For years you’ve been force fed a particular narrative about why you’re overweight. You eat too much. You’re not exercising for long enough at the right intensity. You’re left with this recipe for weight loss. Its sugar coated in what’s been called the energy balance model. In this model, your physique is the product of calories in versus calories out. Get the balance right and you’ll be lean enough to pop abs every time you turn. Eat less food. Burn more than you use? Well, you guessed it, you lose body fat. It’s a nice simple idea. It’s also not true. Yes, your trainer may have been wrong. Don’t worry. We’ve only just figured that out.
Gluttony just got a reprieve
You’re not lazy. You’re just energy efficient. You probably don’t like to move. Moving demands a lot of effort. However, the more you do. The easier it gets. The less you do. The less you want to do. New research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition supports this notion, except with a focus on nutrition. They found it isn’t that you’re eating too many calories that makes you obese. Instead, it’s the glycemic load of those calories that makes you overweight. They make you want to eat more, and the researchers blame rapidly digesting carbohydrates. These foods create something called the carbohydrate-insulin model. Since your body digests them so quickly, the process creates hormonal changes that change your metabolism, promote fat storage, and make you overweight. This pokes a massive hole in the If-It-Fits-Your-Macros (IIFYM) approach to weight loss and could be a new paradigm shift.
What goes on under the hood
Take home message? Foods aren’t the sum of their calories. They are messages to your body many of which turn things on and off in all sorts of creative ways that you may not have evolved to receive properly. The researchers note that the carbohydrate-insulin model isn’t anything new. We knew about it almost a hundred years ago. However, diets fads are powerful things, especially if they’re getting results. So, what does this mean for you? Well, stop counting your calories and eating less food. Instead, you can eat more food. However, you will need to focus on food quality. Cut out fast digesting foods, not because they’re high in empty calories, but because they make all sorts of fat storage demands inside your body. They act like a toddler in front of the control panel of a SpaceX Starship. Buttons will be hit with no regard for the outcomes.
You can still use fast digesting foods like whey protein before and after training. That’s when you want speed. However, you can make simple switches to regular favorites like pancakes to make them slower digesting. Try making a high protein pancake that is made from whole grain oat flower, medium chain triglycerides and added protein that slow down your digestive process. You can still have your favorite foods but find ways to tweak them so they’re slower digesting. These foods put a skilled engineer as your captain and make sure you’re always in control of your body fat levels.