“I’ll just have a small serving of these potato chips – its only 150 calories.”
I really just have to bite my tongue when I hear a statement like this! Many people have been led to believe that if they just keep their calorie intake low enough, they’ll be able to lose weight. Although to a point that may be true, it’s definitely NOT the whole picture.
Different foods act very differently in your body.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just keeping a certain ratio of calories-in to calories-out. The way those calories are used by your body differs A LOT depending on their source. A hundred calories worth of chocolate cake is going to affect you much differently than a hundred calories of broccoli or avocado.
For starters, processed, sugary, high-carbohydrate foods give us mostly empty calories. They don’t nourish our bodies, they don’t help us lose weight, and they certainly don’t make us healthy. Most if not all of the vitamins and minerals they may once have contained have been destroyed in the processing. Ingredients are added that do us a lot more harm than good. Our bodies convert these carbs into glucose, which causes our blood sugar to rise. It’s burned off quickly though, and this can leave you feeling hungry, tired, or with cravings for more unhealthy foods. It becomes a vicious cycle. And as long as your body is burning sugar as its primary fuel, it will not burn fat – it will store it instead.
It’s not only processed foods that can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate like this though. Even some foods that are generally thought of as healthy can do this to us. For example, fruits and grains (yep, even whole grains) have this effect. While certainly a better choice than a cheeseburger or a brownie from a nutrition standpoint, the bottom line is they will still prevent your body from switching into fat burning mode.
Choose Quality AND Quantity
On the other hand, when you eat something that’s low in carbohydrates (and even better when it contains some healthy fat), it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike. You can eat a larger quantity of these foods because they’re lower in calories but high in nutrition. If you eat this way for any length of time, as you do when you’re following a keto diet, you’ll eventually burn off your body’s supply of glucose and will instead start burning stored fat as your primary fuel. Because fat is a much more efficient, longer lasting fuel for our bodies, you won’t experience the “crashes” you do with processed foods, or the cravings for junk food. You’ll feel full for a longer period of time. When you choose whole, unprocessed foods, you’re providing your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to be healthy.
By making healthy food choices, you’ll move your body into fat burning mode, where so many of the benefits of eating keto will kick in! And if there are times when cravings threaten to get the best of you, remind yourself that you are choosing this way of eating for your own benefit, and that you are worth it!