Why Is Total Calorie Intake Not So Important In Obesity And Weight Loss?

A new study points to the claim that it is not the quantity of food that is the main cause of obesity, but its quality.

The traditional view of people and many scientists is that weight gain is caused by taking in more calories than they expend. Countering this theory, the carbohydrate-insulin model finds that diet quality is more important to weight loss than total calorie intake.

According to this model, the intake of processed carbohydrates and starchy foods leads to changes in insulin and other hormone levels. As a result of these changes, the deposition of fat increases, which in turn causes a feeling of hunger and intake of higher-calorie products. The result of this increased intake is obesity.

Therefore, a reduced intake of processed carbohydrates and starchy foods would help with excess weight.

According to the WHO, the percentage of people who are overweight and severely obese has risen dramatically over the past five decades. Easy access to highly processed foods as well as sedentary lifestyles are thought to have contributed to this increase.

The Energy Balance Model (EBM) states that consuming more calories than we expend leads to positive energy balance and weight gain. Therefore, for successful weight loss, it is necessary to decrease the caloric intake and increase the physical activity of the person.

For the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model (CIM), the foundation of a good diet is food quality, not quantity. According to a number of scientists, people can control the type of products they consume, but not their quantity.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides a detailed description of CIM. This model, unlike EBM, does not treat all types of calories in the same way, as they may have different food sources.

According to CIM proponents,  a positive energy balance is not always associated with excess weight. They claim that the consumption of certain foods leads to changes in various hormonal and metabolic processes, which in turn cause weight gain.

Therefore, reduced calorie intake is a successful method of weight loss only in the short term. This is due to the body adapting to the lower calorie intake, which lowers the metabolic rate and increases hunger.

With increased dietary energy intake, the blood sugar level rises, which leads to the storage of energy in the form of fat. Most often, the foods leading to this accumulation are quickly digestible carbohydrates.

The glycemic index ( GI) can be used to calculate how fast and how high a certain food can raise our blood sugar. However, basing a person’s diet solely on this index is not correct.

Glycemic load is a more accurate measurement unit that combines the qualitative and quantitative nature of foods in terms of the carbohydrates they contain.

Foods with a high glycemic load are potatoes, processed grains, and those high in free sugars. These types of sugars are those that do not occur naturally in whole fruits and vegetables.

Low-load foods are fresh whole fruits, minimally processed grains, legumes, nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.

The increase in glucose level, as a result of consumption of foods with a large load, leads to increased levels of insulin. Its function is to regulate the blood sugar level and help the resorption of glucose in the various organs.

Taking fast-digesting carbohydrates leads to decreased glucagon levels. This hormone is secreted by the pancreas. Its function is to raise blood sugar levels between meals by stimulating the release of glucose from the liver.

After eating foods with a high glycemic load, a greater amount of glucose is stored, in the form of glycogen, in the liver or adipose tissue. Despite the absorption of these foods, insulin levels are high and glucagon levels are low for the first few hours after their consumption.

This hormonal imbalance slows the breakdown of energy stores and reduces blood metabolites. As a result of these changes, the brain receives signals that the tissues are deprived of energy.

For this reason, a feeling of hunger and a desire to consume high-energy foods, such as those with a high GI, are stimulated.

In conclusion, a vicious circle is obtained in which the consumption of foods with a high glycemic load leads to an increased consumption of the same foods.



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