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Don’t Count Calories to Lose Weight

Don’t count calories or you might avoid fat, the best energy food. Fat doesn’t raise your insulin as sugars and refined carbohydrates do. Robert Lustig M.D. says that the obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease that cost the US 147 Billion dollars a year can be blamed on sugars and refined carbohydrates. These raise your insulin, making you hungry for more carbs. He explains this in his latest book “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease”. Dr. Lustig says that whole fruit has fiber to slow down the uptake of natural fructose. Juices and soft drinks with high-fructose corn syrup have easily absorbed sugars that your liver makes into tri-glycerides (fats). Sugars act on the same pleasure center of your brain as cocaine does. Sugars mess up your body’s reaction to leptin hormones as well as to insulin. Your body doesn’t get the signal that you’re satisfied so you continue wanting more carbohydrates. These easily become body fat.
In my book I say to avoid sweet liquids and have few desserts. My favorite is cheese cake because it has protein and fat to balance the carbohydrates. This more nearly corresponds to Dr. Barry Sears’ diets with 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrate. A snack of nuts is preferable to a cookie. The fat can give you energy for your muscles and the protein can be changed to glucose for your brain, the only organ that requires glucose.
Calories in versus calories used could be measured using a sugar solution and a device to capture carbon dioxide while on a treadmill or exercise bike. These measurements show short term metabolism but neglect the other reactions also occurring in your body. Your body is not a machine. The uptake of dietary fat is not easily measured so it has been ignored as an energy food.
Jonathon Bailor in his new book “The Calorie Myth–How to Eat More, Exercise Less, Lose Weight and Live Better” explains how counting calories doesn’t work. The right type of food and the right exercise are what get results.

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Does Avoiding Fat Lead to Consuming Sugars?

In the 1970s Nathan Pritikin condemned all fats, even those in avocados and olives, as leading to heart disease. Manufacturers started making low-fat foods. To make them tasty they added more sugars. About that time high-fructose corn syrup was sold to food and beverage companies as a cheaper, sweeter alternative to table sugar. In 1970 the average American was using 100 pounds of sugar a year. By 2005 it was 150 pounds of sweeteners, especially high-fructose corn syrup. Obesity started and now a third of both adults and children are too fat.

Dr. Robert Lustig, professor at UCSan Francisco, in the Journal Nature says that sugar should be regulated as a toxin. Besides obesity it causes diabetes and the risk of heart disease and a fatty liver. Dr. Lustig says that 75% of health care costs are related to these faulty American diets.

American consumers think that eating fat makes you fat so they even buy low-fat milk for their growing children. Even most doctors have forgotten that fat globules are absorbed from the intestine by special lymphatic vessels that bypass the liver and go to the heart. Heart muscle prefers to burn this concentrated source of energy. Fat is used by other active muscles in both adults and children. Young mammals need fat to grow. When children don’t get whole milk their bodies crave more calories. They would rather drink sweet chocolate milk than plain low-fat milk. It’s an easy step to sweet soft drinks.

Even so-called energy drinks can cause obesity without vigorous exercise. When will a fitness expert finally realize that fat is an energy food? Stores of body fat of 10-15% can keep a runner going all day. He won’t have to rely on drinking more sugars every hour to keep up his energy. Eating fat a few hours before a race and then maintaining body fat afterward would make more sense than carbo-loading. It will also set a good example for young athletes and other children who use energy drinks. Eating fat will prevent the craving for sweets.

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Your Body is not a Machine

The average person has several misconceptions about how the body works.

They think that eating fat makes you fat, that you need carbohydrates for energy and that eating proteins always builds muscle.

The energy content of foods being digested and used within body cells is not necessarily the same as the values when a food is burned in a scientific calorimeter.

Too many people have gotten obese because they quit eating fat since it has over twice as many calories as a carbohydrate or protein. Better to believe the authors who say “Calories Don’t Count”. “Calories In minus Calories Used to produce energy equals Weight Loss or Gain” might be useful in calculating the calories used by a machine but it is too simplistic to apply to the thousands of chemical reactions in each cell in each organ. The Atkin’s Diet wouldn’t work if calorie content versus energy used was the only consideration.

Fat is more than a storage tissue in the human body, though It can be made from any food in excess.

Fat is the most efficient source of energy for moving muscles, especially the heart which is beating continuously. Burning carbohydrates for energy takes almost 20 reactions to get to the same active molecule in the mitochondria that can be made by removing two-carbon fragments from the fatty acids of a fat molecule. Marathon runners who rely on glycogen or glucose to keep going often get cramps from the accumulation of lactic acid, a by-product of partial burning of blood sugar. The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico who can run for days use body fat for energy. All birds that fly long distances burn fat for energy.

There’s a difference between the ease of digestion of a food and how it’s later used inside body cells. Fat is slow to digest. In fact it sends a signal to the brain to slow down the emptying time of the stomach. So after a fat meal you aren’t hungry for hours. Once in the small intestine fat goes up tiny tubules, called lacteals that by-pass the liver and into a large vein directly to the heart. Meanwhile, the sugars or starches in the diet enter the blood vessels and signal the pancreas to make insulin to allow all cells to absorb blood sugar. In a sedentary person this sugar becomes fat. Most body fat is made from sweet liquids, even orange juice. Sugars are easily absorbed and are the usual source of abdominal fat. The liver often changes blood sugars into blood fats and cholesterol. The use of anti-cholesterol drugs roughly parallels the introduction and use of high-fructose corn syrup in more and more foods. At the same time manufactured foods have less fat. The rise of obesity and diabetes in the past thirty years can be correlated with the rise of sugar from the high 100 pounds per person in 1970 to the excessive 150 pounds of sugar and high fructose corn syrup per person today.

Fat from animals raised in factory farms has given fat a bad name. Cancer and other maladies blamed on animal fat are from insecticides and other toxins in the fat. The Amish and persons in other countries that grow their animals organically don’t suffer from these diseases of civilization.

The fat on the body of an obese person can’t be easily burned for energy. A person who doesn’t get enough dietary fat has many fewer enzymes in body cells that burn fat, but too many enzymes that turn carbohydrates into fats. Not eating fat can make you fatter. In fact animal experiments show that the livers of rats who got no fat in their diet had a 2000 fold increase in enzymes that make fat from sugars compared to rats on a balanced diet.

Don’t be afraid of eating fat as long as it’s organic but beware of high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats and other chemicals in manufactured foods.

Your body is not a machine. You are a mammal whose genes have developed over eons to use natural foods along with enough exercise.

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