How Calories Become Fat
The basic physics of fat loss is "calories in - calories out = fat." The assumption here is that excess calories become fat. That assumption has yet to be overturned by evidence.
The equation raises some related questions:
Many whacko theories arise from not knowing the answers to these questions. The most commonly held of these theories is that you can overdose on calories via a huge meal, as long as you "work it off" within some reasonable time. Such theories are delusional excuses for overeating. The reality is you are bound by that equation.
Yet, the equation has a few twists. Let's take a look at what they are. In so doing, we will answer the questions posed above.
All calories are not created (or used) equal
Think of food as fuel and your body as a fire. Some fuel burns slowly, like firewood. Other types of fuel burn like woodshavings. And some burn like gasoline.
In the case of your body, we want to apply the analogy not to calorie consumption (burning) but to the transition of sugar from the food to the blood.
Some calories transition very quickly into the blood. How quickly this happens is known for many kinds of foods. You can see which foods spike your blood sugar by reading the glycemic index. Here are some highly glycemic foods:
Your body isn't designed for today's way of living, but for an earlier era. If you had been stalking prey and then engaged in a battle to kill it, your muscles would have depleted much of their glycogen (sugar) stores. So, the first calories that showed up in your bloodstream (this is important to distinguish from "the first calories you ate") would go directly into the muscles to replenish the glycogen.
When you take in calories, the body looks for a place to put them. Your body must maintain blood sugar levels within certain limits. Too little, and you have insufficient energy to function. Too much, and you get excessive oxidation activity--important structures like nerves get destroyed. This too much problem is why diabetics have so many health issues--and suffer from blindness, loss of feeling, and so on.
The main hormone for controlling blood sugar levels is insulin. As blood sugar rises, the body pumps out more insulin to lower the blood sugar. Insulin will cause sugar to be taken up into the muscles, first. If the muscles have no room for the sugar, then the presence of insulin causes the body to turn the sugar into fat and store this fat. How long this takes is a function of how much sugar is left after storage in the muscles and how much insulin is circulating. This can vary considerably between individuals and even with the same individual, but it tends to be on the order of minutes.
Eat a potato, and you'll have new fat before you get up from the table--it's too late to "work it off."
Keeping calories from turning to fat
You can prevent calories from turning into fat, if you follow the advice here. It isn't especially hard to do, but you must decide to do it.
Now let's see the answers to the questions raised by the equation:
Some people try to work around natural laws, by consuming foods that contain poisons like fat blockers and left-hand sugars. These are not the answer. These are not sustainable, and they do cause problems in the body. The answer is simply not letting food control you. There is no reason you can't control portion size. If you find eating reasonable amounts of food hard to do, then follow these tips:
If you are an emotional eater, you need this course:
Remember, excess fat greatly increases your risk of disease. For example, a man of average height is 400 times as likely to get prostate cancer if he carries an extra 40 lbs of fat than a man who does not carry extra fat. Excess fat is very costly in many ways. Control your calories, so they don't turn into excess fat, and you will save money while eliminating a major cause of suffering. Enjoy life by eating right!
Here's another calorie site: www.calorie-counter.net.
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The articles on this site are authoritative, because:
Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.
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