A low calorie diet can be the simplest form of dieting, nothing more than reducing the number of calories you consume. You could diet on cheesecake, and lose weight! But beware the pitfalls.
A diet based on simply eating smaller amounts of the same highly processed, calorie-rich foods typically results in hunger, poor nutrition, and only temporary weight loss. Eating tiny portions of concentrated, processed calories does not satisfy our hunger. We go off our diets and regain the weight we lost. When we do this again and again, it is harmful to both our health and our self-esteem.
Conversely, by eating foods that are higher in nutrients and fiber and lower in calories, we become satisfied eating fewer calories. We can lose weight even though we are eating more food.
The caloric value of any diet is the single most important factor for weight loss. The problem with counting calories alone, however, is that while it doesn't eliminate any particular foods, it also doesn't ensure that you are eating a healthy diet.
This is why our food calculator provides data on the three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It also provides data on fiber to help ensure that you get enough; and on sodium to help ensure that you don't get too much.
The three macronutrients provide most of the calories found in foods. Later in the tutorial you will learn how many calories each macronutrient provides, as well as how to balance them to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet.
Heavily processed foods containing a lot of sugar and other ingredients of little nutritional value are said to contain "empty calories." Because they have little nutritional value, and little if any fiber, they don't keep your metabolism on an even keel like healthy foods do. Thus 500 calories of junk food does not have the same effect on weight loss as 500 calories of healthy food.
In truth, it isn't very likely that you could be successful dieting on cheesecake. Your mom was right when she told you to eat your vegetables; eating healthy foods is the best way to lose weight.