Losing weight is no “simple thing.”

Many factors are intimately involved in weight loss from genetics, to your diet and exercise habits. The relationship between these three main factors (and many us simple humans still don’t understand), plays a role in your body weight. At Exercise Menu, I try my best to keep things as simple as possible, but at the same time, I want to provide you with tidbits of information that will help you achieve your goals.

A good friend of mine forwarded me an interesting article to support that the type of food that you eat matters when it comes to losing weight. Sure, if you eat nothing but sugar and fat you will gain weight. You may say; however, that 100 calories of one particular type of unhealthy food is equal to 100 calories of a good food.

Unfortunately, things may not be that simple. (They never are right!)

According to the New York Times article entitled “Which Diet Works,” the body treats a calorie that comes from a soda, for example, differently than it does a calories that comes from spinach. The calorie that comes from soda spikes your blood sugar level and insulin, which causes your body to hold onto fat instead of burning it off. In contrast, the healthy calorie from spinach does not cause as large of a rise in blood sugar and insulin and is not easily stored as fat.

If you keep up with the “diet and nutrition buzz,” this may sound familiar to you. If so, you may be thinking of probably the most important nutrition buzz word to date: glycemic index. Glycemic index is a term that describes how quickly a specific food elevates your blood sugar level. We now know that foods with the lower glycemic index (brown pasta, brown rice, whole wheat breads, many fruits and vegetables) are better for you than the higher glycemic index foods (processed carbs, sugary foods, white bread, white rice, sodas, juices, chips).

To further back the support for lower glycemic foods, a study was designed comparing a standard diet, a low-carbohydrate (Atkins diet) and a low glycemic index diet. In each group, participants ate the exact same number of calories.

The result: the Atkins diet participants burned 350 more calories than the standard diet and the low glycemic index group burned 150 more calories than the standard diet.

So should we all be on the Atkin’s diet?

NO!!!

Why? Because those on the Atkin’s diet also had higher levels of inflammation in the body, which is correlated with heart disease and death…

Hmmmm, let’s stay away from extreme diets and stick with a low glycemic index diet that burns 150 calories per day without any risks. Why wouldn’t you want to be on a diet that burns the same amount of calories per day as one hour of light exercise?

Learn more about low glycemic index diets.

Reference

JAMA: Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance