Bad Calories, Good Calories. Know The Difference!
From our previous post, we know that the main trick to losing fat is to achieve a calorie deficit. We also learnt that a deficit can be achieved by either training to expend more calories than we normally would or through proper nutrition planning to reduce our calorie intake.
Calories Are Not Created Equal!
However, not all types of calories are created equal.
1,000 calories of broccoli and 1,000 calories of soda have different effects on our bodies. To illustrate how this works, let’s take a look at how both types of food impacts our bodies upon consumption.
1,000 Calories Of Soda
Once the soda enters your body, your gut quickly absorbs the fibre-free sugars in the soda such as fructose and glucose.
The glucose spikes your blood sugar, starting a domino effect of high insulin and a cascade of hormonal responses that kicks bad biochemistry into gear. The high insulin increases storage of belly fat, inflammation, raises triglycerides and lowers HDL, raises blood pressure, lowers testosterone in men, and contributes to infertility in women.
Your appetite is also increased because of insulin’s effect on your brain chemistry. Insulin blocks your appetite-control hormone, known as leptin. You become more leptin resistant, so the brain never gets the “I’m full” signal.
Instead, it will fool you into thinking that you’re starving. As a result, you will be craving for more food and consume more calories than you need. In the long run, it can lead to obesity.
Now, you can see just how easily 1,000 calories of soda can create a biochemical chaos.
In addition, the soda contains no fibre, vitamins, minerals, or nutrients to help you process the calories you are consuming. These are “empty” calories devoid of any nutritional value.
1,000 Calories of Broccoli
Now, let’s look at the stark difference with 1,000 calories of broccoli.
As with soda, these calories are made up primarily of carbohydrates. High-fibre, low-sugar carbohydrates such as broccoli are slowly digested. Therefore, it doesn’t lead to blood sugar and insulin spikes, while table sugar and bread are quickly digested carbs and cause a spike in your blood sugar.
Therein lies the difference.
Slow carbs like broccoli heal rather than harm. They contain so much fibre that very few of the calories would actually get absorbed. Those that did would get absorbed very slowly. There’d be no blood sugar or insulin spike, no fatty liver, no hormonal chaos.
Your stomach would send signals to your brain telling it that you are full. You’d also get many extra benefits that optimises your metabolism, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and boost detoxification.
Research And Case Studies
If you still think a calorie is just a calorie, maybe this study will convince you otherwise. In a study of 154 countries that looked at the correlation of calories, sugar, and diabetes; scientists found that adding 150 calories a day to the diet barely raised the risk of diabetes in the population, but if those 150 calories came from soda, the risk of diabetes went up by 700 percent.
Focus On Macronutrients Rather Than Just Calorie Count
The bottom line is, eat your daily meal according to macronutrients rather than focus only on calories. It is both equally important to learn that calories and macronutrient works along the way.
Certain types of calories are addictive, others healing, some fattening, some metabolism-boosting.
Learn how the right balance of three major macronutrient such as Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats are able to help achieve your daily needs. After all, we are human-beings. We love and enjoy food.
It is okay to have processed food once in a while, because the goal is really to ensure you are able to keep to sustainable meal plans.
Stay tune for the next blog post about Macronutrients – Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats.
Consult An Expert
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*This article first appeared at blog.grindz.com.my. This is an edited and re-published version.