Here’s How Your Body Processes Different Kinds Of Calories

All calories are not processed the same way

Weight watchers usually start out any meal by religiously counting the calories in it first. However, the old formula of weight loss being proportionate to the number of calories you take in vs. the number of calories you lose through exercise is no longer true. There are many different types of calories and our body processes each type differently. 100 calories of chocolate and 100 calories of broccoli will have a different effect on your weight. Different nutrients have different impacts on the hormones and brain centers that control eating behavior.

Refined Sugars Vs. Natural Sugars

 Refined sugars make you put on more weight


The first step most people take when they want to lose weight is cutting back on sugar. But apart from limiting your sugar intake, you should also pay attention to the kinds of sugar you’re eating. Fructose and sucrose are two commonly found kinds of sugars. Both are simple sugars with the same chemical structure but our body treats both differently. Sucrose is metabolized by all tissues in the body while fructose is broken down only in the liver. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone and goes up when we are hungry, making us eat more. Ghrelin increases after eating food with fructose causing an increase in abdominal fat. So next time you reach for a soda or sweetened yogurt, instead peel and eat a banana.

Some Foods Take More Energy To Metabolize

Ever wondered why proteins make you put on less weight than carbohydrates or fats? This is because the metabolic pathway for protein is much less efficient than that of carbohydrates and fats. So much of the calories in proteins are lost since it needs much more energy to be broken down into simple amino acids. The amount of energy required to digest a nutrient is called its thermic effect. To understand this better, let’s compare 100 calories of proteins and 100 calories of fat. The thermic effect of protein is 25% while that of fats is about 2%. This means that after digestion, you will end up with 75 calories of proteins and 98 calories of fat. So choose cheddar cheese over processed cheese and whole wheat bread over white bread.

Low-Carb Diets

A low-carb diet results in more weight loss when compared to a low-fat diet. One of the main reasons is that a low-carb diet causes less hunger pangs. It also causes more water loss and less feelings of bloat in the first two weeks. A low carb diet also tends to increase your protein intake and this helps in more muscles and less fat being built.

Glycemic Index

Cutting out carbohydrates from your diet completely is a bad idea. Sugar is needed for energy, so the kind of carbohydrates you eat makes all the difference. Processed sugars and foods are the worst culprits. Foods like white bread contain much less fiber and so get digested very quickly. This causes a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and are foods with a high glycemic (GI) level. There is a corresponding crash in the sugar levels in a short span of time and that is when the craving for a high-carb snack hits you. So the time it takes from eating to entering into the bloodstream determines a food’s potential to cause overeating and weight gain. Start buying carbs with natural ingredients like whole wheat bread and honey instead of sugar.

Satiety Index

The satiety index is a scale used to measure how each food can reduce hunger, increase the feeling of fullness and hence reduce energy intake for a few hours. The perfect way to illustrate this is with everyone’s weakness, ice cream. You can easily eat 500 calories of ice cream and still want more, this is because it has a low satiety index. Try eating 500 calories of egg or broccoli, you would give up less than halfway through. So include foods with a high satiety index into your diet like boiled potatoes, beef, beans, eggs and fruits. Donuts, cakes, cookies and ice cream are best avoided.