Every week, my wife and I go to the grocery store, crossing out the list of items that we need for the coming week.

We can’t help it but notice the number of overweight people at the grocery shelves. They look at the food labels, and focus intently on “no fat or low fat” or “reduced or zero calories”.

One time, I remember a husband and wife, (who were easily 250 lbs each), arguing over a box of cookies. The man picked up the regular package, because he thought that it tastes better. His wife argued that he needs to lose weight, and should instead get the “reduced calorie” variety.

Is this a valid argument? Conventional thinking goes like this:

Calories In (eating) – Calories Out (exercise) = Weight Gain/Loss

In other words, if you eat more than you exercise, then you’ll gain weight.

Sounds simple, right? Pretty straightforward?

Well, I’m going to emphatically say that:

The “calorie mentality” is contributing to your weight loss frustrations

In a theoretical world, biochemistry will support the above equation. In the real world, it’s a different story.

There are 2 factors that are missing: quality and timing.

Let’s talk about timing first:

NOT ALL CALORIES ARE EQUAL

The fact is, different foods burn at different rates. You need to balance the burn rate of what you’re eating with the burn rate of your own metabolism. If this is out of balance, you either go hungry or you gain weight, or in a lot of cases – BOTH!

For example, let’s say we have 2 identical twins, Bob and John. Both are genetically identical in their metabolic rates, and let’s assume that they also have the same job, exerting the same amount of physical effort from day to day.

John eats a freshly baked, 100-calorie bread, made from whole organic grains.
Bob, on the other hand, has a 100-calorie hamburger bun that was made in a factory 3000 miles away.
John’s bread will metabolize in his body slowly and evenly…releasing glucose in moderation.

Bob’s bread will burn fast, and dump the glucose into his bloodstream within a short span of time. The problem is, his metabolism can only absorb so much glucose at any given time.

Any excess glucose (sugar) – WILL BE CONVERTED INTO BODY FAT

Almost simultaneously, Bob’s blood sugar will drop, which will make him hungry. Unfortunately, reclaiming the body fat to be converted back to glucose, takes time. In fact, the time is too long for Bob to endure his hunger. He will be very tempted to go find and eat some more.

In contrast, John will go about his normal daily routine, absorbing the energy from the glucose slowly throughtout his day. The bread is still in his stomach, as it digests slowly – matching his metabolism.

So at the end of the day, in order for Bob to catch up with John’s caloric input and output, he will need extra exercise to burn off.

The fat that accumulated from the glucose he couldn’t absorb earlier, and The additonal food he ate to satisfy his hunger.
Unfortunately, when we look at the food labels in the grocery stores, it is NOT OBVIOUS which calories burn faster than others. There are ways to do it, but you will have to look much more closely, and that’s a topic for another day.