When we eat stuff, i.e. food, the chemical makeup of that stuff
must be broken down into smaller chunks to be absorbed, transported and
utilized by our bodies. This is not a passive process which means that we need
energy to digest, or in other words, we require energy to produce energy.
(Takes money to make money right?)
To assume that all calories are created
equal is just silly. Carbohydrates are the easiest macronurtient to digest and
therefore have the highest yield. Carbs, also known as sugar, is nature's form
of jet fuel for our bodies. The problem is, our society seems to pack more and
more and more sugar into everything, leading us to the point where we would
never come close to burning off as much of that energy as we take in, leading
to adipose tissue (body fat)...but that is a different blog topic altogether.
Anyways, carbs return about a 90-95% energy yield per calorie. What I mean by
that is, for example, every 100 calories of carbs you take in, it requires 5-10
calories of energy to digest.
Fats actually have a slightly higher
energy yield than carbohydrates, ranging in the ballpark of 95-96%, but this
should not be alarming as our diets require much less fat than carbs. What this
means is that in 100 calories of fat, it takes about 4-5 calories to digest.
Protein has the lowest energy yield, which can actually be very beneficial for
weight loss. Only about 70-80% of protein calories consumed are returned to the
body when digesting proteins which isn't all that surprising as the body
greatly prefers fats and carbs for energy whereas protein is mostly used for
Regardless, proteins are highly recommended throughout the day
for those looking to lose weight or are highly active. This is where a diet based on your lifestyle and activity level becomes most important. If you an extremely active person, you will want to take in more carbs so that you can sustain your energy levels.
On the other hand, if you are more sedentary, your primary fuel source for the day is going to mainly consist of fats, so carbs are not needed as much.
One of the biggest problems facing society today, is the overindulgence of carbs, with very little activity. The body stores extra "jet fuel" in the tank (body fat) for use later on...which never seems to happen.
Quote of the day:
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."