Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in the food we consume. So you’re probably thinking “do I need to count calories to lose weight?”. If your goals are to lose weight (well to lose body fat) understanding how many calories you consume is important. However, it is far more important to have an understanding on the quality of those calories.
Different foods and their effect on hunger:
Foods such as those with higher levels of protein or fibre can help you feel full for longer, on the other hands that are high in sugar and carbohydrates can be processed quickly causing you to feel hungry again quickly thus causing you to overeat and storing those excess calories as fat.
Foods that are dense in nutrients such as some fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats can be high in the vitamins, minerals and fibre that we need as well as keeping your calorie intake in check and keeping us full for longer.
What role does insulin have in causing us to gain weight?
– Insulin as an essential hormone in the body that is responsible for facilitating the uptake of glucose from our bloodstream into our cells to be used as energy.
When insulin levels are chronically elevated from physical inactivity, it can end up causing our body to store glucose from our bloodstream in our fat cells.
Why does it do this?
Because our body thinks that we need to save the energy as we might not be eating again for a long time. However, in this day and age food is generally in abundance and we often don’t give enough time between meals to burn off the extra calories. One way of helping blood sugars stabilise is through the process of INTERMITTENT Fasting.
– High insulin levels can also cause us to feel hungry often unnecessarily, so we can end up consuming more than we need which can also get stored as fat.
– Chronically high levels of insulin can also cause a slowing of our metabolism
What can we do to reduce our insulin levels?
– Cut down on processed foods that are high in sugars and refined carbohydrates thus causing a spike in insulin
– Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day 4-5 times per week, with both cardiovascular and strength training. 😉
– Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance as well as causing us to be hungrier resulting in excess calorie consumption
– Manage stress. Excess stress levels can lead to an increase in insulin levels, so try some meditation, deep breathing, gentle stretching or my favourite listening to classical music! 🎵 Click HERE to read our blog on how to stop stress causing weight gain
So, when making positive food choices, choose foods that are lower in processed sugars that will cause a spike in blood sugar. By making smarter decisions around food it may prevent us from having those ebbs and flows in energy as well as limiting the storage of blood glucose into fat cells.
! N.B A 200 calorie piece of salmon will get used as energy whereas 200 calories of ice cream will mostly get stored as energy and make you wanting to eat more!
And remember it’s not always the quantity of calories we eat, it’s the quality of calories 😃
Heath Jones is the founder of Active & Ageless and has over 20 years’ experience in the Health & Wellness space.
He holds the following qualifications:
Bachelor of Nursing
Postgraduate in Exercise Science
Diploma of OHS
Cert 3 & 4 Fitness
Cert 4 Training & Assessment
Older Adults trainer