Many people still believe that the simple solution to losing weight is to consumer fewer calories. It’s important to consider that different foods affect our bodies in differing ways as they pass through different metabolic pathways.
When designing a healthy diet, it’s important to look at the quality of the food we’re eating just as much as the quantity. The types of foods we include in our diets are just as important as the total number of daily calories we consume.
“Calories In, Calories Out”
The low-calorie myth is largely based on the false assumption commonly referred to as “calories in, calories out.” Under this assumption obesity is simply a matter of consuming an excess of calories. This line of thinking discredits the types of food you consume, instead focusing solely on caloric contribution.
The idea that all calories are created equal, regardless of where they came from, is another generalization made as part of the low-cal myth. Foods from differing sources have various affects on our body as they pass through our different metabolic pathways to be converted into energy.
The hormonal and metabolic impacts of the foods we eat will depend based on the varying sources from which our food originated. The “calories in, calories out” assumption generally ignores this important factor in the way our bodies absorb the nutrients in our food.
What Does “Too Many Calories” Give Us?
When we tell someone that’s trying to lose weight, “You’re just consuming too many calories,” this doesn’t give him or her much to work with. While it’s true that our body will preserve excess calories as body fat if our caloric intake consistently exceeds our output, people trying to lose weight need more than a simple, black-and-white statement of guidance.
Telling someone that they’re eating too many calories ignores the cause of this consumption. It fails to acknowledge the lifestyle choices that went into a person becoming overweight in the first place. It also fails to recognize the hormones behind many of those recurring, unhealthy lifestyle choices.
How Foods Affect our Hormones
Different foods impact our hormone levels in different ways. Fructose, for example, can be turned into glucose and stored as glycogen when it enters the liver from the digestive tract. If the liver is already full of glycogen, however, fructose can be stored as fat in the liver or other areas of your body. If eaten in excess, fructose can cause insulin resistance, which, in turn, drives further fat gain.
Protein, on the other hand, actually requires calories just to be digested. Your body uses about 30% of the calories in protein pushing it through a metabolic pathway that, of course, requires energy. Protein also increases levels of fullness, boosts the metabolic rate, and can be used to build muscles, which are metabolically actives tissues capable of burning calories even when your body is resting.
As you can see, every calorie is not equal, and the idea that fewer calories will lead to healthy weight loss is antiquated. The type and quality of calories you consume matters just as much, if not more than, the amount of your total caloric intake. Increase your caloric output with the trainers at Vitality Fitness today!