Do we HAVE to AVOID Calories to Stay Healthy?

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

What is a calorie?

A calorie in real term is the energy that is needed to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Knowing this, fats are considered to be 9 calories per gram, Alcohol 7 calories per gram, proteins and carbohydrates 4 calories per gram.

How many calories should we consume?

The daily recommended calories required can vary from 2000-2400 for women and 2200-2500 for men. It all really depends on the height and weight of the individual, but this is what we are lead to believe is the norm. The problem with the way we see calories in society today is that most of us believe that the more calories you eat the bigger you get, when this is not the case and it is so far from the truth.

Calories are NOT the enemy!

Where it all gets confusing is that not all calories are the same i.e. refined calories are different from natural food calories. Refined carbohydrates are generally turned into sugars when broken down by the digestive system. As these sugars enter the blood stream the body produces a hormone called insulin to store these sugars away. These sugars are then stored into the muscle, liver and fat cells. If our bodies could not produce insulin these sugars if left unchecked would cause a lot of damage throughout our arterial system. The perpetual eating of refined carbohydrates causes us to store fat away and limit the amount we release. Many scientists called insulin our fat storing hormone.

Natural carbohydrates that are high in starch like potatoes and yams will also spike blood sugar levels just like refined carbohydrates do, but there is a big difference between the two types of carbs as refined carbs provided us with energy, natural carbohydrates supply us with fibers, sugars and nutrients in the form of vitamins. Also eating low GI natural carbohydrates such as asparagus, green beans, cauliflower etc. will cause us to produce less insulin and intern store less fat away.

What about the rest?

It is so different if we consider proteins and fats which are between 4-9 calories per gram. As these substances get broken down into amino acids and fatty acids respectfully they enter the body stream, but do not cause any major spike in our blood sugar levels. As they have no significant influence on insulin, as refined sugars do the body will not stockpile more fat like it would with processed sugars. Generally as insulin rests, the body produces another hormone called glucagon which immobilizes fats from our fat cells to provide the body with sugars when our brain feels we are lacking.

My whole point is that calories will not affect your weight in anyway. It all depends on what type of calories you are consuming. Say for instance you eat 5000 calories of the most pure naturally grown foods then they may not have an impact on weight gain, but they could encourage weight loss if they do not spike our blood sugar levels. On the other hand you could eat 1500 calories of refined carbohydrates and it would cause you to store body fat very quickly. This is why many people lose weight on meat and veg diets, but put on weight eating refined carbohydrates food plans.

The WM Lifestyle programme and meal plans will be launching in the New Year, so if you are interested in discussing your calorie intake further, sign up to our mailing list and stay up to date with the latest news!