Okay, the holidays are over and many of us are showing a little regret in the form of a jelly roll around our middles. We know how to get rid of it, providing we are willing to make the effort. Calories in-calories out. Right? Eat less and exercise more? Of course.
In the end, some of us may give up on weight loss and decide to learn to love the jelly roll. Others carry on with the calorie count, knowing the older we get the slower our metabolism, so we have to struggle harder than when we were kids. Still, we tell ourselves all we need is a little will power.
Well, maybe there’s more to keeping or losing that jelly roll than will power. Research reveals not all calories are the same. (“Metabolize This,” by Julia Lurie, Mother Jones, January, 2016, pg. 64).
The way we metabolize foods is a quirk of the liver which processes some calories efficiently and others not. 90 calories of cottage cheese isn’t equal to 90 calories of a Twinkie. The difference is sugar. Sugar doesn’t trigger the hormone that tells we are full and so it allows us to eat more than if we dined on protein. Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, MacDonald’s and Yum Brands would like us to think that, if eaten in moderation and coupled with exercise, their meals will help us lose weight. Truth is, what they serve makes losing weight harder. “When the liver is forced to metabolize lots of fructose at once, much of it is converted to fat, leaving us hungry. (Ibid, pg. 64.) So, forget the Twinkie and go for the cottage cheese.
The same distinction can be made with fats. Saturated fats at 150 calories a day can hurt us. 150 a day of olive oil is good for the heart. Take note all repentant jelly rollers.