A calorie is not always equal a calorie. In fact, it depends on what you eat. There are three main types of calories: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each type of nutrient affects how much you want to eat. Carbohydrates make you feel full faster than protein or fat. This makes carbs great for snacking. But eating too many carbs can cause problems like diabetes and heart disease. Protein helps keep your muscles strong and healthy. Fat keeps you feeling satisfied longer. If you don’t eat enough fat, you’ll start craving sugar. You can use this information to control your hunger and manage your weight.
1. Fructose vs Glucose
Fructose is sweeter than sugar, making it easier to overindulge. In fact, you might find yourself reaching for a second piece of cake just because it tastes better than a slice of plain old white bread. But while we know that eating too many sweets isn’t good for us, what about the sweet stuff itself? Is there anything wrong with consuming high amounts of fructose?
The short answer is yes. Although fructose does taste sweeter than glucose, it actually promotes weight gain. This is due to the way our bodies process fructose versus glucose. When we eat foods containing large amounts of either sugar, the body breaks down both into simple sugars called monosaccharides. Monosaccharides are then absorbed directly into the bloodstream where they’re used immediately for energy. However, once the body digests fructose, it converts it into another type of sugar called glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles, and is later broken down into glucose to provide fuel for cells throughout the body.
This conversion process requires additional calories, meaning that even though you feel full when you consume fructose, your body continues to burn calories digesting it. And since most people don’t eat enough healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins, they end up storing those extra calories as belly fat.
There are several ways that fructose contributes to obesity. First, it leads to insulin resistance, which is the inability of cells to respond normally to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar. Insulin resistance is linked to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Second, excessive fructose consumption causes leptin levels to drop, leading to increased appetite and caving in on self-control. Third, excess fructose stimulates the production of ghrelin, a hormone associated with hunger. Finally, fructose raises triglyceride levels, increasing the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
So how do we avoid all of these problems? Well, simply cutting out the added sugars in your diet is one option, but if you want to take things a step further, try replacing some of your regular sugar intake with natural sources such as agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, molasses and coconut palm sugar. These healthier alternatives still contain plenty of nutrients and fiber, and won’t contribute to weight gain.
2. The Thermic Effect of Food
Different foods go through different metabolic pathways. Some of these processes are faster than others, which leads them to use up more energy than slower ones. This difference in efficiency affects what percentage of the food’s energy goes towards producing heat. A high protein diet boosts metabolism by about 80 – 100 Calories per day. Protein calories are less fattenig than carbohydrates or fats. Whole foods take more energy than packaged food.
3. Protein Kills Appetite and Makes You Eat Fewer Calories
The average American eats about 20 grams of protein per day, according to the USDA. But eating more protein actually reduces hunger and helps you feel full longer.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people ate fewer calories during the day when they consumed more protein. Another study published in the journal Obesity showed that consuming 30 grams of protein each meal increased satiety levels. This could explain why some people are able to maintain their weight while others struggle to keep it off.
In addition, a review published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that protein intake was associated with lower body mass index values. So, if you want to lose weight, consider increasing your daily protein intake.
4. The Satiety Index
The satiety index is a measure of how much a food satisfies your appetite. This is important because some foods are easier to overeat than others. For example, ice cream is very easy to overeat. Ice cream is very rich and satisfying. It gives you a strong feeling of fullness. But eating too much ice cream isn’t good for you. Eating too much ice cream causes you to gain weight.
Eggs and broccoli are hard to overeat. They fill you up quickly, but they don’t satisfy the same as ice cream does. So eating too many eggs and broccoli won’t make you feel as satisfied as eating too much ice cream will.
Foods with high satiety indexes tend to fill you up faster, but they don’t cause you to gain weight. These foods include fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fish, dairy products, and healthy fats.
5. Low-Carb Diets Lead to Automatic Calorie Restriction
Low-carb diets are gaining popularity because they help people lose weight without feeling hungry. But according to research published in Cell Metabolism, low-carb diets actually cause you to automatically restrict calories. This leads to weight loss, even though you aren’t consciously trying to eat less.
In one study, researchers gave 10 healthy men either a high-carbohydrate diet or a low-carbohydrate diet. They found that those eating fewer carbs had lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes us feel hungry. So while they weren’t consciously restricting calories, their bodies were doing it for them.
The same thing happened when scientists looked at how much food women ate during a 24-hour period. Those following a low-carb diet consumed about 500 fewer calories per day than those on a normal diet. And since we burn roughly 3,500 calories daily just to maintain our bodyweight, that meant they lost weight.