Studies Show It’s InSANE To Claim “A Calorie Is A Calorie”
A few posts ago we covered the four factors that prove a calorie isn’t a calorie when it comes to how much they help us burn fat and boost our health:Satiety, Aggression, Nutrition, and Efficiency. Satiety is how quickly calories fill us up. Aggression is how likely calories are to be stored as body fat. Nutrition is how many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, etc., calories provide. Efficiency is how easily calories are converted into body fat. Whether a calorie is high-quality or low-quality depends on where it fits on the SANEity spectrum.
High-quality calories are on the healthy end of the SANEity spectrum. They are Satisfying, unAggressive, Nutritious, and inEfficient. They fill us up quickly and keep us full for a long time. They provide a lot of nutrients, and few of them can be converted into body fat. Even better, they trigger the release of body-fat-burning hormones, clear clogs, and lower our set-point. In short, they are SANE.
Low-quality calories are just the opposite. They are on the unhealthy end of the SANEity spectrum. They are unSatisfying, Aggressive, non-Nutritious, and Efficient. They trigger the release of body-fat-storing hormones, cause clogs, and raise our set-point. In short, they are inSANE.
Why does this matter?
In all of the studies that follow, everyone ate the exact same quantityof calories, but one group’s calories were of much higher quality (were much more SANE) than the other groups’:
- University of Florida researcher J.W. Krieger analyzed eighty-seven studies and found that those people who ate SANEcalories lost an average of twelve more pounds of body fat compared to those who ate an equal quantity of inSANEcalories.
- C.M. Young at Cornell University split people into three groups, each eating 1,800 calories per day, but at different levels of SANEity. The most SANE group lost 86.5% more body fat than the least SANEgroup.
- In the Annals of Internal Medicine, F.L. Benoît compared a reduced-calorie inSANE diet to a reduced-calorieSANE diet. After ten days the SANE diet burned twice as much body fat.
- Additional studies by researchers U. Rabast (1978,1981), P. Greene (2003), N.H. Baba (1999), A. Golay (1996), M.E. Lean (1997), C.M. Young (1971), and D.K. Layman (2003) all show that people who ate SANEcalorieslost an average of 22% more weight than those who ate the exact same quantity of inSANEcalories.
In next week’s posts, we’ll begin looking at each of the four factors of SANE eating, starting with Satiety. By the way, if the word seems oddly familiar, it comes from the same root as satisfying.
- Baba NH, Sawaya S, Torbay N, Habbal Z, Azar S, Hashim SA: High protein vs high carbohydrate hypoenergetic diet for the treatment of obese hyperinsulinemic subjects. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1999, 23:1202-6.
- Benoit FL, Martin RL, Watten RH. Changes in body composition during weight reduction in obesity. Balance studies comparing effects of fasting and a ketogenic diet. Ann Intern Med. 1965 Oct;63(4):604-12. PubMed PMID: 5838326.
- Fine EJ, Feinman RD. Thermodynamics of weight loss diets. Nutr Metab (Lond).2004 Dec 8;1(1):15. PubMed PMID: 15588283; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC543577.
- Golay A, Allaz AF, Morel Y, de Tonnac N, Tankova S, Reaven G: Similar weight loss with low- or high-carbohydrate diets. Am J Clin Nutr 1996, 63:174-8.
- Golay A, Eigenheer C, Morel Y, Kujawski P, Lehmann T, de Tonnac N: Weight-loss with low or high carbohydrate diet? Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1996, 20:1067-72.
- Greene P, Willett W, Devecis J, Skaf A: Pilot 12-Week Feeding Weight-Loss Comparison: Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate (Ketogenic) Diets. Obesity Research 2003, 11:A23.
- Krieger JW, Sitren HS, Daniels MJ, Langkamp-Henken B. Effects of variation in protein and carbohydrate intake on body mass and composition during energy restriction: a meta-regression 1. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):260-74. PubMed PMID: 16469983.
- Layman DK, Boileau RA, Erickson DJ, Painter JE, Shiue H, Sather C, Christou DD: A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr 2003, 133:411-7.
- Lean ME, Han TS, Prvan T, Richmond PR, Avenell A: Weight loss with high and low carbohydrate 1200 kcal diets in free living women. Eur J Clin Nutr 1997, 51:243-8.
- ML Piatti PM, Magni F, Fermo I, Baruffaldi L, Nasser R, Santambrogia G, Librenti MC, Galli-Kienle M, Pontiroli AE, Pozza G: Hypocaloric High-Protein Diet Improves Glucose Oxidation and Spares Lean Body Mass: Comparison to High-Carbohydrate Diet. Metabolism 1994, 43:1481-87.
- Rabast U, Hahn A, Reiners C, Ehl M: Thyroid hormone changes in obese subjects during fasting and a very-low-calorie diet. Int J Obes 1981, 5:305-11.
- Rabast U, Kasper H, Schonborn J: Comparative studies in obese subjects fed carbohydrate-restricted and high carbohydrate 1,000-calorie formula diets. Nutr Metab 1978, 22:269-77.
- Young CM, Scanlan SS, Im HS, Lutwak L. Effect of body composition and other parameters in obese young men of carbohydrate level of reduction diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1971 Mar;24(3):290-6. PubMed PMID: 5548734.
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