If you're struggling to shed pounds, you may be thinking about calories all wrong. Of course, calories matter when it comes to weight loss, but cutting-edge experts say the “calories in, calories out” philosophy is oversimplified and inadequate. The latest thinking, as explained to me by Robert Lustig, MD, author of the recently published book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Foods, Obesity, and Disease, is that the quality of the calories determines the quantity your body burns or stores. Check out these fascinating examples of how calorie quality affects your weight and health.
Fiber: Fiber delays the absorption of calories. For example, when
you eat a 160-calorie portion of almonds, you absorb only 130 because
some calories are delivered to your intestine, where your gut bacteria
burn them for their own energy source.
Protein:You use twice as
much energy to metabolize protein as carbohydrate because of the thermic
effect of food. Protein also reduces hunger hormones more than carbs do.
Carbohydrate:Starches (like potatoes) contain mainly glucose, which every
cell in your body uses for energy. Fructose (found in soda, candy, and most processed foods) is metabolized in your liver as fat, which
drives chronic diseases such as diabetes.