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Why counting calories doesn’t count

Why counting calories doesn’t count

 Why counting calories doesn’t count 

Let’s look at how differently 300 calories in the form of a sweet pastry and 300 calories from a bowl of brown rice pilaf behave in your body.
 
Almost as soon as you swallow the first bite of the pastry, sugar is released into your bloodstream. This sudden infusion causes a sugar rush, a potentially dangerous spike in your blood sugar level. To counteract the high blood sugar level, your pancreas overcompensates and produces a surge of insulin. Insulin acts as a vehicle for sugar molecules—it binds them and transports them to your cells.
 
When your body senses a high insulin level, it tells the pancreas to suppress the production of glucagon, the hormone that allows body fat to be burned for energy. This is an adaptive mechanism: since high blood sugar is dangerous, the body works to restore balance by burning off the extra sugar in your blood first before dipping into your fat reserves for energy. In essence – a high blood sugar level prevents weight loss.
 
When your cells are happy with their sugar supply and there is still sugar floating around in the blood, that excess sugar is transformed into fatty acids and stored as additional body fat – adding weight.
 
Shortly after the initial surge of insulin your blood sugar level drops drastically to a level below the comfortable middle ground. You feel tired, lightheaded, moody, unable to focus, and unmotivated—and ready for another sugary snack.  You indulge the craving and continue the cycle that inhibits weight loss and fosters weight gain.
 
To recap: 300 calories from a sugary pastry will inhibit weight loss, add weight, set you up to crave more sweets and cause fluctuations in your energy, mood and mental capacity. 
 
Now let’s look at how 300 calories behave in your body when they come from a vegetable, an intact whole grain or a legume—all sources of complex carbohydrates and lots of fiber.
 
The fiber in these foods is wrapped around the complex carbohydrates. During digestion, the complex carbohydrates must be untangled from their fiber wrapping and then broken down into usable simple carbohydrates or sugars. This takes some time.
 
So when you dig into a bowl of brown rice pilaf, your bloodstream is gradually supplied with the simple sugars released from the complex carbohydrates in the meal and your body is fueled with a steady stream of small amounts of sugar. This gradual infusion does not lead to a blood sugar spike—it keeps your body happily humming along with just the right amount of sugar needed to function optimally.
 
In essence: 300 calories from a vegetable, an intact whole grain or a legume will provide you with sustained energy for many hours, stabilize your moods, enhance your ability to focus, curb hunger, eliminate cravings for sweets and allow body fat to be burned for energy. And … extra bonus: … These nutritious calories will not lead to weight gain.
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