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Published on October 14th, 2012 | by Key Reads

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All Calories Are Not Created Equal

american medical association

We all know that cutting fatty, calorie-rich foods out of your diet helps you lose weight, but did you know all calories are not created equal? A new study published in the American Medical Association has found when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, not all calories are created equal.

If you have tried to diet in the past or know someone who has tried to diet, you know that it isn’t necessarily losing weight that is the hard part. Keeping the weight off once you have lost it is often much harder than losing the weight in the first place, especially if you have a non-restricted diet. The study found that, from a metabolic perspective, not all calories are created equal when it comes to keeping weight off after weight loss.

The study had 21 participants who had all lost 30 pounds. The participants were all put on three different diets for a month each. The first was a low-carb diet containing 60 percent calories from fat and 10 percent calories from carbohydrates. The second diet included foods low on the glycemic index, with participants receiving about 40 percent of their calories from carbs and 40 percent from fat. The last diet was a low fat diet, where participants received 20 percent of their calories from fat and 60 percent from carbs. The researchers strictly monitored the participants food intake to make sure they were following the diets exactly. The results they found were rather surprising.

The low-carb diet caused the participant’s metabolisms to go into overdrive and burn up to 300 calories more a day while doing everyday activities. Unfortunately, the diet also caused a spike in cholesterol and c-cortisol levels, which would increase the participants risk for strokes and heart disease over time. The low-carb diet also increased other the stress hormones in the participants bodies. The low-fat diet also came with draw backs. The low fat diet caused the participants metabolisms to slow down, essentially make them burn fewer calories. Eventually this would lead to weight gain.

The clear winner as far as diets are concerned was the low glycemic index diet. The low glycemic index foods didn’t cause quite as big of spike in the participants metabolisms as that of the low-carb diet, but it did produce a noticeable change in metabolism without the health risks of the low carb diet. The scientists in charge of the study believe this is because all calories are not created equal when it comes to our metabolisms and our health. Low glycemic index foods, which are usually non0processed, take longer for our bodies to digest. This means our bodies don’t get a sudden surge of blood sugar when we eat them, but a slow rise. This lessens the stress our body goes  through in its metabolic processes.

Though more studies must be done for full understanding of how different calories effect the body, this study clearly implies that not all calories are created equal. To have the healthiest diet and keep weight off, a diet high in non-processed meats and vegetables is best.

 

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