Calories Don’t Do What You Think.
Calories matter to weight loss, but only relatively speaking. Metabolism is where the real magic happens. A ‘fast’ metabolism is driven either by thyroid, or by stress. It’s easy to see both as the same…but they aren’t.
Just because a person is able to eat lots of food and remain slim, does not necessarily mean they are in good health. A system that runs on stress can consume a lot of energy, but not all energy sources are made equal, and not all methods of energy production (or utilization), have the same effect on metabolism, especially over the long term. Being underweight is as much of, if not more of a problem, than being overweight.
Obesity is not the result of the consumption of too many calories. That is an oversimplification of the way that metabolism works, and the belief that ‘excess consumption’ is what damages metabolism is more harmful than helpful. You can eat a lot and still be malnourished. In fact, the term ‘overeating’ is void of any real meaning.
Obesity is caused by more than just too much of even the worst foods. There are many things in the world that interfere with, stress, and seriously damage the normal function of metabolism. Most of these things are the result of reasonably modern inventions. The combination of ‘normal’ stress and invented stress, can create a potent cocktail.
Under eating is a surefire way to turn on the stress system. Stress suppresses thyroid, increasing cortisol and adrenaline. It’s possible to lose a lot of weight this way, and fast. A large part will be from loss of valuable muscle tissue. Losing muscle mass, slows thyroid metabolism.
A high stress metabolism is actually better described as a suppressed metabolism, because the overuse of the stress system is the result of an under functioning metabolism.
Rapid weight loss is a symptom of many serious illnesses and is not something to aspire to. Cancer, diabetes and heart disease are connected with rapid weight loss.
Having some excess weight on the body is generally associated with improved survival. Sugar provides the energy needed to ensure that thyroid metabolism functions well on demand, so that backup fuel systems are not overly used, limiting damage from stress.
Sugar is stored in your liver, but also in your muscles. The less you have stored as glycogen, the more muscle you will lose. This can become a vicious circle.
When stress is high and glycogen stores are depleted, defensive mechanisms kick in to ensure the continuous provision of energy in the form of sugar. Ongoing exposure to stress, eventually causes metabolism and digestive function to slow down, increasing exposure to stress related substances, including bacterial endotoxin.
Endotoxin, and other related inflammatory things, increase the amount of toxins which the liver has to deal with, in order to try and protect the main system. When the liver is under functioning, toxic inflammatory substances recirculate, and metabolism struggles to perform optimally.
It’s true that proper detoxing requires a healthy liver. Two things the liver needs to do this are…sugar and thyroid.
When stress is high and thyroid function is inhibited, estrogen levels rise. The liver plays a big part in assisting with the proper excretion of excess estrogen, and estrogen interferes with energy system (and liver) function, promoting stress and inflammation, and a gradual worsening of health.
Sugar promotes thyroid energy system performance, lowers stress and inflammation, and increases digestive capabilities, preventing many of the things that harm the liver. Sugar also reduces the release of fat into the blood, and free fatty acids are an important factor interfering with metabolism and liver function.
Sugar is ‘addictive’ but only because you can’t live without it. You can hold your breath for far longer than your body and brain can go without sugar. That’s why you eat your own muscles to make sure you always…always have sugar available.
But stress does not just eat through muscle tissue. It can also consume skin, glands and organs. Eating sugar lowers stress and protects valuable tissue. Sugar is not the cause of excessive weight gain. In fact sugar, by promoting metabolism, protects muscle and allows for the safe removal of excess fat stores.
The rapid release of fat into the blood, when sugar is avoided, damages metabolic function, interfering with the safe removal of fat stores. The scales do not tell the story of metabolism, and do not give a clear picture of likely future results.
Sugar shaming and blaming doesn’t help people lose weight. But restricting sugar (and calories in general) will eventually increase stress, slow thyroid, and damage metabolism. Weight gain is then often the result. Taking less and less calories to do it. And that’s only the beginning.
It’s probably better to eat more rather than less, even if the type of food is not ideal, however this is not always going to be true, as some ingredients can cause a lot of interference with digestion, liver function, and overall metabolism.
Many kinds of grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and under cooked vegetables are filled with metabolism interfering substances, are difficult to digest, and often provide far less nutritional support relative to the quantity consumed. All things being equal, however, a normally functioning metabolism can deal with periods of not enough and too much food, even if the food isn’t optimal.
Adding flames to the fire with the polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), is a whole other conversation.
Not to mention all the things added to food today, that aren’t food at all, and have absolutely no place being there. At the very least, if some sugar is included, you might get some protection.
So here’s to sugar and some other sweet, comforting, stress reducing things. May they find some relief from the blame and shame they are continuously exposed to. May the real culprits be unmasked, and brought out into the light for all to see.
If you like what I have to say, and you want more information (including lots of studies), showing ways that sugar and calories protect against obesity and related issues, please check out some of my other articles, including Calories, Unicorns and Other Myths. and The Moderation Epidemic. And please share this and sign the email list up top.