Restrictive diets focusing of calorie counting and adding up points assume that calories are equal regardless of where they come from. But are all calories the same?
The short answer to that is a definite no!
I’m no fan of animal experiments, but since this one has been done and rather proves a point..
A diet designed to keep weight constant was fed to two groups of monkeys (1). The ingredients of the two diets were the same apart from the type of fat they were fed over the course of six years.
Both groups received 17% of their calories from fat, but one had natural vegetable fats and oils, and the other had artificial and unhealthy fats. Think margarine and trans fats found in fried and junk food.
Despite the calories being the same only one group gained weight. The group eating abnormal fats not only gained weight compared to the other group, but they also accumulated harmful visceral (belly) fat.
In humans visceral fat is s health nightmare.
Are All Calories The Same?
Calories from healthy fat compared with unhealthy fat are not the same. One makes you fat and harms your health, and the other doesn’t.
2,000 calories from junk will have very different consequences to 2,000 calories from whole foods.
There are other factors too, and one rather obvious one if you think about it is the energy is takes to actually break down your food.
When you eat something like mashed potato your stomach has little to do. Potato literally falls apart into glucose and is absorbed into your blood stream very quickly. Your body doesn’t need to use much energy to make this happen.
If you ate the same amount of calories as broccoli or whole grain rice – your body has more work to do to release those calories compared to mashed potato.
So the idea that the source of calories is not important is totally ridiculous, because it has serious health and weight consequences.
Calorie counting without looking at the sources of those calories, diets like Weight Watchers – make no logical sense at all!
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Have a great week!