Calories are not all created equal! Many people still believe that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. This is a simplistic and outdated notion that has many flaws.
- The source of the calories makes all the difference – eg. identical calorie counts from fructose, glucose, protein and fat, will cause entirely different metabolic effects in your body. Different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses and those hormonal responses will determine how much fat your body will accumulate and store. Research shows that calories consumed from refined and processed sugars promote overeating, whereas calories from whole vegetables, protein and fibre decrease hunger.
- The thermic effect of food (TEF) – the amount of energy your body uses in order to breakdown each macro-nutrient (protein, carb or fat). The energy used in making protein available to your body is around 25-30%, whereas the thermic effect of carbohydrates (energy used) is 6-8%. This means a diet high in protein will burn more fat than a carbohydrate-heavy diet.
- Imbalanced hormones play a role. For example, people who are insulin resistant have impaired enzymes and are therefore more likely to store fat than burn it.
Forget counting calories.
If you want to lose weight: eat clean, real food; balance the ratio of your carbs, fats and protein; and exercise regularly, incorporating weights, cardio and stretching/relaxation.