Weight, obesity: the number of calories does not count in weight gain, but their origin does

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the global prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased over the past five decades. There is broad agreement in the scientific community that environmental factors, particularly ease of access to highly processed foods and sedentary lifestyles, have contributed to rising obesity rates. However, opinions are divided on how these environmental factors contribute to weight gain.

Eating fat is less serious than eating sugar

A recently published study throws a stone in the pissed off of nutritionists by asserting that it is not the number of calories that makes you fat but their source. More specifically, it is the carbohydrates (sugars) that disrupt the body and cause weight gain and not the lipids (fats).

According to the prevailing energy balance (EB) model, consuming more calories than burned leads to positive energy balance and weight gain. Increased calorie intake due to easy access to highly appetizing and inexpensive processed foods and decreased energy expenditure due to reduced levels of physical activity have contributed to the global increase in obesity. In other words, the BE suggests that in order to successfully lose weight, you need to reduce total calorie intake. This involves consuming fewer calories and increasing the level of physical activity. Unlike the BE, the carbohydrate-insulin (GI) model posits that the quality of food consumed plays a critical role in managing body weight rather than total calorie intake.

Specifically, eating processed carbs and starchy foods that cause blood sugar to spike quickly leads to them being stored as fat. The increased fat accumulation triggers a feedback loop that leads to increased hunger and eventual consumption of high calorie foods.
The GI asserts that it is the increase in fat storage from the consumption of processed carbohydrates and not the increase in calorie intake that leads to weight gain and is primarily responsible for the high rates of obesity.

Psssssst :  Humans can detect changes in the Earth's magnetic field

A recent article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides a comprehensive description of the GI model, along with testable hypotheses that can help clarify the precise changes in nutrition needed to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. If the GI is right, then the conventional approach to weight loss, the calorie restricted diet, is likely to fail for most people in the long run. People have more control over what they eat than how much. A focus on reducing processed carbs, rather than calorie restriction, may be more effective in decreasing the biological drive to store excess fat.

The defects of the energy balance

According to the BE, a positive energy balance, where a person takes in more calories than they burn, is primarily responsible for weight gain. In other words, the BE considers all calories the same, regardless of their food source. Proponents of the GI acknowledge that a positive energy balance is associated with weight gain, but this does not establish a causal link. They claim that metabolic and hormonal changes that occur in response to eating specific foods are the root cause of weight gain, with excess calorie intake being the result. Although caloric intake tends to increase during puberty, some experts believe biological changes rather than positive energy balance are responsible for the growth spurt.

Therefore, while BE focuses on overall calorie consumption, it ignores the role of diet quality and subsequent metabolic processes and hormonal changes in mediating weight gain. Also, reducing calorie intake is usually only an effective short-term weight loss strategy. This is because the body adapts to the lower calorie intake, which leads to a lower metabolic rate and increased hunger.

The Carbohydrate-Insulin Model

According to the GI, food quality plays a bigger role in weight gain than overall calorie intake. In addition to highly processed carbohydrates, carbohydrate consumption has increased since the 1980s. This is likely due to the idea that eating fat leads to weight gain.

The glycemic index (GI) rates carbohydrates by how quickly they raise blood sugar after consumption. Glycemic load is another metric that provides more complete information about how much blood sugar rises by taking into account the GI and how much carbohydrate a serving of a given food provides. Consuming processed and starchy foods that contain quickly digestible carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise. High glycemic load foods include processed grains, potato products, and foods high in free sugars. Free sugars are all types of sugars that are not found naturally in whole fruits and vegetables.

Fats and proteins do not modify the glycemic index

In contrast, fats and proteins have a negligible impact on blood sugar, while fresh whole fruits, minimally processed grains, legumes, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables generally have a low to moderate glycemic load. The rapid rise in blood sugar after eating foods with a high glycemic load leads to the secretion of insulin, which regulates blood sugar and helps muscles, liver, and adipose or fatty tissue to absorb glucose.

Psssssst :  The best of natural anti-inflammatories: turmeric and omega-3s

At the same time, the consumption of rapidly digestible carbohydrates suppresses levels of the hormone glucagon. The pancreas secretes glucagon to counter the hypoglycemia that occurs between meals. Glucagon secretion raises blood sugar by stimulating the release of glucose stored in the liver as glycogen. Within three hours of ingesting foods with a high glycemic load, high insulin and low glucagon levels cause glucose to be stored as glycogen in the liver and as fat in the liver and liver. adipose or fatty tissue. Although the body absorbs the nutrients from high glycemic load foods within the first 3-4 hours, the high insulin and low glucagon levels persist.

This hormonal state slows the breakdown of energy stores in the liver and fatty tissue needed to fuel the body’s essential tissues. This results in low levels of glucose, fatty acids, and other metabolites in the blood, which resembles a fasting state. Declining metabolite levels in the blood signal to the brain that tissues are starved of energy. When the brain senses this state of fasting, it causes hormonal changes that lead to hunger and cravings for energy-dense foods, such as those with a high GI.

The more sugar you eat, the hungrier you are

Eating foods with a high glycemic load causes them to accumulate as fat. This leads to a positive feedback loop, which results in the consumption of more foods with a high glycemic load. The fasting state resulting from the consumption of foods with a high glycemic load can also lead to changes in the body that result in a decrease in energy expenditure.

Psssssst :  Berries: these small fruits with 6 extraordinary health benefits

As for the scientific basis of GI, there is strong evidence for some of these steps. For example, in animals, it has been conclusively shown that not all calories are created equal and obesity can develop without an increase in food intake. There is evidence, but not yet evidence, of this possibility in humans.

How to change your diet

Consistent with their model, the authors recommend that a person is more likely to lose weight over the long term by changing the quality of their diet rather than by reducing total calorie intake. Trying to count calories (adding those ate and subtracting those burned during physical activity) presents many challenges in terms of accuracy, and it can be easily “manipulated” from so that people think they are doing the right thing, when in reality they are not accurately assessing these two components […]leading to poor results.

The authors suggest that adhering to a diet of low-GI foods can lead to weight loss by reducing hunger and increasing energy levels. The authors note:

A practical strategy is to replace foods with a high glycemic load (refined cereals, potato products, concentrated sugars) with foods high in fat (eg, nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil), allowing a moderate intake of total carbohydrates from whole grain cereals, whole fruits, legumes and non-starchy vegetables.


The carbohydrate-insulin model: a physiological perspective on the obesity pandemic.


Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please disable your ad blocker to be able to view the page content. For an independent site with free content, it's literally a matter of life and death to have ads. Thank you for your understanding! Thanks