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High Sugar Diet Halts Weight Loss Efforts

October 19, 2010

(Article first published as Study Shows Source of Calories Important to Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)

Is it true that a calorie is just a calorie, regardless of whether it comes from a fat, protein or carbohydrate source? A basic physics class will demonstrate that in a laboratory setting, all calories require the same amount of energy to burn regardless of type.

Our body uses a highly evolved energy management system that takes cues from the total number of calories consumed, as well as the calorie source to adjust our metabolic rate and determine fat storage patterns. A successful weight loss plan must include the right balance of nutrients to ensure weight loss success.
All Calories Are Not Created Equal
Our body regulates our genes based on the food we eat. Long standing research has shown that the quantity of foods we consume influences special genes that regulate longevity and the onset of disease. In the same fashion, the type of food we eat affects our metabolism and the effectiveness of insulin to control blood sugar. A diet high in refined carbohydrates that quickly convert to glucose results in insulin resistance and a host of metabolically mediated diseases.
Excess Carb Calories Stored as Fat

In his book Living Low Carb, nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden explains the results of a Swedish study where volunteers were given 20 extra calories from candy or peanuts each day for each half pound of body weight. That amounts to an extra 18,200 calories for a 150 pound individual over the course of 2 weeks or slightly over 5 pounds of additional weight from a simple calorie conversion. The group eating high protein peanuts gained a slight amount of weight, but the candy eating subjects packed on 3 times as much weight from the extra sugar calories.

Simple Carbs Raise Blood Sugar, Fuel Fat Storage
Calories from processed carbohydrate foods including candy, bread, pasta and baked goods cause blood sugar levels to surge after every meal. Eventually this leads to insulin resistance as glucose is not efficiently used for energy and remains in the blood. The body responds by converting the sugar into triglycerides or blood fats which are then easily stored in your fat cells.
Eating Protein Increases Base Metabolism

Protein has a much different effect on metabolism than simple carbohydrates. Proteins such as lean meats, nuts, seeds and whey do not stimulate blood sugar and help to maintain ideal insulin levels. Protein calories are converted to energy as long as total calories from all sources are not extreme. The body is much less likely store calories as fat since triglycerides are not formed in excess and insulin remains effective in managing blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that protein consumption increases metabolic rate at rest which burns more calories throughout the day.

Successful weight loss remains out of reach for the vast number of people who begin the journey. Many more people would be able to achieve their goal by eliminating refined carbohydrates and substituting healthy protein choices in addition to calorie restriction. By working to control blood sugar levels, you’ll improve your health and ensure your weight loss success.
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