Have you ever thought that despite the repeated testimony of all fitness gurus, nutritionists, and health magazines, it is not so smart to lose weight by keeping an eye on every calorie that gets into your body and that it rarely works? Well we have. And we figured out exactly why. Read this article to learn how to start old, ineffective habits and eat smartly for real results!
Humans are not machines and calories are not created equal
Calorie counts are hard to miss these days – grocery packages, restaurant menus, and cookbook recipes contain detailed information about their caloric value, so health conscious and dietary consumers properly equipped with calorie measuring devices can make an informed decision when shopping for groceries. How can someone expect to reduce the number of calories they eat without counting them?
Surprisingly, in-depth research on the subject has shown otherwise. Nutritionists have found that the importance of calorie counting for weight loss is grossly overrated. In other words, this is just another myth that we need to debunk and get rid of so that we can focus on really effective fat loss techniques.
A person is not a machine, and the overly simplified formula of the calorie tracker ignores this truth. Our energy consumption is based on activity level, metabolism and available energy. The person who eats less, has less energy and is less active and therefore burns fewer calories.
In addition, the calorie count is based on a 100-year-old formula called the Atwater System, in which carbohydrates, fat, and protein contain a fixed number of calories. For example, carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.
So if a food has 10 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 6 grams of carbohydrates, it should provide a total of 134 calories to the person who eats it. But is that really true?
Over the past few years, scientists have learned that not all calories are created equal, and we need to update the traditional way of measuring calories. According to a speaker at this year’s annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists entitled “Verifying the Energy Value of Food,” the current system only provides an estimate of the energy content of food and therefore does not give the full picture when it comes to the calories your body is getting extracted from the food.
This is because the Atwater System fails to take into account that not all of the energy in food is fully digested or absorbed, and we now know that absorption varies depending on the type of food and the person consuming it.
There is no easy way to predict what you will end up ingesting of the macronutrients in a given food, since the net amount of calories ingested by the digestive system depends on the interaction of many factors such as metabolism and the presence of other foods in the intestine.
All of this means that if you are working really hard to get leaner, then you need a smarter diet strategy.
We have done our research and discovered some science-based hacks that will help you choose the right types of foods that are less calorie consuming and that will reach your goal much faster and with less discomfort. Read the rest of this article and use our tips to improve your fat loss strategy more efficiently!
BUILD THE PROTEIN
Speeding up your metabolism is one of the most important steps in losing weight as it allows you to burn more calories. Here are two protein facts worth repeating: foods high in protein help boost your metabolism, and your body burns far more calories digesting protein than digesting fat or carbohydrates. This is known as the thermal effect of food – the energy needed to chew, digest, absorb, transport and store the food you eat, and protein has the highest TEF of any macronutrient (between 20 and 35% compared to 5 to 15%) for carbohydrates and fats).
It is still unclear how protein changes the way the body stores calories, but many studies have found that protein has a huge impact on body fat percentage. For example, a group of researchers at Tufts University discovered that people who ate more protein at the expense of carbohydrates find it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Because of this, replacing some carbohydrates with lean, protein-rich foods can speed up your metabolism and speed up fat loss.
TIP: Cut down on carbohydrates and increase protein intake to harness the calorie-burning power of protein. Protein is also very filling, so you need less food to stay full longer. Not to mention, you can use it to build muscle too!
USE THE POWER OF THE NUTS
Nuts contain nutrients that can promote weight loss by helping you feel full longer, as well as essential nutrients for the optimal functioning of the brain, heart, and intestines, making them a valuable part of a balanced diet.
A study published in Nutrition Reviews in 2001 showed that there is a strong association between high fiber intake and a lower risk of being overweight or obese. The researchers suggest that adding just 14 extra grams of fiber per day will result in significant weight loss in a few months.
Nuts are high in fiber, with almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts being the highest amounts per serving. They’re also high in protein, another highly filling nutrient.
Studies have also shown that the Atwater system is very unreliable in determining the energy value of raw nuts. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that one serving of almonds provided the body with 130 calories, far less than the 167 calories determined by the Atwater System.
Other researchers have discovered the same thing about pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts. Perhaps more importantly, according to new studies, nuts are less likely to overeat later in the day.
While it is true that nuts also contain high amounts of fat, the truth is that these calories are not completely absorbed in the digestive tract. Nuts are quite resistant to digestion as their strong cell membranes prevent some of the macronutrients they contain from being thoroughly metabolized in the body. According to a 2008 article published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2008, at least one fifth of the fat in nuts is never absorbed by the body.
TIP: Most of the evidence related to fat loss from raw nuts also applies to legumes and seeds in their least processed forms. Replace your peanut butter with raw peanuts and instead of reaching for almond butter, try unsalted almonds. Your body will take in much fewer calories from most foods in their raw state, and if they have enough fiber (as usual) they will help you feel fuller, too.
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