Sunday, March 25, 2012

Is a calorie just a calorie? 3 philosophies for smart diet choices

I was reading an op-ed in the NYT where the reporter interviews 2 food researchers who answer the age old question. "Is a calorie just a calorie?"

Well, at our weight loss program we have 2 views on this. They stem from 3 fundamental philosophies.

The First Philosophy: You can never keep weight off if you don't now how many gallons your fuel tank holds.

Meaning: If you don't know how many calories your body needs in a day, you are likely to overfill yourself calorically.

Why? We live in a non-filling food paradise where everything has too many calories and too many sugars.

The Second Philosophy: Once you are overfilled with calories, the fat on your body is the problem, not the weight.

Meaning: When you want to lose weight, the chemical secreted by fat make you hungry and make it tougher to lose weight.

Why? There are over 100 chemical secreted by fat cells and only 2 of them are salubrious.

The Third Philosophy: A little hunger is a good thing, a lot of hunger is a dangerous thing.

Meaning: Being overly hungry could mean you are dehydrated or not eating enough to feed your machine, resulting in lean muscle mass breakdown. Or worse, you are spiking insulin levels and your blood sugar is all over the place.

Why? Too much hunger makes us reach for quick fixes like carbs, resulting in the same cycle of hunger all over again. We chose lean protein over carbs because they fill us up. Similarly, high fiber veggies work nicely too.

So here's the deal. A calorie is just a calorie if you don't feed yourself too many of them. When you feed yourself too many calories carbohydrates are far more dangerous for you than just about anything.

Dangerous how? By causing diabetes, inflammation, heart disease and god knows what else.

So when looking at calories:

1. Know how many you need. You can do that by checking a resting metabolic rate Don't use a calculator they are almost always off. Do the testing!

2. Chose calories that will fill you up and reduce your hunger. In those cases, chose lean protein and high fiber calories.

3. If you have to overfill your tank, chose calories that won't cause the yo-yo of insulin and blood sugar.

So is a calorie a calorie? It depends.......But often the answer is No!

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