By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
Are you guilty of scrutinising labels for the calorie content and reaching for the lower calorie option even though it might not necessarily be healthier? Are you of the belief that eating a 100-calorie bar of chocolate is the same as eating 100 calories worth of nuts? Do you find yourself obsessing over the calories with fear of weight gain? Well the truth is – calories are not the be all and end all of weight loss/maintaining a healthy weight. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place for calories and if you overindulge you can put on weight, but it’s not all black and white.
A calorie does not equal a calorie. Have you heard of the thermic effect of food (TEF)? This means that some foods require more energy from the body than other foods for digestion and absorption. When you consume protein, your body expends 20-30% of energy ingested, compared to 0-3% for fat and 5-10% for carbohydrates. This means that when you eat protein you burn up to 30% of the calories just in digestion- you can actually EAT MORE and end up with less calories than if you reached for a high fat/ carb meal!
The satiety and GI of foods should be taken into account. Protein and fat (eg. eggs, fish and nuts) are digested more slowly than carbohydrates and help to balance blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer. Refined carbohydrates on the other hand (such as white bread, donuts and soft drink), cause a large spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash, which then causes further sugar cravings and so the cycle continues. Therefore, eating a handful of nuts (protein and fat) is going to satisfy your appetite a lot more than a chocolate bar (refined carbs) as your hunger will be reduced and your blood sugar will stabilise. You will end up eating less throughout the day.
Making simple changes to your diet can make a big difference and you may find that you don’t even need to count calories anymore. Having a protein shake such as the low carb, high protein Synd-X powder throughout the day is a great way to curb your appetite and to balance your blood sugar. You could also try Metabocel Weight Control tablets which can help to reduce cravings and increase fat burning.
See Dr Cabot’s book I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why for a low carb metabolic weight loss plan.