Thursday, 13 February 2014

Does it matter where I get my calories from? Calorie Myth

Someone with my height and activity level should eat around 2500 calories the experts say. Eat less than that in order to lose weight and eat more than that, and you'll gain weight.
So two years ago I set my my fitness.com app to 1750 calories per day and i set off.

I avoided fatty foods because they are high in calories, and instead weighted everything meticulously on a scales. This was torture, but I could still eat my favourite foods. I could eat bread and crisps sandwiches!

But between meals I was hungry. After a couple of months of living this way I ran out of steam. But I lost the stone that I wanted to. But could I keep it off?

Sorry in advance for getting a bit sciencey.

I knew that eating sugar and junk didn't provide me with the nutrients that I needed, but I never knew that a calorie isn't always a calorie. It matters where its from.

Macro nutrients can be broken down into their three types. Carbohydrates, protein and fat. All of our foods can be broken down in this way.

What happens when we eat each of these macro nutrients?

Fat- when we eat fat our bodies can use the fat for fuel. We can burn fatty acids during periods when we aren't running off of glucose or sugar in the body. We also get nutrients and important cholesterol for our bodies to operate.

Protein- this is needed by our bodies for general up keep. Our bodies use protein for muscle production as well as other important processes. Without protein we would waste away and die. Our cells need it to operate. We can even turn protein into glucose for our brains.
When we eat protein we experience a sense of being full.

Carbohydrates- I love my carbs. I love bread and cereals. But I was staggered by what happens in my body when I eat them.
When you eat a carbohydrate, your body converts it into glucose. Yes, your body turns it into sugar. Its not all bad because we can use glucose as a fuel. Glucose is a good explosive fuel source, a lot of sports people fuel this way.

But when we eat sugar or carbohydrates our body gets over run with sugar.
Just to put a picture on how amazing our body is, check this out...
How much sugar do you think we have in our blood? How much blood do we have?

Well we have 5-7 litres of blood depending on our physique.
Our bodies endeavour to keep 5 grams, yes 5 grams at any one time in our blood.

So what happens when we sit and eat a big Mac (I'm not picking on maccy D's Alone here), some fries and wash it all down with a strawberry milkshake? By the way, those milkshakes are amazing aren't they.

Well what happens is that your body produces insulin. This counteracts the affects of sugar so that our bodies can keep on an even keel. But if we do this for years on end, we can become immune to the affects of insulin in our bodies. We then need more and more insulin to control our sugar level. When we can no longer produce all this insulin, we have to inject it. Yes diabetes type 2.

Scientists have found though that insulin has other attributes. Insulin also sends the message in our bodies to store. I won't go into the studies in this blog, but there are numerous studies that have shown that insulin tells our body to store fat.
Shocking news isn't it!!!

So what did I do with this new found knowledge?

This new information hit me like a ton of bricks. No wonder when my blood sugar went low I would become the grumpiest ravenous bear on the planet. I would drop. After eating some carbs my sugars would rise and I'd be away again.

I gave up a lot of carbs.
It wasn't easy at first because I was a carbaholic. But sure enough I've been low carb for the last 6 months and effortlessly I've lost nearly two stone.
Even though I've lost nearly all of the weight that I want to lose I'm not going back on the carbs. For my health I'm avoiding them. Knowing what I know about them, I have to stay away.

I feel so much more satisfied with protein and fat as my fuel. Admittedly I don't have that explosive energy that I had before, but my energy levels are constant, I don't have the highs and lows. I feel hungry sometimes, but it's more of a suggestion to eat rather than an SOS signal.

What do you think about what I've told you so far? There's a lot more research to come so stay tuned.

It matters where you get your calories...



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