All Calories Aren't Created Equal

Published by FitWatch

A calorie is a calorie is a calorie, right?  Not really.  What you eat is just as important as how much you eat.  A calorie is a unit of energy, scientifically defined as how much heat is required to raise one gram of water one degree Celsius.  So you’d think that as long as you cut your calorie consumption below what your body requires you’d lose weigh.  For every 3500 calories you cut you should lose one pound of fat.  It shouldn’t matter what you eat.

That’s not how it works. When you lose a pound of fat you also lose muscle mass and water. The scale would show as much as five pounds of weight loss and you’ve only lost one pound of fat.  As soon as you resume your normal eating the water weight comes right back on.  The lost muscle is more difficult to replace.  Since muscle requires more energy than fat you don’t want to lose muscle.

One problem with severely cutting back on calories is when the diet is over and you return to your normal eating, the lost muscle means you’re burning fewer calories than before you went on the diet. It’s easier to gain the weight back. 

The calories in a piece of chocolate frosted brownie might equal those in a 3 oz serving of baked chicken and a helping of steamed broccoli, so why not go for the brownie?  The answer is simple.  The brownie has no redeeming nutritional value and will be converted to glucose quite quickly.  The rush of glucose into your blood stream will trigger insulin production.  The insulin converts the glucose to energy for your body and what’s not immediately needed is stored as fat.  What’s worse is your blood sugar drops quickly and you get hungry.  Think of it this way brownie to fat in 30 minutes flat.

The chicken and broccoli have vitamins and nutrients your body needs.  Protein takes longer to convert to glucose because your digestive system has to work harder.  The glucose enters your blood stream at a steady rate rather than in a rush like the brownie.  Less insulin is produced and less glucose is converted and stored as fat.  As a bonus you won’t be hungry as fast. 

Decreasing the amount of food you eat by counting calories is just a part of a successful weight loss plan.  What you eat is just as important as how much you eat.

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