Thursday, June 16, 2011

Myth # 2 - Calories are all that count

I used to be a big believer that all that matters for weight loss is calories in and calories out.  I think this misses the point of why we are trying to lose weight.  We want to lose weight to become healthier! The quality of your calories does matter. My grandma had it right when she told me "You are what you eat".  Macro-nutrients are so important! I aim to keep my macro-nutrient levels at 30% carbs, 30% protein and 40% fat.  For a 1600 calorie diet, this is 120 g carbs, 71 g fat and 120 g protein.  I am working on trying to eat more natural, unprocessed foods.  Admittedly, this is a bit of a struggle because convenient food is so darn convenient! We have seen a huge influx of highly processed "diet foods" for the past 20 years. Have we seen people getting smaller & fitter?  No! We have seen the people get heavier.  Natural vegetables, fruits and grains that are high in complex carbs and fiber, are absorbed slowly and satisfy our hunger.  If we eat food that is heavily processed with refined sugars, salt and fat, we don't feel full as longer. In turn we may end up eating more because the satiety is lower.

I am not a fan of the low fat craze either. Fat increases the satiety of food and is good for you! I am certainly not advocating a diet of deep fried foods, but I am also not afraid of using full fat blue cheese dressing on my salad.  Your calories have to come from somewhere and with the big push to cut fat from diets as led to a carb explosion!  Plus when they make a food "low fat" they are almost always adding sugar too it to make up for the flavor lost from fat.

Low sugar and carbs, not low fat!  

When we eat, our body converts digestible carbs into blood sugar (glucose).  Our blood sugar level can affect how hungry we feel and how much energy we have. Glucose levels determine if we burn fat or store it.  Our pancreas creates a hormone (insulin) that transports glucose into our body's cells where it is used for energy. If we eat a lot of foods that are quickly processed into blood sugar, our pancreas goes into overtime to produce the insulin needed for the glucose to be used as energy.  This insulin surge tells our body that plenty of energy is available and we should stop burning fat and start storing it.  It gets worse though. After such a big insulin surge the glucose is transported out of our blood and our blood sugar levels will drop below normal levels.  This will leave us feeling lethargic and hungry.  This also will make most people crave high sugar foods, so our blood sugar rises again.  Regulating your blood sugar levels is one of the most effective ways to maintain your fat-burning capacity.  Many people put so much focus on preventing low blood sugar, but should focus on not ever spiking it so high.  We want to try to avoid the peaks and that will in turn prevent the valleys.

So if you are trying to lose weight, eat a piece of cake and keep your calorie level within the correct range - Is it all good?  Maybe or possibly you surged your body with insuln, triggered your body to store fat, not burn it and caused your blood sugar to drop too low making you tired and hungry.

Check out this clip from the Andry Griffith show!  Even Barney knows that carbs & glucose aren't good if you are watching your weight!  Thanks Jimmy for posting this on Facebook!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maltitol: Just Say No!

A couple of days ago my wonderful husband turned 41. I wanted to give him a nice surprise and bake him a cake he can enjoy on our low carb diet.  I found Pillsbury made a sugar free cake mix & frosting.  It says sweetened with Splenda on the front, so I thought this would be great.  

Devil's Food Cake Mix: 
120 calories
29 g carbs
1 g fiber
14 g sugar alcohol
=14 g net carbs

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
90 calories
16 g carbs
3 g fiber
9 g sugar alcohol
=4 g net carbs

1 serving of frosted cake is 23 g of Maltitol sugar alcohol.  Just 2 pieces of cake (46 g of Maltitol)  is enough to leave you doubled over in pain with severe GI discomfort.  The next day I had to leave work early & my boss told me I looked green.  I am never, ever eating even 1 g of Maltitol.  I do okay with other sugar alcohols, but not Maltitol!


Thursday, June 2, 2011