Are All Calories Created Equal?

James Preston Reply 7:35 AM
Not all calories are created equal.

We've all heard the basic adage of 'calories in' must equal or be less than 'calories out' for effective weight loss/stability.

But modern society has neglected a basic scientific understanding known for decades:

Glucose increases insulin in the blood.
While most of us know insulin is a hormone used to breakdown glucose (sugar), what is less common knowledge is that insulin also stores fat.
If your body is storing fat, it won't be burning fat.

Glucose comes from carbohydrate. Not just sugar.
Most (think all) carbohydrates are converted into glucose in your blood.

This glucose then gets burnt as energy, telling your body you don't need fat to burn, because you have a more "efficient" energy source: glucose. So any excess fat gets stored, while your current fat isn't going anywhere.

Are you starting to see that the more glucose in your blood, the more exercise you have to do and the less chance you have of burning fat?

Not only this... but excess glucose gets stored as fat. Yes. FAT.
Basically: Too much carbohydrate will get stored as fat in your body.

Check this summary from an article over at LIVESTRONG.COM (Highlights my own):

"Once glucose is inside the liver, glucose is .... further metabolized into triglycerides, fatty acids, glycogen or energy. Glycogen is the form in which the body stores glucose. The liver can only store about 100 g of glucose in the form of glycogen. The muscles .... can store approx. 500 g of glycogen. Because of ... limited storage areas, any carbohydrates that are consumed beyond the storage capacity are converted to and stored as fat. There is practically no limit on how many calories the body can store as fat."

So let's breakdown what we've learnt so far:

1. Glucose increases insulin.
2. Insulin prevents us from burning fat.
3. Excessive glucose gets stored as fat.
4. Less glucose = less insulin = more fat burned = less glucose stored as fat = LESS FAT!

Are you starting to see the logic?

Here's the point...

Let's say you have two meals packed with 500 calories each...

Meal A: 200 calories of protein. 200 calories of fat. 50 calories in fibre, calcium & iron (leafy veggies). 50 calories in complex carbohydrate.

Meal B: 300 calories of carbohydrate. 100 calories of fat. 50 calories of protein. 50 calories veggies.

Both meals have 500 calories.

But Meal B will cause the 100 calories of fat to be stored, while at the same time prevent any further fat being burnt. And if you don't do enough exercise, it will take the glucose from the meal and store that as fat too!
And because you only had 300 calories of carbohydrate, it will release "hungry hormones" making you want more food sooner.

Meal A on the other hand will immediately utilise all 500 calories in the meal to different functions in the body, like energy, muscle building, cell building etc.
Because it utilises all 500 calories, instead of storing some, you stay fuller for longer.

The less insulin in your blood, the less of the fat in your meal will get stored.
If you have minimal insulin in your blood, your body won't be storing fat at all!

And! If your body IS doing exercise, it will burn excess fat stored in your body.

Are you starting to see?

While both meals contain 500 calories, one meal is extremely wasteful in its use of those calories. While the other is extremely efficient.

The theory of basing your energy levels and weight loss on how many calories you are eating is a flawed and dangerous one. It is a little more complex than that.

I can testify to this theory. 
By drastically (and I mean drastically) reducing my carbohydrate intake, I started seeing weight loss within a week! And I wasn't counting my calories or watching what I ate at all! I simply cut out all carbohydrate, and shunned society's unhealthy fear of fat. Fat is good (even saturated fat!), so long as it isn't coupled with carbohydrate.

You can read more about my experience in these Blog Posts:
- LCHF: The Perfect Diet
- LCHF Summarised

I also encourage you to check out Jimmy Moore, who has been in deep Ketosis (a process where your body becomes a fat-burning machine) for almost a decade straight, and his great Blog "Livin La Vida Low Carb".

Also check out Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, a Doctor in Sweden who has been my guide through the whole LCHF process: Diet Doctor.

So, not all calories are created equal. It's a little more complicated.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comment section.

Jesus, Coffee, McDonald's, The Drakensberg, Newcastle and The Gospel

James Preston Reply 9:43 AM
I am at McDonald's in Newcastle right now. It is early in the morning and the session is about to start. I realised at 6am that I hadn't blogged for the week, and likewise hadn't thought what to Blog about! (How many of you Bloggers know that figuring out what to write about is just as difficult as actually writing it!?)

So I figured I would give you a quick photo diary of what we have experienced so far...

As you can see on the left, I am on my first cup of coffee for the morning, thinking what to write.

For those McDonald's haters: Their coffee is surprisingly alright.

So here we are. About to embark on the first large-scale Glory and Grace in a South African Township (Osizweni). This moment has been prophesied about on a number of occasions. And many, including me, believe it is going to be a deeply significant time for this country. Big dreams. But time will tell.

It's been a crazy week for me. Mixed with good times of catching my breath and in the beautiful KZN Drakensberg Mountains or taking a roadside pic in the KZN Midlands, nonetheless there has been a lot to get through in one week! Not to mention 900kms so far!

The week started early Monday morning with a drive up to the glorious Southern Drakensberg resort: Drakensberg Gardens. 40 pastors were extremely blessed with the most stunning accommodation in one of the world's most beautiful holiday attractions. Many of these pastors had never experienced such wonder and luxury. Thanks to some great entrepreneurship dealings, Terry Akal was able to agree upon incredible prices to ensure everyone could afford the above view!

