Saturday, 18 October 2014

Food as a chemical reaction.

The same as the rest of you I've lost weight by counting calories. To be honest with you it was torture, I had a app on my phone and I used it to calculate the total calories of what I was eating.
This meant using the packaging of goods to get the calorific content and using a digital weighing scales to see what the calorie quota was. I aimed for 1690 calories from a daily usage estimate of 2600.
This is quite hard to do and took a lot of time and motivation. But I did manage to lose 15 pounds over a few months.

But what I didn't realise at the time was that measuring calories and eating a quota under your expenditure does work, but it's not very smart. In fact it's very black and white...too black and white.
It's also very inaccurate because the calories in food and the calories burned can never be calculated accurately. Foods differ from the calories on the label, and when a app says we burned 100 calories it is also a best guess.

Even though calories do matter, there is a much smarter way of doing business.
If we recognize that one calorie is not always have the same impact on the body as another type of calorie.

The Science bit!!!
As you know food is broken down into its three macro nutrients.
Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates.

A calorie of each of these macros behaves differently in our body.

Carbohydrate
When we consume a carbohydrate our body breaks it down into glucose for our body to burn. But our body can't handle too much sugar in the system. So it makes Insulin in the pancreas. The Insulin then transports the sugar, if not burned off, and turns it into fat in our body. It is stored here until we next need it.
But Insulin can also be described as the gate keeper to our fat stores. If Insulin levels are high, then it is impossible for us to access the fat storage. Instead we simply keep burning the carbohydrates that we eat.
If we eat more carbohydrates than we are able to burn off then we will put on fat.
The worst carbohydrates for this are the refined sugars. Other carbs, such as found in fruit and vegetables have fibre and thus are metabolised slower in the body. That doesn't spike the Insulin so high, and we don't get the blood sugar highs and lows.
Because of the highs and lows of blood sugar from spiking, hunger and cravings also come hand in hand.
A lot of fruit and vegetables actually ripens in the late summer / Autumn time, in the natural world that would help us to store some fat for the winter months where there may be a scarcity of food. Just like in the animal kingdom.

Protein
Repairs our cells and helps us to build new tissue. Without protein we would die. Adequate protein is necessary for health bones and muscle growth. Not forgetting a sharp mind!
If we have lots of protein our body can convert some of it by the process of Neoglucogenesis into fuel for our body - into glucose.
Protein is also acknowledged for being good at satisfying our hunger and keeping us fuller for longer.
As with all foods it is important to eat as high of quality protein as possible. This includes organically produced meats and organ meats.

Fat
Like protein, it is needed in order for our bodies to function. We need it to makes cells and for our health.
Fat can be used also as a energy source. Remember that our bodies store fat for burning at times of food shortage. For our bodies to be able to burn fat as a fuel though we need to be fat adapted. We have to have time periods where we solely feed ourselves on fat, or times where we do not eat at all.
When we fast or do not eat for an extended period- say skipping breakfast after not eating for the night, then our bodies naturally shift over to utilizing fat for energy.
When we have the ability of burning fat we can then open the doors to the fat closet and burn our stored energy. When we use body fat for fuel we also do not have the same sugar highs and lows, and can often go for far longer without feeling hungry.
A lack of blood sugar highs and lows also prevents diabetes (type2), because Insulin production is minimalised and as a result we do not become insensitive to vast amounts of insulin.


Calories aren't really just calories, there's a far deeper story behind them than that.
The amount of food that we eat matters, the quality of the food matters, but also the ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates in our food.

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