All men may be created equal, but all calories are not – at least not in terms of diet, metabolism and weight loss. In that regard, the widely-held “a calorie is a calorie” assumption is incorrect, and understanding the body’s response to basic types of inbound calories may be a major key to addressing the obesity pandemic.
A well-controlled (but admittedly small and too-brief) study suggests that so-called low-fat diets are likely to cause us to gain weight. Researchers started with subjects that had already lost 10-15 percent of body mass and put them on new diets providing the exact same number of calories, but from different proportions of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Low-fat diets had the worst performance in terms of triggering weight gain.
The results suggest that your next meal should be an unequal one, jettisoning a surfeit of highly-processed low-fat carbohydrates and starting instead with a mix of 20 percent protein and 40 percent fat. The remaining 40 percent should come largely via fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes along with some minimally processed grains.
A quote that should be attributed to Yogi Berra notes that “Obesity is really widespread.”* There is little doubt about the truth in this word play, and the lack of availability of healthy food that undergirds our situation. Policies and changes are needed, and soon. The effects, in terms of setting America’s table with foods that drive higher metabolism and reduced fat storage, could be enormous.
*The quote actually belongs to Joseph O. Kern II