Is a Calorie Just a Calorie?
Is a calorie just a calorie or is there more to it than just that?
Often you hear now it’s calories in vs calories out to lose weight, I myself preach this but is it as simple as that?
Yes and no.
Let’s start with the yes part first, so for someone who has high levels of body fat who is over consuming calories on a daily basis and bingeing will greatly benefit from reducing their daily intake.
If they are currently eating 4000-5000 calories a day but only burning 3300 that means they’re storing 700-1700 calories a day as body fat.
By giving them a 3000 calorie day allowance will help them stop gaining weight and to start losing it, even if its the same processed foods they are currently consuming.
They will now burn around 300 calories a day from fat stores which will result in fat loss.
Keeping the same foods in their diet is a great place to start because they are able to enjoy and adhere to the deficit better as they don’t feel restricted.
However, these calories have been stripped of all nutrients and enzymes, which are full of additives and chemicals.
Note: Processed foods are stripped of enzymes to enhance shelf life.
Enzymes are part of all single ingredient natural foods, think of when you bite an apple and leave it it starts to turn brown and rot thats the enzymes doing what they’re their to do which is help the breakdown of foods.
I am sure we have all seen the video of the Mc’Donalds burger that has been left out for years and it looks exactly the same, this is because all enzymes have been stripped so there’s no rotting process.
There are food enzymes and digestion enzymes which are both important for the break down of food for digestion, gut health and your immune system.
When constantly consuming foods void of enzymes and packed full of chemicals it puts a lot of strain on these systems.
To burn body fat optimally you need all of those systems working smoothly to improve bodily functions and to help burn fat stores effectively.
Nutrients are also important for this, consuming processed foods which have been stripped full of vitamins and minerals are going to take it’s toll on your body and it’s effectiveness at oxidation of fat.
Vitamin B1 Thiamin - Thiamine plays an important role in the breakdown of glucose for energy (stored carbohydrates)
Sources: Green Vegetables, Cereals and Nuts Fruits.
Vitamin B3 Niacin - Niacin helps convert food into energy (this is how we burn food and fat stores) Sources - Meat, Poultry, Fish, Fortified and Whole Grains, Mushrooms, Potatoes, Peanut Butter and Fortified Cereals.
Choline - Plays a role in metabolising and transporting fats.
Sources: Many foods, especially Milk, Eggs, Liver and Peanuts.
Iodine - Part of the thyroid hormone and helps prevent congenital thyroid disorder.
Sources: Sea food, Iodized Salt and Eggs
As you can see all these vitamins help towards weight loss, having foods without these nutrients is going to hinder your rate and effectiveness of fat loss.
Constantly eating foods that have a long shelf life isn’t going to be very beneficial for your progress or your health.
This is why I recommend that 80% of your diet comes from healthy and natural foods and you try to eat a rainbow a week (fruit and veg not skittles) as each colour all contain different nutrients.
If you want optimal fat loss your macronutrient split is also important.
Consuming a diet that is 90% carbs 5% fat and 5% protein is not going to be as effective as consuming a diet that is 25-30% protein, 25-30% fat and 40-50% carbs.
Let me explain:
Protein - Protein is your bodies building blocks used to help build cells, skin, hair, muscle and tissue.
Fats - Fats help to transport nutrients around to the body and its cells and to provide structure integrity to cell membranes.
Carbohydrates - Carbs are a source of fuel for workouts and muscles and helps with protein synthesis as it increases insulin secretion (anabolic hormone which helps build).
Now if your diet is 90% carbs:
You run the risk of an insufficient supply of protein which will lead to burning protein (muscle tissue) for fuel this in return decreases your metabolism, you’ll become weaker, you’ll be at a higher risk of osteoporosis and sarcopenia (muscle degenerative disease).
You’ll also be preventing sufficient supply of nutrients and vitamins to your body due to the lack of dietary fats which as we discussed earlier prevents your body from performing optimally and hinders hormone function.
If you are in the very first stages of achieving fat loss a simple calorie deficit is enough to get the fat loss ball rolling, your digestion and gut health will automatically run more efficient as its now under less stress than it’s used to.
But if you are further into your fat loss journey the above points are where you need to start placing your focus to improve all the discussed areas if you want optimal results and health..
Remember, without a calorie deficit in the first place you will not achieve results but a calorie is not just a calorie as they are not all used the same in our body and some can place more stress on it.
Also note that throughout I say will hinder fat loss and not prevent. You will still lose body fat if you are in a calorie deficit but your body won’t be achieving fat loss optimally.
A huge thank you for reading :)
P.s if you didn’t hear I will be bringing out a new recipe book each month for you guys for free. The only way to receive each one is through following the link below and leaving your name and email address.