Are All Calories Equal?

Written By: Stacey-Ann Ricketts (Dietician)

 

The search continues for diets that are deemed effective for weight loss which are far beyond simply counting calories and will power. It is believed by many scientists that a changed diet composition per se is an ineffective tool, that individual must simply exert will power to prevent over eating; and that alternative mechanisms for the physiological background of obesity such as:

-Sedentary Lifestyle.

-Stress.

-Shortened Sleep.

-Undesirable Gut Microbiota.

-Genetics.

Some scientists do claim that all calories are equal.

Evidence has however shown that dietary factors such as sugar rich soft drinks, refined high glycemic index carbohydrates and energy dense fat- rich fast foods, are associated with weight gain and the development of overweight and obesity; whereas whole grain and low glycemic carbohydrates may decrease risk. These observed associations according to the International Journal of Obesity have generally been confirmed by randomized controlled trials.

According to Harvard Univeristy in the realm of weight loss, it was previously advised that in order to lose weight, one must burn more calories than consumed. This however doesnt always work for everyone. The focus should be placed on eating more whole foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates at the least.

A study done in the 1960s had sought to brand fats as being the main contributor of weight gain and cardiovascular illness .As such, fats were removed from diets of such persons, and in response to this, manufactures in order to make their products appealing to the consumer, added sugars to their products.

While it is true that fat has more calories than carbohydrates, there is no logic to say that sugary items such as beverages, are better than a handful of nuts for an individual. It is more important to focus on the metabolic effects as the source of the calories changes the way the body digest it and retrieve energy from it.

Hence the focus has now been shifted to glycemic indexes of foods as a more accurate measure of a foods value.

Low glycemic index foods raises the blood sugar levels slowly, increasing the insulin levels gradually. High glycemic index foods puts you at a greater risk of being insulin resistant–a phenomenon whereby the body stops responding metabolically to insulin it’s producing.

High glycemic index foods causes blood sugar levels, and thus insulin levels to rise quickly, which prompts the over production of insulin and fat storage. By no means can this be good for one seeking fat weight loss.

So what’s the solution?

AVOID OVERCONSUMPTION of the simple carbohydrates:

-White Rice.

-White Bread.

-Candy.

Etc.,

And Predominate Your Diet With:

-Whole Grain Pasta.

-Whole Grain Bread.

-Fruits.

-Beans & Nuts.

-Ground Produce Such as Sweet Potatoes.

This way more fat loss can be achieved, one will feel fuller for longer and remain healthier.

 

Take Home Message:

Don’t Focus only on calories but the source of the calories. As all calories are not equal.

 

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