CALO­RIES COUNT, BUT DO THEY ADD UP?

Athleisure - - Bingely Streaming - by Bon­nie Halper

Check out al­most any food item in any gro­cery store in Amer­ica, and you’ll find a nu­tri­tion la­bel. In New York City, many restau­rants and cafes sell­ing baked goods and sand­wiches will also pro­vide you with the calo­rie count, right along­side the price of the item.

Check out al­most any food item in any gro­cery store in Amer­ica, and you’ll find a nu­tri­tion la­bel. In New York City, many restau­rants and cafes sell­ing baked goods and sand­wiches will also pro­vide you with the calo­rie count, right along­side the price of the item.

Most peo­ple do look at the caloric con­tent of items. Many count calo­ries as a way of main­tain­ing their weight or, if they’re di­et­ing, they of­ten al­lot them­selves a cer­tain amount of calo­ries a day, de­pend­ing on their size and age. Sup­pos­edly, if you in­gest fewer calo­ries than your body needs, you’ll lose weight. That’s the idea, any­way, and seems to add up, but does it?

Truth be told, there’s more to main­tain­ing or los­ing weight than sim­ply count­ing calo­ries. We hon­estly don’t know where the idea of count­ing calo­ries got started and why, and who de­cided to per­pet­u­ate the idea and why. There’s no doubt that count­ing calo­ries does pro­vide a sim­ple for­mula for the weight loss process for di­eters and the ‘calo­rie con­scious,’ but it’s re­ally not do­ing any­one any fa­vors or any good at all, and merely count­ing calo­ries may well be one of the more in­sid­i­ous cul­prits be­hind the cur­rent obe­sity epi­demic. Here’s why.

Nu­tri­tion la­bels, which are re­quired on pack­aged goods sold in the US, are rife with in­for­ma­tion: the amount of calo­ries, calo­ries from fat, to­tal fat (in­clud­ing sat­u­rated fats and trans fats), choles­terol, sodium, car­bo­hy­drates, di­etary fiber, sugar and pro­tein, yet peo­ple have been con­di­tioned to pri­mar­ily pay at­ten­tion to the calo­ries.

It’s Not Just Calo­ries That Count

A calo­rie is de­fined by Mer­riam-Web­ster as the amount of heat re­quired to raise the tem­per­a­ture of one kilo­gram of wa­ter one de­gree Cel­sius, but not all calo­ries are the same. The body pro­cesses a calo­rie of pro­tein much dif­fer­ently than it does a calo­rie of car­bo­hy­drate. Which is why ad­her­ing to a low calo­rie diet and ex­er­cise will not nec­es­sar­ily lead to weight loss and it’s a well-es­tab­lished fact that most di­ets fail. Is it be­cause peo­ple don’t have the will power to stick to a diet, or is it that we’ve been so mis­led about food in gen­eral, and what is truly ‘good’ for us?

It isn’t all about me­tab­o­lism ei­ther, al­though we fre­quently hear or be­lieve that one per­son has a higher meta­bolic rate than another, which may or may not be true, but that’s a fac­tor, not an an­swer.

The pub­lic has been con­di­tioned to be­lieve that fat is evil and some­thing to be avoided. As your grand­par­ents could have told you, it’s car­bo­hy­drates, rather than fats, that lead to ex­cess weight and weight gain. Well, car­bo­hy­drates such as bread, rice, and baked goods, as well as the sug­ars that are fre­quently added by food man­u­fac­tur­ers to help im­prove the taste of low-fats foods et al.

Look at it this way: if you were per­mit­ted 1600 calo­ries a day and know that you have a sweet tooth, in­stead of hav­ing a lunch of say, four ounces of pro­tein and a side salad, you have a caloric equiv­a­lent to slice of cho­co­late cake in­stead, all well and good. Then for din­ner, you ‘save’ sev­eral hun­dred

calo­ries so that you can en­joy a slice of pie rather than in­gest more pro­tein and veg­eta­bles. At the end of the day, lit­er­ally, you will have had your 1600 calo­ries, but at the end of the week, when you get back on that scale, you may no­tice no dif­fer­ence in your avoir du pois, and in fact, you might have gained rather than lost weight. How is that pos­si­ble?

It’s not just calo­ries that count. It all does.

