Saturday, November 28, 2009

All Calories are Not Created Equal


Calorie counting. Just reading those two words probably made your face wrinkle up a bit with discontent. Who the heck has time in their day to calculate how many calories are in each meal they consume, let alone their total caloric intake for a day, week, month, etc.? Besides, calories aren't the real problem anyway, right? Um...not exactly.

Nutritional value aside, the common belief is that a calorie is a calorie, and that eating 30 calories worth of broccoli, for example, is no different than eating 30 calories worth of potato chips. Again, there exists an obvious difference in overall nutrition between the two items, but in terms of caloric content, they are ostensibly the same. Not true, say researchers from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Researchers posit that all calories are not always created equal, and that some types of calories are more likely than others to be converted to fat. Pointing to the second of the two general laws of thermodynamics, its suggested that some people's metabolism will respond differently to a certain amount of calories of high-GI carbs than they will an equal amount of protein.

What causes this difference? Insulin, says nutrition and health expert Jack Challem in a recent article for dLife, a website and television show aimed at providing education and support for people living with diabetes. Sugary foods cause a marked jump in blood glucose levels, causing the body to respond by releasing more insulin. Citing the SUNY study, as well as a study published in a 2007 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, Challem points out that controlling insulin secretion is the key to losing weight.

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