Not All Calories are Created Equal
Many people striving to trim down and lose weight will begin to attach calories as their enemy. To reach the goal in a healthier fashion, we need to appreciate that everything we eat isn’t equal calories. This is especially true when trying to lose weight.
Our body is hard-wired to use certain calories before others when we exercise.
Still, others will transform more quickly to the dreaded thing we’re trying to remove, fat.
Here’s a look at the basic types of calories, each one an essential nutrient we require to be healthy. When we’re finished, hopefully, we can all agree that not all calories are equal.
Calories in Fats
Fats are the first calorie on our list. Frequently, fats get tagged as the worst of all calories. Because of their chemical makeup, fats are the first evidence that not all calories are equal. The biggest mistake is to automatically associate the fat we try to expel from our bodies as fat the calorie.
While the latter may end up as excess body mass, they are not the same. That makes fats the most misunderstood of all the calories. Too often, we believe that it has no use except to make parts of our bodies’ Bulbous.
Fats are one of six essential nutrients we must have to be healthy. Sure, too many fat calories can have an adverse effect on good health. But to eliminate them totally from our diet is equally unhealthy.
However, all the attention that healthy diet advocates give to reducing fat intake isn’t all without good merit.
Saturated or Trans fats, do unhealthy things to our bodies. One byproduct of Trans-fat is low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is the bad cholesterol that leads to heart problems.
Fats also have double the calories as both proteins and carbohydrates. What that means for diet purposes is that we can eat about twice as many carbs and proteins as we can fats. This is why fat calories are important, but they should be eaten in moderation. Again, this is especially if we’re trying to focus on weight loss.
Calories in Protein
The next calories that are part of the nutritional balance are the proteins. Proteins have a huge job in our bodies’ production and maintenance of muscle structure. Protein is so coveted by exercise enthusiasts that there are protein shakes and bars that help us load up on protein calories at the exclusion of others.
While proteins are essential building blocks for muscle, they don’t automatically turn into muscle. If proteins are eaten without the necessary training intensity, they will be converted and stored by the body just like fat.
Instead of big biceps, we add to our love handles.
We often think of protein as the one type of calorie that we can consume with reckless abandon. This is not the case. Too much protein can potentially be just as harmful as eating empty calories. Overeating protein calories can restrict the intake of carbohydrates. It can also place an unnatural strain on our kidneys.
Calories in Carbohydrates
Part of our calorie intake should be in the form of fuel for our body’s energy system. That’s where the carbohydrate calories come in. They are the same density as proteins, but they burn at a lower heat level. Our bodies are engineered to use them as the first source of fuel.
Carbohydrates come from a variety of sources and each has various functions. Fiber carbs are essential for digestion, while starches are categorized as complex carbohydrates. Both fiber and starch are complex carbohydrates, but they function differently.
Simple carbohydrates are sugar carbs, including the sugar that comes from drinking alcohol. There are also various sugars known as oligosaccharides, which fall into the complex carbohydrate category. For our discussion of equal calories, we’ll analyze fiber and starchy carbohydrates.
There has always been the debate of “to carb” or “not to carb”. Carbohydrates have their place in a well-rounded diet. They help you maintain energy during workouts. Even in the same family, the calories associated with carbs aren’t even equal.
Calories in Fiber
One of the highest sources of fiber-based carbohydrates is legumes. Legumes include things such as peas, peanuts and an assortment of beans. Fiber promotes healthy digestion, plus it helps to reduce the bad cholesterol inherent in some fat calories.
Fiber plays an important role in body chemistry. To help keep nutritional balance, fiber can be mixed with other nutrients, especially fruit carbohydrates. It is recommended that we obtain at least 25 grams worth of our daily calories from some healthy source of fiber.
Calories in Starch
Starches are actually long molecule chains developed from simple sugar carbohydrates. This process helps the body store this type of energy easier. Starchy carbohydrates are the most common type we consume. Many starchy foods do not break down as readily as the simpler ones.
Whole foods such as French fries have a great deal of starch, they do not digest as efficiently, so the body’s access to their energy is slower. Therefore, if they are not used up within a few hours, this type of starch is chemically stored in fat cells. Starches may be one of the best examples for the argument that not all calories are created equal.
The final point in our discussion helps us prove our point about the difference in calories. Subcutaneous fat has a number of helpful functions. It is the layer of fat that resides just below the skin.
It is one place that our bodies store energy. Subcutaneous fat acts as an insulation layer to maintain body temperature, plus provides padding for our muscles and bones.
However, when we consume excess calories, especially the not-so-good varieties, this layer becomes thicker.
We begin to have flabby areas around our arms or balloon up that dreaded spare tire that surrounds our mid-section. Burning excess subcutaneous, a layer beyond what the body needs, can be difficult.
To blend all the different types of calories together in the most efficient and healthy manner, we need a balance. It’s through that balance that our bodies’ will burn through enough calories to maintain optimal weight.
Understanding the basic makeup of each type of calorie, and how much effort it takes us to burn them, is important for weight control and body-mass management. Just keep in mind, that all calories are useful in moderation. The key to making them work for us is to eat a calorie balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and be active.
For more information, you can give us a call at (844) 437-8446 or visit one of our local Weight Loss Centers!
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