3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community  

Go Back   3 Fat Chicks on a Diet Weight Loss Community > Support Forum > Support Groups > 100 lb. Club

A Calorie is Not a Calorie

Thread Tools
Old 07-16-2004, 10:31 PM   #1
I climb mountains!
lessofsarahtolove's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Metro Atlanta
Posts: 2,188

S/C/G: 284/208/145

Lightbulb A Calorie is Not a Calorie

"Is a calorie just a calorie?" We were discussing this on another thread, and I answered no, but promised to do some research on it and return with supporting documentation; well, I did bring back something in the forms of a link to Dr. Hussman's site and a pasted copy of his explanation of thermogenics......but here's more -- and I think it's great! Unfortunately, I can't just cut and paste or simply provide a link, so I'm going to type what I've just read in the July issue of FitnessRx for Women (a fave of mine.) This is from page 126, and I'm quoting Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS, author of Look Great Naked. I hope you guys find it as interesting and informative as I did.

Q: "I've heard that "a calorie is just a calorie." Is this true?

A: "Not exactly. In a general sense, it's true that first law of thermodynamics dictates that energy is conserved whether you gain, lose or maintain your weight. Simply stated, if you consume more calories than you expend, you'll gain weight. It doesn't matter whether the calories come from protein, carbohydrate or fat: Eat too much and you're sure to pack on the pounds.

That said, some nutrients do have the potential to make you fatter than others. Saturated fat, for example, is easily converted into stored body fat. This has been demonstrated in numerous research studies: Given the same caloric intake, eating saturated fat results in a greater deposition of fat into adipocytes than either protein or carbs.

On the other hand, unsaturated fats, especially the omega-3 variety (abundant in cold water fish and flax oil) have thermogenic properties. They work their "magic" by up-regulating various fat-burning ezymes and down-regulating various fat storage enzymes, thereby accelerating the rate at which your body can burn fat.

Moreover, there is also a difference between dietary carbohydrates; specifically, refined and unrefined carbs. Due to their effect on insulin levels, refined carbs tend to be lipogenic (i.e., fat promoting.) You see, insulin is a storage hormone that turns on various fat storage mechanisms and blocks certain enzymes that are responsible for lipolysis (i.e., fat breakdown.) When insulin levels are high, excess nutirents are more readily shuttled into adipose cells, resulting in a corresponding increase in body fat.

Furthermore, the rush of insulin clears sugars from your circulatory system in such an expeditious fashion that it creates a rebound effect, producing a sudden and dramatic drop in blood sugar levels. A hypoglycemic state is induced, causing severe hunger pangs and food cravings. This creates a vicious cycle that encourages binge eating. As a result, more calories are consumed (especially in the form of sugar-laden foods) and fat storage is heightened even further.

Alternatively, unrefined, nutrient-dense carbs are processed slowly. They enter the bloodstream in a time-released fashion, keeping blood sugar levels in check. As a result, insulin is stabilized, reducing the potential for unwanted fat accumulation.

Finally, of all the macronutrients, protein is least likely to cause fat storage. One of the biggest reasons is that a large percentage of calories from protein are burned off in the digestion process -- a phenomenon called the thermic effect of food. Of all the macronutrients, protein has the highest thermic effect, burning off approximately 25 percent of the calories consumed. In comparison, less than 10 percent of the calories from carbs are burned off in digestion; dietary fat has virtually no thermic effect whatsoever.

What's more, protein tends to curb appetite. This is largely a hormonal function. When protein is consumed, a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) is secreted. CCK acts on the body's hunger mechanisms, quelling the urge to eat. Given the law of thermodynamics, these appetite-suppressing effects will, in and of themselves, help promote weight loss.

And protein also has an indirect effect on regulating metabolic rate during times of caloric restriction. When you diet, glucose (sugar) becomes in short supply. This has a negative impact on the brain and central nervous system, which rely on glucose as their main source of energy. Sensing a threat to its survival, the body's internal feedbacksystem begins to break down protein stores into glucose (through a process called gluconeogenesis.) Since skeletal muscle is not necessary for sustenance (as opposed to the internal organs and other protein-based tissues,) it's the first thing to be cannibalized for glucose. Why is this important? Well, muscle is metabolically active. For each pound of muscle, your body burns about 50 calories a day at rest. Accordingly, when muscle tissue is lost, metabolism slows by a similar amount.

So the bottom line is this: While it's important to watch the amount of calories you consume, it's also important to scrutinize the types of nutrients in your diet. By taking both these factors into account, you'll be well on your way to achieving your ideal body!
Check out my blog!

Last edited by lessofsarahtolove : 07-16-2004 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Fixed paragraphs -- spaces to indent don't show!
lessofsarahtolove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2004, 11:48 PM   #2
Senior Member
tolose85's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,060

S/C/G: 247/177.5/130

Height: 5'3"


Thanks a bunch!! I will definitely be changing some eating patterns!

Thanks again, and again, and again and again
On this rollercoaster ride for the last time!

tolose85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2004, 11:47 AM   #3
Live for the Moment!
Br00klyn's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,030


Thanks for this Sarah! Wonderful information...

Br00klyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice
and no guarantee is made against accuracy.

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
This is not a weight goal; but a necessary one for me MarStevens Mini-Goals 22 10-22-2008 09:50 AM
Reduced carb or a calorie is a calorie? hmtklein Calorie Counters 17 07-15-2008 10:26 PM
Thinking 1200 cals a day is not enough gabrielbeth Calorie Counters 16 08-17-2006 07:29 PM
Exercise is not a dirty word - January LindaT Sonoma Diet and the Mediterranean Diet 288 02-01-2006 11:20 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:23 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2