Not all calories were created equally, and anyone who suggests they are is quite frankly an idiot! Anyone who says that 200 calories of vegetables is the same as a 200 calorie donut is probably very over weight!
But seriously, why are they different? Well first of all stop thinking of what you are eating as being made up of calories.
One calorie is a measurement of the approximate amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
Without going too much into the science behind it all it’s easier to just use calories as a guide to the amount you can consume in any given day, defined by your BMR.
There are even more factors that will affect how your body digests and uses the calories that make up, using my example above, vegetables and donuts.
You can look at the Glycaemic Index (GI). This index is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels rise after eating food.
The donut will be on the high end of the GI, while the vegetables will be on the lower end (unless it’s a potato – which is in the middle).
When you eat a high GI food you are more likely to store it as fat than lower GI, which is advertised as more of a sustained release of energy, the reason for this follows.
So using the Glycaemic Index on the example above, 200 calories of lower GI vegetables will be digested fairly slowly, providing the body with the nutritional content of the veg and giving you a sustained amount of energy.
The 200 calorie donut will be digested very quickly, your body will therefore have a lot of energy to use very quickly, and if you’re sitting at your desk or on the sofa in front of the television the chances are your body will store it as fat.
So hopefully you know understand the difference between 200 calories of vegetables, which is a plateful for a veg like peas, and a 200 calorie donut, which will actually be fairly small, but the bigger picture?
Well what I do is take my estimated calorie burn for the day, let’s say 2,500, and then log food into my calorie counter app. I roughly know which foods sit where on the Glycaemic Index, but you may need to refer to an online guide.
I know that I am least active in the evening, so my dinner will be made up of medium to low GI foods, some sort of meat or Quorn, with microwave rice, and vegetables.
If I’m going to be exercising fruit or an energy gel, which is higher on the Index, will provide me with energy to perform to my potential.
So wouldn’t it be easier to just eat low GI foods? Well in my experience, anyone who does this is removing all refined sugars from their diet, which is very difficult and will lead to some pretty harsh cravings, which if you then give in to, will destroy all your hard work.
To further enhance my point about calories not being the most important thing to consider when choosing what food to eat, what about negative calorie foods?
I will cover this topic in more detail in the following week’s but there are foods out there that are considered to force your body to use more calories breaking down the food than the food actually provides! That’s right there are foods out there that do this! More on this topic soon…
So my advice is to limit the amount of high GI foods to earlier in the day when you are more active (or later depending on when you are actually active).
Try to eat a balanced meal made up of low to medium GI foods (meat doesn’t have a position on the Glycaemic Index as it only includes carbs). Try not to have any high GI foods before bed when your body is more likely to store the unused energy as fat.
Next week’s topic is probably what people dread the most… Exercise…
Specifically, I will be looking into the best and most effective short workouts that will maximise your chances of losing weight through dieting.
I am under no illusion that most people simply don’t have the time to exercise, but with a couple of minutes and no equipment needed there really is no excuse!