This page is a collection of ideas I am working on or testing which you might find interesting.
Calories in and out are not the same as the body processes some foods
faster, utilizes some foods more efficiently and tends to push foods through faster if
large amounts are eaten suddenly.
All calories are not equal
One thing to remember are that the body is far more complex than most people give it credit for. Most researchers, dieticians etc. try to oversimplify things by assuming that the body will have the same response to the same stimuli every time. They keep saying: "To lose weight, calories going in must be less than the calories going out." While this is true in a very basic sense, there are so many variables with what your body is doing (internally) at any given time that it's virtually useless as a guide to dieting. They used to say (and many still do) that "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie", meaning that all calories are equal and by simply eating less than your estimated expenditure will result in weight loss. It has since been proven that all calories are NOT equal and that different types of foods have dramatically different effects on the body. Different food types trigger powerful hormone releases which profoundly affect how your body deals with the calories, among other things.
It has recently been shown that those on a diet higher in protein have an increased metabolic rate over those on a diet higher in carbs, even though calories were the SAME for both groups. The higher protein group also lost significantly more fat during the test period. I have known this for years myself due to my own experiences but it was very nice to see it proven in a controlled study. It is but one example of calories not being equal. Calories from sugar and carbs have a much different effect on the body than calories from protein and fat, partly due to the blood sugar increase and resulting insulin release to bring the sugar back to normal. When sugar is eaten it gets absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream which usually results in an overcompensation of insulin. This brings the sugar levels down far below normal which slows down the metabolism and will very likely make you tired for a while and then hungrier than ever for more sugar/carbs. With complex carbs this effect is much less because the carb chains have to be broken down into simple sugars so there isn't a large sudden influx of sugar into the blood. Still, when too many complex carbs are eaten the body can't process or use it all at that time so it stores what it doesn't use as fat. Sugar is easily converted to fat and unless it's needed for energy or to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles and liver it will be stored as fat.
Now you ask why, if you eat fewer calories, your body doesn't use the stored fat to make up the difference? The body will generally try to stay in its current state, and the longer it has been in that state the harder it will be to make it change. Even if outside elements are varied, the body will adjust itself to remain basically the same. Now if you continually eat too much and are gaining weight, the body is already in a state of change which is double hard to reverse. If you suddenly cut the calories your body will say "Hey, I used up all the food already, I better slow the metabolism down and trigger the hunger receptors". Suddenly you're tired and hungry, and burning less calories. So when you eat less, the body's first response is to slow down the metabolic rate, cause cravings for food, store as much fat as possible from the next meal to make up for it, and maybe take off a bit of muscle if it feels the muscle is not needed. This is where weight training while dieting is important; it helps preserve muscle. If you continue to eat the lesser amount the weight gain will slow down or stop but it could still be a while before fat loss starts. If you eat sweets and lots of carbs your body might just learn to live with the lower calories simply by slowing down the burning of them.
If you cut fat out of your diet the body is even more likely to store what it can as fat. Despite what you hear, fat is a very necessary component of the body and you would die without it. It's just too much, and the wrong types of fat that are bad. When you have some fat in the diet the body gets used to digesting and burning fat, and if it doesn't feel a need to store it (if it consistently gets adequate food and insulin levels are stable), this fat burning will carry over into burning bodyfat.
Protein is treated differently. For one thing it's harder to break down into sugars and the process of doing so consumes many calories. Protein is also used for tissue building and repair so much of it gets used just to maintain the body's condition. It doesn't cause the large insulin spikes of sugar and doesn't promote the storage of fat. Vegetables don't easily go to fat either due to the fiber content which either doesn't get digested or burns many calories to digest. Fruits contain a lot of sugar but also have fiber which slows down absorption of it. Still, they should be taken in moderation when trying to lose fat.
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