The Car­bo­hy­drate Fac­tor

Car­bo­hy­drates prompt in­sulin to be se­creted, which in turn, sig­nals our bodies to ac­cu­mu­late fat. Re­fined car­bo­hy­drates such as sugar and flour cause even more in­sulin to be se­creted, which also ac­counts for why you feel hun­gry af­ter eat­ing carb-rich foods: you have ex­cess in­sulin in your blood, and it’s look­ing for some­where to go and some­thing to do – like go straight to parts of your body where you’d pre­fer they not go, stored as fat, and tell you that you’re still hun­gry, or hun­gry again, de­spite the fact that you had just had a meal a rel­a­tively short time ago.

So reg­i­mens low in car­bo­hy­drates – so called low-carb di­ets, al­though we pre­fer not to call them ‘di­ets,’ as the key to

over­all nu­tri­tional health is eat­ing a bal­anced reg­i­men and prefer­ably one that’s not car­bo­hy­drate-rich – are not fad di­ets, but rather the way peo­ple nor­mally ate un­til the 1950s rolled in, when “a small but in­flu­en­tial group of nu­tri­tion­ists and car­di­ol­o­gists de­cided that di­etary fat caused heart dis­ease,” ac­cord­ing to Mother Earth News. It wasn’t long be­fore the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion adopted this po­si­tion, then Congress, the U.S De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA) and the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health. The re­sult: fat was un­nec­es­sar­ily de­mo­nized and an in­dus­try for non-fat food sub­sti­tutes was born.

You may be­lieve that that low fat items are health­ier, but once the fat is re­moved from food, so is the fla­vor, and sugar is of­ten added to im­prove the taste – sug­ars which are con­verted into car­bo­hy­drates and stored as fat.

Sci­en­tists have known since the 1970s that in or­der to store fat, car­bo­hy­drates are re­quired. As Mother Earth News points out, “It’s only by eat­ing car­bo­hy­drates that we can ob­tain al­pha glyc­erol phos­phate, an en­zyme that is an ab­so­lute re­quire­ment for stor­ing fat. This en­zyme fixes the fat in the fat tis­sue in a way that it can’t slip back out through the fat cell mem­branes and es­cape into the blood­stream. This is why the more car­bo­hy­drates we con­sume, the more fat we will store. The less car­bo­hy­drates, the less fat.”

Or try this sim­ple ex­per­i­ment your­self at home. First, weigh your­self in the morn­ing and note your weight. Make sure to have a car­bo­hy­drate-laden lunch, such as a sand­wich or a slice or two of pizza. The next morn­ing, weigh your­self again. You might no­tice that the scale has inched up a pound or two, but not to worry.

That day, skip the carbs. In­stead, have a pro­tein lunch, with a veg­etable side dish.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing, weigh your­self again, and you may well no­tice that the scale has tipped down to what your weight was two days be­fore. You’ve given your body a day to elim­i­nate, or burn off, the stored carbs. You’re now back to nor­mal and good to go.

We’re not de­mo­niz­ing car­bo­hy­drates or any other food group. Bal­ance is al­ways im­por­tant, and best to keep the carbs pure and sim­ple. For ex­am­ple, legumes, which in­clude beans, such as black beans and chick­peas, as well as peas and len­tils, con­tain car­bo­hy­drates, as well as pro­tein and fiber. Ac­cord­ing to the North Dakota State Univer­sity Ex­ten­sion, legumes also have added health ben­e­fits, such as low­er­ing your risk for heart dis­ease and can­cer and mak­ing it eas­ier to con­trol your blood sugar and weight, since they are di­gested more slowly, so they’re more likely to fill you up, as op­posed to pro­cessed carb-laden al­ter­na­tives such as bread, which are bereft of es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents that your body needs.

It’s Sim­ple Once You Do the Math

It sounds com­pli­cated, it’s re­ally very sim­ple:

There’s a rea­son why nu­tri­tion la­bels con­tain as much in­for­ma­tion as they do, and it’s im­por­tant to look at all of the fields listed, es­pe­cially the amount of car­bo­hy­drates, sug­ars, and pro­teins that are in the foods that you’re buy­ing and in­gest­ing. They’re all there for a rea­son, and now that you un­der­stand why it’s sim­ply not true that a calo­rie is a calo­rie is a calo­rie, sud­denly, it all adds up.

#Calo­ries, #Car­bo­hy­drates, #Obe­sity, #FoodGroups, #Weight­loss, #Di­et­ingTips

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