The sessions were remarkable. Rob and Glenda are on fire with a renewed passion for carrying this Glorious Gospel to all corners of the globe!

The ministry was more than just strategising the opportunities God was opening up all over the world, it was also a time of impartation and refreshing. Every person in the room ended up on the floor! Beautiful...

For me it was home that afternoon to attend to some business, collect some work for the Newcastle conference, and catch a breakfast with my beautiful family. That meant driving home for 2 hours in this...

2 hours was the road back to the Highway. Not the entire journey! After hitting the Highway it was another 30 mins of torrential rain. A prophetic sign of what God was doing in the Province?

What Should I Give Up For Lent?

James Preston Reply 4:47 PM

Yes, you read that correctly. Nothing.

Please do not give something up in order to repent of your sins. It flies in the face of the Scriptural truth that you have a relationship with the God of the Universe in the same way my son has a relationship with me.

If my son came to me saying he was going to give up eating for a week to show how sorry he was for hurting me I would be offended at his misunderstanding of my love for him.
How much more your Father in Heaven? (Matt. 7:11)

Lent is a period of repentance lasting forty days ending on Easter Sunday. It is predominantly a catholic tradition, but has become commonplace among Christians the world over. And it is confusing people. Along with entrenching the belief that God is a far out distant judge needing sacrifice for our sins.

God is not far out. He is not distant. He is not a judge. And He doesn't need a sacrifice for your sins.

I don't mean to offend any of my catholic brothers or sisters. If you are catholic, I love you. And I certainly love your Pope! (He is a remarkable leader with a clearly deep love for God!)

Please understand that I do not mean to be offensive with this article, my only intention is to help people understand their position with God. If, after reading this, you disagree with me, or will continue the tradition of lent, then good for you. May it be a blessed time and may you experience God's Love in this time. We are still friends and I still love you!

(I don't need to agree with you to have a relationship with you. Neither do I need to agree with you to like you. And you don't need to agree with me. So let's release ourselves of that pressure.)

Now, why does God not need a sacrifice for your sins?

There are two potential answers to this question:
1. His Love is unconditional and thus not requiring of anything to happen before it can be given.

2. Jesus provided all the sacrifice ever needed for all time.

I stand in both opinions. But I'm not going to explain all that today.

Today I hope to encourage you to see the danger of thinking your sacrifice is going to get you brownie points in Heaven.

Firstly, you need to understand that all of your sins have already been atoned for and paid for by Jesus. All of them! Hebrews 10 is a wonderful chapter to read to establish you in this truth. Verse 10 says that by one sacrifice we have been made holy once and for all! Verses 12-14 tell us that Jesus offered a single sacrifice for sins (plural - implying ALL sin) and that we have been made perfect for all time!

Therefore, giving something up is not going to get you any cleaner than you already are.
You are already as holy as you can get.

Secondly, God's blessing on your life is not based on what you do. It is based on who you are: A child of God.

He loves you, and wants to bless you. So if you are not getting specific blessings in your life, then it is not that you have done something wrong and thus God is withholding from you. It could be a number of things, which again, are not for this post.

God's blessings are not based on the good works that you do. For if they were, people could boast. But God doesn't want anyone boasting, He wants everyone resting in His Love for them and in the fact that He is a good Father who gives good gifts.

If you have read this far, do me a favour and read this:

Romans 4:4-13

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. ....
13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

So a number of things:

1. God's blessings are not wages, they are gifts given unconditionally (as gifts are!)
2. When you believe this you are "counted as" righteous (something I will go into another day)
3. God no longer counts your sin against you (vs 8)
4. This blessing is for everyone, not just Jews
5. Abraham's blessing of being an heir of the world (that's a big blessing!) was not because he could obey laws God gave him, but it was based on his faith!

And this is the point I want to bring home...

Abraham's faith in what? 
His faith in the fact that God was good and would do what He said He would! He is a good God, who loved Abraham, and wanted the best for him!

Abraham's faith in that reality allowed him to live life with a confident expectation of blessing. He didn't live in fear that God was unhappy with him and might judge him, he lived happy, knowing God was going to look after him no matter what!

So where does that put us with Lent?

It hopefully shows you that by giving something up... will not become any more righteous than you already are. will not be any more blessed than you already are.
...your sins will not be forgiven - because they were already paid for at the Cross!

You see, the Gospel leaves no space for self-righteousness. Self-righteousness was the one thing Jesus fought against. And there is a danger over lent that people who give a lot up would think that they are better than those who don't. In God's eyes, this is not the case. And His eyes are the only ones that really count.

Now, let me say... I am not against giving something up, and I am not against fasting.

I periodically give things up in order to help my concentration, or to declutter my mind, or to help me focus, or as a simple practice of discipline.

But to give up "Fanta" for forty days while continuing to drink anything else equally packed with sugar is about as pointless as trying to empty the ocean with a bucket. The only thing such an exercise would do is place a "badge of achievement" in your mind and contribute to a self-righteous mindset, and a mindset that God is more pleased with you when you "deny yourself" than when you don't.

When the Truth is: He is as pleased with you as He ever could be right now!

Lent is a great time for us to reflect on what Christ accomplished for us. It leads up to the greatest moment on our calendar. Let it not be a time to focus on how far we fall short of God's standard, let us use it as an opportunity to see more of Jesus and His Great Love for us!

Happy Lent!


As a non-catholic, am I being too harsh toward the Catholic tradition of Lent? What do you think? 

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