particular, consuming fewer calories than you burn off.

But, what if we told you that your calorie counting methods are way off-base? According to a New York Times report, the nutrition industry might be overestimating calorie counts in some foods by up to 25 percent. Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet says, “The issue is that the number of calories on food packages is really the number of calories that are available in the food, not what your body uses.”

Jackson Blatner believes that it’s calorie guessing, not counting. “While the calories listed on the label might not be 100 percent perfect, they will get you in the ballpark. They’re not useless,” he says.

So what does this mean for your body and weight? Well, take a guess. It’s not the calorie count that matters, but the different components of the food you ingest, and how your body burns them. “You can combine your calorie guessing with eating proper portions of good-quality food, then sitting down and being mindful as you eat,” says Jackson Blatner. “Calories aren’t the be-all, end-all.”

In fact, These ‘Supposedly’ Unhealthy Foods Actually Promote Weight Loss, while These Everyday Diet Foods Are Big Fat Liars. Consider this: Though whole grains contain more calories, it takes a longer time for your body to burn them off, which taps into your fat reserves and helps you lose weight in the bargain. Get the picture?

PS: Here’s the low-down on Exercise Programs For Weight Loss.
Also, head here to catch the latest in Fitness Trends.

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Charlene Flanagan is a lifestyle journalist whose love for language drove her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English literature, as well as pursue her Masters in Arts. Over the last five years, she’s contributed to a number of leading publications, and has particularly enjoyed reviewing books and restaurants, as well as interviewing celebrities. Her recent switch to a holistic lifestyle has her looking at her food choices very differently—although she won’t admit it. When she’s not busy writing up about workouts, home remedies, and skincare essentials, she spends her time being the quintessential city girl who’s excited to see what life has in store for her.