It’s the age old saying – when you want to lose weight it’s all about calories vs calories out. Well… not exactly.
It’s not that simple because your body is a complicated machine, and it needs the proper fuel to work at it’s best.
Just like you wouldn’t put diesel into a petrol car, putting the wrong type of fuel into your body will lead to sub-standard performance and eventually a break down.
Think – obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, etc.
So then what calories are good calories? And how does this have an impact on weight loss, and overall health?
A recent study compared whole food and processed food meals. Both meals were cheese sandwiches, but the whole food sandwich was made with multi-grain bread and cheddar cheese; the processed food sandwich was made with white bread and processed cheese.
Same macronutrient ratio (percentage of protein, carbohydrates, and fat); same calories; same format. So, same thing… right? Nope.
When researchers compared people’s metabolic rates and the energy expenditure after the meals, they found that the white bread and processed cheese eaters spent 50% less energy digesting the processed food!
Less energy spent on digestion means more calories absorbed and stored. More calories absorbed and stored adds up to weight gain for people who eat a lot of processed foods.
On the other hand, the energy we expend digesting whole, unprocessed foods means that fewer calories are stored as fat.
You can see that the food difference was not very big – white bread vs wholemeal, and processed cheese vs cheddar cheese. Simple swaps you could make today.
Don’t get me wrong! The whole food sandwich is still processed – bread has been made from wheat and other ingredients = processed. The cheese was once milk = processed.
But it’s less processed.
The closer you get to whole, unprocessed food, the more you help yourself with your weight loss.
Make your food earn its rent. Don’t give it a free ride!
You may now be asking “But what constitutes a whole food?”
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
Whole foods generally come in their own packaging – think an apple, a chicken, bunch of carrots, etc.
Minimally processed foods are things like steel cut oats, milk, yogurt, etc.
Whole foods deliver more of what you want, and less of what you don’t.
If you want to learn how to put together nutritious whole food meals that will help you with your weight loss, click here to get a meal planning resource.
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