So, it turns out that overeating doesn’t cause obesity. There’s been a lot of new research out there recently that has absolutely blown my mind. Holly recently blogged about how some pesticides can hold back weight loss so eating organic foods might actually give you an advantage. I recently read (and tweeted about) how aging doesn’t slow your metabolism as previously believed. Now, research is showing that it’s definitely not the amount we eat that causes us to gain weight!
Overeating Doesn’t Cause Obesity – It Goes Way Beyond Calories
Calories are still a factor. If you eat ten thousand calories in a day, no matter what it consisted of, you’re definitely going to put yourself at risk of gaining weight. If you do it on a regular basis, you could end up obese over time. Still, overeating doesn’t cause obesity by itself. This is why, even if you’re counting calories, some weeks are more effective than others. Not all calories have the same impact on your weight. It all depends on what you’re eating.
I’m not making this up. It was published in an important new paper in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition. In fact, the researchers found so much evidence that they were even able to develop a different model for weight control than the usual calories in, calories out strategy.
If Overeating Doesn’t Cause Obesity, What Does?
It doesn’t mean that we can necessarily stop counting calories. What it does mean is that those calories aren’t the be-all and end-all of our success. They are now one of several factors that can be combined to tell us that we’re on the right track – or that we’re not! I’m sure everyone under the sun is now coming up with some kind of algorithm that will assign points instead of calories that will take all these different factors into consideration. I’m also sure that those algorithms won’t actually be much more help than the traditional accurate calorie counters because we all have different bodies with different needs.
Still, knowing what is truly affecting your weight is extremely helpful! The idea is that calories coming from the types of carbohydrates in fast food and junk food are packed on as stored body fat much easier than most other types of calories. So, if you eat an apple or the equivalent number of calories from chicken nuggets at your favorite fast-food restaurant, the nuggets are going to put your body at a higher risk of storing more fat than the apple would, even if the calorie content is exactly the same.
What Does This Mean for Those of Us Trying to Lose Weight?
As you can see, overeating doesn’t cause obesity. Your food choices do. The more healthy, whole foods you consume, the more wiggle room you’ll have in terms of how much you can eat, even if your calorie count is similar. You do still need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight, but it will work much more efficiently if you achieve that ratio by dumping the highly processed foods from your diet as much as you can and replacing it with more nutritious foods.
Looks like this was a good time for me to start using a CSA box for the first time! It will be interesting to see if I feel it’s making my life easier in terms of how fast my weight is coming off. Especially since I was still eating a certain amount of processed food when I was doing the keto diet.