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.

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