In this blog post i thought i would be a good idea to talk about calories and diets in general and how you can reduce weight in general. Many people believe either that a certain diet will do certain things (make you loos weight) or that it doesn’t matter what you eat, as long as you are in a calorie deficiency, you will lose weight. This is only to some degree true. While the amount of calories does definitely matter, its even more important what are those calories.
Sugar, Fat or Protein?
Now when people start to reduce weight, they usually either eat very small amounts of food or they try diets like the low carb diet, which limits carbohydrates (sugar) to an small amount. All carbohydrates are transformed to glucose in the body. From the theory itself, it shouldn’t matter if the carbohydrate comes from bread or from direct sugar, but thats not really true (later more).
Protein (from greek, the most important, translated) is used to build up every cell in the body. Most proteins can be build by the body itself, however, 20 amino acids needs to be constantly delivered in order to make certain proteins out of it. Those 20 amino acids are the essential amino acids. People usually think proteins are found only in meat or diary / eggs. This is true, but almost every vegetable also contains a lot of proteins. Nuts also a good source for proteins. Medical school science claim, that the ‘bio avability’ is much smaller in vegetable protein than in meat. Bio availability is a measurement of how good the body can use the amino acids / proteins. With a low bio availability, the body can only use a small amount of the delivered protein source. While this is interesting, a lot of vegan proof that you can also maintain muscles on a vegan diet. It seems that bio availability is not quite ‘accurate’. Its probably only higher because meat eaters are more ‘used’ to this kind of protein. However, this is only an assumption.
Protein should be always somehow the base intake in every diet. When you are losing weight, you don’t want to lose muscles and keep the fat. Instead, you want to lose as much fat as possible but only a small amount of muscles. With protein, you make sure to have enough protein to maintain and even add small amounts of muscles while in a calorie deficiency.
Fat is also very important. Without fat, there are no hormones. Hormones are made out of vitamins, minerals and the fat cholesterol. It is then transformed into cholesterol and finally into pregnenolone, the ‘base hormone’ of almost every other hormone. Without enough fat in your diet, cholesterol can be low. But fat does not equal fat. There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats.
Unsaturated fats are considered the healthy fats. They are found mostly in vegetables like avocados (very high amount of fat), nuts and fish. Saturated fats are found in meat, eggs, dairy’s etc. Its considered as the ‘bad’ fat. They key is here to balance unsaturated and saturated fats. Saturated fats should be consumed in small amounts, while unsaturated should be your ‘base fats’ that you consume daily.
Now back to the carbohydrates. Carbohydrates deliver the most potent form of energy for the body: Glucose. The body transforms out of carbohydrates glucose, which is used as an energy source. However, too much carbohydrates can be transformed into fat and stored as fat cells. Fat on the other hand, can be transformed into carbohydrates (ketosis), which is why even on a low carb diet, people can do sports and still have some kind of energy left.
So are carbohydrates bad or good for you? Well yes and no. The problem with carbohydrates is, that every food in the western world is filled with sugar and other carbohydrates. Being low in carbohydrates with a typical western diet is almost impossible, at least when some does not try to eliminate them. This overfills the body with carbohydrates, which is why insulin levels are too high. When insulin is too high, it results in constant fat storage, even when someone eats a lower amount of calories.
So are carbohydrates bad?
Not actually bad, as the body uses it as its main energy resource. Proteins and fats are usually used to build up cells and other important thinks, such as hormones. Carbohydrates on the other hand are not used to ‘build up’ something, however, the body is able to convert carbohydrates (if too high) into fat cells trough insulin. So if someone wants to lose weight, it makes sense to eliminate almost all carbohydrates, to make sure to keep the insulin levels ‘low’.
But not all carbohydrate equal carbohydrates. There are many forms of carbohydrates out there. Glucose is found in the normal sugar, fructose in fruits. Fructose doesn’t raise insulin levels, as its metabolized differently. Fructose is metabolized in the liver. This makes fructose a much ‘healthier’ carbohydrate than glucose, that has a high insulin response.
Vegans for example, eat high carbohydrate diets, such as the 80/10/10 fructose diet. They still lose weight. The reason for that is because most fruits also contain low calories.
Diary, eggs, meats etc. contain high amount of fats and fats are the most calorie dense food source. You only need to consume a small amount of it, otherwise the fat will be stored as fat.
So should i go low in carb and fat?
Well, people from the low carb diet are losing weight. That mean’s, yes, you can eat purely fat and proteins and lose a good amount of weight. But you could also drop the fat and eat more fruits / vegetables and still lose fat.
The point is: A Calorie is still a calorie. However, it makes a huge difference if the food source will result in high insulin levels or in more lower one. With high insulin levels, the body will be always in a ‘fat storing’ mode. You will lose weight, but very slowly and mostly from protein breakdown in the muscles, something you want to prevent.
In this case, the best choice is always to be in a slight calorie deficiency and to make sure that your insulin levels stay low, by reducing the carbohydrate intake to, let’s say, to 100g per day. Your food source should be mainly proteins and fats.
Why should i only have a slight calorie deficiency?
Weight loss results in higher cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone. It breaks down proteins in muscle tissue, causing muscle loss and raises insulin levels to keep blood sugar levels high. This makes cortisol a big no no. If you are not eating enough, cortisol makes sure with insulin to keep your blood levels high. It uses mainly the stored glucose in the liver as a fuel, but also fat. But why is that than bad? Well, you will lose weight, even with high cortisol and insulin levels but very slow, since fat is very high dense in calories and carbohydrates not. Also, while you lose weight, its mostly because of the loss of protein inside your muscles. Going way to low with calories causes big problems and should be prevented.
A good measure on how low someone should go: Go 100-200 calories lower and the normal intake you would need to eat in order to maintain weight. The more you lose weight, the lower you need to go with the calorie intake.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post on how to reduce weight easily! Make sure to follow me on Twitter: Follow Me and subscribe to my newsletter on the right side if you enjoy my blog.