Calorie type absolutely DOES matter…definitely for fat loss, and unquestionably for overall health.
When I first came on the scene back in 2008, I was shocked to find that there were weight loss “gurus” teaching that it did not matter what kind of calories you consumed…that as long as you reduced your total daily intake, you would lose weight.
My first challenge to that was “well, if that’s true, let’s just eat candy bars all day to fulfill our caloric needs, and see how things go.”
So to reach a low enough level, perhaps four Snickers bars a day to hit around about 1200 calories.
(For those who wish to GAIN weight, they would take in at least double this amount of calories, and they have an expression for it when these kinds of low-quality foods are used…they call it “dirty bulking.”)
I also challenged this guru and asked him “if we can just down candy bars as long as the calorie content is low, what is happening to all that refined sugar being consumed with all that fat? Is it, or is it not, creating a raised level of blood sugar and triglycerides?”
One never gets responses to questions like that.
A recent study is proving out the fact that the type of calories absolutely do matter. In order to activate the energy-regulating enzyme AMPK, a large part of this activation depends upon the type of macronutrients consumed.
This particular study showed that an increase in dietary fat or a decrease in dietary carbohydrate intake, regardless of quantity, activates AMPK. Since activated AMPK has a direct impact on fat burning, the study suggests that high fat, low carb diets will tend to trigger greater fat loss.*
I incorporate this approach into what I do on a daily basis. However, I also cycle a much higher carb food profile into my diet on both a weekly, and on a more long-term basis to help “balance out” my macro and micro nutritional input, while also deriving definite health benefits from the much lower fat intake and therefore lowered fat levels in my blood.
For most people however, the low carb and high fat approach creates results, as long as the person understands which foods and why. It is vital that if we are to accomplish results that are long term, that we have a good understanding of how fats and carbs impact us all the way down to the cellular level, and through our own experimentation, discover what works best for us, as quickly as our bodies will allow. This is what I have aimed to accomplish.
*Draznin B, et al. Effect of dietary macronutient composition on AMPK and SIRTI expression and activity in human skeletal muscle. Horm Metab Res 2012;44(9): p. 650-5.