Weight Loss NHS

Reducing energy intake doesn't mean eating only low-calorie density foods!

I thought I’d write a post so that I’m not hijacking other people’s threads.

A number of people have commented what a chore counting calories is, and I have highlighted the solution of portion sizes, with the BHF having a workable system.

However, there my support deviates. Most people seem to think it is a logical extension to concentrate on low calorie foods to reduce calorie intake; I beg to differ.

There’s little doubt that vegetables are good for us. Vegetation provides most of the diet of the chimpanzee/benobo, our nearest living evolutionary relatives with whom we shared a common ancestor between six and seven million years ago. Nonetheless, our large intestines are smaller than theirs denoting that we have less capacity for obtaining the goodness from such foods; our diet has changed significantly over those millions of years.

What is being confused is the quantity of food with the quality. Let’s say it takes half a kilogramme of vegetables to fill an average stomach. Those vegetables provide 500 Kcal (must include some starchy ones). It takes about two hours for the body to digest the energy from them.

Now instead, imagine eating 500 kcal of double cream; a little over 100 ml. Predominantly fat, it will take about four hours for the body to digest most of the usable energy. Though these figures aren’t necessarily accurate, they serve to demonstrate a principle, that filling the stomach says little about how long the energy will last for. To stretch the point, you could add water to the cream to lower its calorie density and fill the stomach.

Add to this that the body’s needs are not just for energy, needing amino acids, vitamins and minerals for example.

So whilst counting calories serves a purpose, don’t fall into the trap of low calorie eating. The vast majority of people regain the weight and more by following a semi-starvation diet; the subconscious will rebel to safeguard the body, unless you develop an eating disorder to override it. Ancel Keys’ Minnesota study established this in the 1940s.

Balance is the key; the body actually uses twice as much energy in the form of fat compared to carbohydrate according to the Perfect Health Diet, and the closer we eat to that ratio, using real foods that are abundant in micro-nutrients too, the less stressed our bodies will be.

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That all makes sense to me ( she says, diving into a pot of full greek yoghurt !)


Interesting. More or less as an aside, don't we have a shorter intestine because we discovered fire and following from that, cooking. I read it somewhere but don't remember how many thousands of years ago its supposed to have happened. AS cooking makes (some) food easier to digest we apparently dispensed with the surplus.

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fenbadger, you are a person after my own mind, and I love you!

We'll probably need a mind-map to cover all the aspects, but to cover your theory; the expensive tissue hypothesis is that the gut shrank as the brain grew, and this would indeed necessitate more calorie dense food in the diet. Cooking could provide this increased energy. Notwithstanding that, when was the first evidence for cooking, and how does that compare on the timeline to brain growth? I'm not certain, but I would have thought that a bigger brain was responsible for our intelligence to produce fire to facilitate cooking.

What it doesn't answer is whether the increase in calories was from starch or fat?

Here I disclose my personal bias; I believe Ron Rosedale's explanation that an excess of glucose leaves us susceptible to cancer due to our evolutionary heritage from single celled organisms that relied on it as an energy source. The relevance of this is that I would expect fossil evidence to show signs of cancer at the time of introduction of more starch (glucose). Certainly, we have evidence from the Egyptian mummies that their heavily grain based diet left them vulnerable to cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Similarly, the dawn of agriculture showed diminished stature and health, although again it is not clear whether the human race adopted agriculture because they were starving, or the change in diet resulted in ill-health.


Interesting post Concerned ☺ I prefer a portion counted plan because it's simpler to follow and I'm not tempted to swap my banana for a kit kat!! I also agree about quality of food being important. But you know how I struggle to limit my carbohydrates 😕 it definitely helps me lose the weight if I reduce but I find it tough. No matter how much chicken, nuts and yogurt I eat my body still shouts for toast!! But I do limit myself to one slice with butter instead of two without, and not every day ☺

Thank you for posting ☺


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