In fact, most dieters and one time or another have tried the extreme of this idea,  affectionately known as  “starving yourself”.  In theory, it will work well, but it is really tough to sustain on a long term basis,  mainly because it doesn’t feel good because a hungry brain is a brain in a panic !  Apart from screaming loudly via contractions in the stomach (hunger pains) it also activates metabolic pathways to store every morsel that you eat.  So a day or two of  “starving” causes you to actually put on more weight – the term for is yo-yo dieting.

Counting the calories

So eating nothing is not the answer to decreasing energy in but you definetly need to eat less calories.   On paper,  fat has the most amount of calories, followed by carbohydrates and then proteins.  

 Comparison of calories in carbohydrates and fats

Carbohydrates come up short on the count

I say on paper, because it is a little more complicated than that, because how your body reacts to the calorie, ends up being significant.  Most people believe fat makes you fat, but if you look carefully at the science and consider the physiology, this is not the full story.   Physiologically speaking the body converts carbohydrates to fats, so although on paper carbohydrates have less calories, they punch above their weight and play a big role in adding “fat” to your midline.Insulin

The reason for their big contribution is because when you eat carbohydrates, your body responds by producing the hormone insulin.  The amount of insulin produced is in direct proportion to the amount of carbohydrate / glucose that is in your blood.   The big reason your body produces insulin is because glucose is actually very poisonous – it acts as a reducing agent.  This means that it likes to pinch electrons off other things.  Unfortunately, if glucose pinches an electron off a protein – this invariably damages the protein.  So it is very important that your body makes sure that the levels of glucose in the blood are not too high.   Insulin is the molecule responsible for sorting this out.

The first thing that insulin does is it makes sure that your muscles have all the glucose they need in order to function properly.

Once the muscles are fully supplied with fuel, if there is still extra glucose around, insulin makes sure it gets removed from the blood and stored for later.   The storage depot is the fat cell.  Fat cells don’t store glucose so a quick little metabolic conversion takes place and the glucose is converted to fat.

So if you eat extra carbohydrate it turns to fat. Some of you might be a little surprised because you’ve been told that fat is what makes you fat. But extra carbohydrates turn to fat – so when you’re counting those calories you need to watch the carbohydrates.  Of course, fats can also end up inside the fat cells if you eat too much of them.  

 Fats rule

Fats poCholestocytokinin hormonese challenges for your body as well.    Glucose is poisonous but fats don’t dissolve in water, since your blood is essentially water with bits and pieces dissolved in it, and the contents of your GUT are also largely water,  this requires some fancy processing and packaging.

 First step is to get them into the blood.  This is achieved through the help of a hormone known as cholestocytokinin, which tells the liver it needs to release bile to “dissolve” the fat.  Cholestocytokinin also tells the brain the good news,  that you’ve just eaten and that you are nice and full !   

This is significant – the fat in the meal makes you feel full quicker and if you feel full, it becomes much easier to put the fork down.  Putting the fork down will ultimately translate into you eating fewer calories overall which is what you need to do to lose weight.

So managing your weight from the energy in side of things is a little bit more complicated that just counting calories but it is a good place to start.  Based on the biochemistry – adopting a low carbohydrate approach is probably better for most people. 

But your body can run on either fuel system, the trouble comes when you are running it on both kinds at the same time i.e. high fat and high carbohydrate.   Eating pizza and ice cream and sloshing it down with coke is no more helpful than eating a piece of steak and a plate full of fried chips and coke.     Ultimately you must obey the fundamental rule to lose weight i.e.

energy in must be less than energy out


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