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Old 06-23-2018, 12:55 PM   #1  
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Default A calorie is not a calorie

I stumbled on something last week that annoyed me. I always thought calorie counts were close but apparently they are NOT.


https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt...-against-pudge


Basically the calorie count is an estimate at best of the FULL calories you would get if everything was perfect. But here are several factors that determine what you actually get. (1) first is how digestible is the food your eating. If it contains lots of hard to digest items such as fat and resistant starch, chances are you won't get the full calories; (2) how is the food cooked? Heating has been known for centuries to increase the energy you get from food. So cooked carrots will be more than raw; and (3) what is your gut bacteria like. If you have a bacteria that is good for eating the kind of food you are giving it, you will likely get a lot of calories. Not so much for food your bacteria doesn't do well with.


Further I found out there are tricks to reducing the calories you absorb from a food by the way you make it. It has long been known that chilling simple carbs such as pasta or white rice can turn the carbs into "resistant starch". This makes them harder to digest and and you get less calories.. I am including this study but I don't believe it cuts calories 50%. I have done a little looking into it though and most people who try it who are diabetic report that it does control their blood sugar -- suggesting that it does turn into resistant starch. Because simple starches cause a blood sugar spike.


https://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/n...ories-0161105/


So it seems to me that we should stop looking at calories all together and simply try to focus on eating as much as we can, raw, whole foods and if we want potatoes or rice or pasta... we prepare it so that it minimizes the calories. I also saw that chilling bread or stale bread can have a resistant starch effect.


One thing I find often is that when I got back to eating the foods I "like" (lets say the foods that I have bacteria for) I gain weight at supersonic speed. I always thought this had to do with suppressed metabolism. And perhaps it does. But also, what if my gut bacteria is of the type that does very well on super processed food. So I eat super processed hot food and (1) have a lot of calories consumed; (2) have the bacteria that does well on that food; (3) absorb the full potential of that food.


While when I am on a diet I eat (1) less calories; (2) food that doesn't work well with my bacteria; (3) food that is resistant to digestion and (4) more cold and raw food. Substantially reducing the number of calories I get from the food I am eating.


Another good write up Why Calorie Counts Are Wrong: Cooked Food Provides a Lot More Energy - The Crux


It even makes some sense. In the winter I gain weight because I am cold and constantly seeking warm foods. In the summer I do better on a diet because I am happy to eat foods like salad, pasta salad etc. In the winter I want "hot" everything.
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Old 06-24-2018, 09:55 AM   #2  
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Very interesting information, Ann. I have always preferred hot food over cold, summer or winter. If my food happens to cool down, I heat it up. I just like to eat my food cooked and hot. Ice cream would be an exception, here. LOL Also, other than salad, I prefer my vegetables cooked. I love vegetables, but cooked! The only time I will eat raw vegetables is if there's a good dip served with them, and it's the dip I'm after, not the veggies. These studies are taking about calories. I know that raw food is not absorbed as well in your digestive tract as in raw veggies with lots of fiber. Cooking breaks down the fiberous content of veggies, such as broccoli. But I have heard there are certain vegetables that SHOULD be eaten cooked because when eaten raw you don't get as many of the nutrients. The purpose of eating is to give your body the nutrients it needs, so you are best to eat the foods in the form that gives you the most nutrients. And the degree of cooking matters, too. Steamed broccoli is easier to eat than raw. You absorb more of the calories, but also more of the nutrients. Boiling broccoli in water until it is limp makes it even easier to digest, but then you have to drink the water too, because that's where the nutrients are.

There has to be a balance somewhere here. I want to get the most nutrients I can from my food but also want to weigh the least I can after eating it.

Also, I am a diabetic. I have tried the resistant starch thing, and cooked, cooled then reheated pastas still raise my blood sugar. Maybe not as much as freshly cooked, which is what I usually eat. It's hard to say, because a lot has to do with what you eat with it. Not many eat plain pasta. I noticed though, that most restaurants cook their pasta ahead of time and have it in plastic bags in the fridge until you order it. Then they heat it up and add whatever sauce the dish contains. Does that mean the pasta in restaurants is better for you? Fewer calories/carbs? I have also heard that if you eat protein with it, as in chicken alfredo, or spaghetti with meat balls, fewer calories/carbs are absorbed, or if you eat vegetables with it, the fiber in the vegetables cause more of it to be carried through your digestive tract undigested.

There are so many other factors involved in what we eat besides how many calories are listed on the box.

When I was growing up no one in my family was overweight. We ate all our meals at home, only at meal times, no second helpings except maybe on Thanksgiving, and ate nothing between meals. We only had dessert when it was someone's birthday and Mom baked a cake. It didn't matter what food we were eating, if it was hot or cold, cooked or raw. We didn't even KNOW we had gut bacteria. LOL When we kids grew up and went out on our own, we were able to choose for ourselves how often we ate. We ate socially when out with friends, we ordered pizza delivery, we ate snacks while watching TV and we gained weight. Now everything is being analyzed.

All in all, I think if you follow a certain calorie count, you are in the ball park.
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Old 06-24-2018, 10:19 AM   #3  
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Very interesting information, Ann. I have always preferred hot food over cold, summer or winter. If my food happens to cool down, I heat it up. I just like to eat my food cooked and hot. Ice cream would be an exception, here. LOL Also, other than salad, I prefer my vegetables cooked. I love vegetables, but cooked! The only time I will eat raw vegetables is if there's a good dip served with them, and it's the dip I'm after, not the veggies. These studies are taking about calories. I know that raw food is not absorbed as well in your digestive tract as in raw veggies with lots of fiber. Cooking breaks down the fiberous content of veggies, such as broccoli. But I have heard there are certain vegetables that SHOULD be eaten cooked because when eaten raw you don't get as many of the nutrients.

Exactly. I am mostly a hot food eater. I prefer everything cooked and cooked well. I dislike salad basically because it is cold. Ironically I don't love ice cream and I rarely eat it. I would not recommend a raw food diet but knowing this information gives me a new weapon. For instance I have 200 calories to spend on a diet. Right now, I would probably look for a fiber one bar or a cookie. But eating 200 calories of nuts is likely to (1) give me less than 200 calories and (2) require my body to work harder to digest the nuts. Up until now I never would have chosen nuts because of the high calories listed on the package but, it turns out.. most scientists say those calorie counts are wrong. Are Nut Calorie Counts Wrong? | Berkeley Wellness


So the key is not turning to a raw food diet but incorporating raw food into your diet.


I am not sure about turning the simple starch into resistant starch but I think if I could shave off as little as 50 calories per day it would be worth it. Also resistant starch itself is good for you And, as you mentioned.. something DOES happen since your blood sugar doesn't go up as much. I am really surprised this isn't more known as it would seem to be something we all should be doing to avoid diabeates.
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Old 06-24-2018, 02:00 PM   #4  
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People don't think about avoiding diabetes unless there is a family history. I have no family history and I never gave it a thought. I was surprised to get the diagnosis and knew nothing at all about how to handle it. Now I expected the heart disease diagnosis since it is heavy in my family, but I now know if I had continued with the good eating and exercise I had in my 20s I probably wouldn't have heart disaese OR diabetes today.
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Old 06-24-2018, 02:38 PM   #5  
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Originally Posted by Wannabehealthy View Post
People don't think about avoiding diabetes unless there is a family history. I have no family history and I never gave it a thought. I was surprised to get the diagnosis and knew nothing at all about how to handle it. Now I expected the heart disease diagnosis since it is heavy in my family, but I now know if I had continued with the good eating and exercise I had in my 20s I probably wouldn't have heart disaese OR diabetes today.

Well you can't know that as I weigh more than you, have eaten plenty of sugar and do not have it. Not sure about the age but I am over 40. I do worry about menopause being a wild card and changing things.


I will just give you my one tip on diabetes. Everyone says that I am insane so .. but in my gut I think I am right. I think a contributing factor in diabetes is calcium. Excess calcium in the blood stream. If you look into it... excess calcium in the diet has been linked to insulin resistance. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/811536 Also, everything which helps clear your blood stream of calcium - vitamin D, Magnesium, calcium channel blockers... also increase insulin sensitivity. My theory is that excessive calcium over time gets into your cells and partially blocks the insulin receptors - gum them up. Thus the insulin cannot make its connection to the cell as well as once and open the cell to take in sugar. Then both sugar and insulin get trapped outside the cell and you have insulin resistance.


That is all I will say on that.
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