I am going to give you 3 reasons why what you are eating is more important than how much you are eating.
Reason #1: Weight loss does not equal fat loss.
Meet Sally: she eats 2100 calories per day. She eats a high carbohydrate, low fat diet.
Now, meet Andy: she eats 2100 calories per day. She eats a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
After 6 months of eating this way and exercising, both Sally and Andy have lost the same amount of weight. How can this be you ask? Weight loss is simply calories in VS calories out. If you are restricting your intake and exercising, you will lose weight. But weight loss does not equal fat loss.
This study had 811 overweight participants. All lost around the same amount of weight, regardless of the amount of fat and carbohydrates that they ate. But, the important question is not how much weight they lost, but how much fat they lost.
This study experimented with protein intake. One group ate a high protein diet, while the other ate a low protein diet. Both groups ate the same amount of calories and lost the same amount of weight, but the high protein group lost significantly less lean body weight, meaning that more of their weight loss came from fat.
You can eat 1500 calories worth of whole food or 1500 calories of junk and lose weight either way, but you will see more results, increase your lean body mass and decrease your body fat percentage by eating whole foods, NOT by eating junk.
Reason #2: A calorie is not a calorie.
10 calories worth of almonds and 10 calories of chocolate are the same, right? Just like a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same. Wrong.
When we eat food, we burn calories by digesting it. That is why extremely low calorie foods like cucumber and celery are considered “negative calorie.” It takes more calories to digest them than they have in the first place.
Scientists at the Department of Biology at Pomona College in the US found that subjects who ate a meal of processed foods had a decreased postprandial energy expenditure of about 50% compared to the subjects who ate a meal of whole foods.
In other words, those who ate a meal made of whole foods burned more calories through digesting it than those who ate a meal made of processed foods. This holds serious implications for those who eat a diet of mostly processed foods, as well as explaining why it is possible to eat more and lose weight when you eat healthy.
Reason #3: Healthy food keeps you satisfied for longer.
So, you know that to change your body’s shape and to get more bang for your buck with your meals you have to eat healthy. I’m going to provide you with one last reason why you you should put your calculator down and start paying more attention to what you eat, not its amount.
Our bodies regulate hunger and satiety cues through a variety of factors, both psychological, biological, and neurological. When you eat, your body releases hormones that signal your brain to tell you to either eat more or stop. Many of these “stop”and “start” hormones are regulated by blood sugar.
The Glycemic Index (GI) rates a food depending on how fast and how much sugar is secreted into the blood stream when it is digested. Low GI foods stabilize appetite by secreting sugar slower and in smaller amounts, while high GI foods do the opposite.
Processed foods have a high glycemic index, while whole foods have a low one.
So, there you have it. Three great reasons why you should eat healthy, unprocessed foods to lose fat instead of simply counting calories. The old “calories in vs calories out” approach to weight loss has been proven ineffective time and again, and the sooner you can get out of that mindset, the sooner you can start to see results!
In summary, here’s what you need to know:
- Macronutrient intake does influence body fat percentage, and therefore, body size and shape. Calorie counting alone is not effective in reducing body fat percentage or increasing lean body weight.
- Fat loss is not the same as weight loss, and the former can only be achieved through adequate exercise and macronutrient intake.
- Counting calories, AND eating appropriate amounts of macronutrients, and exercising regularly is the most effective way to lose fat.
Stay tuned for more!