Calories in versus calories out gives us a really good picture on how we can use a caloric deficit to lose weight.
But it doesn’t show us the whole image.
When we take a peek at the types of macronutrients that we consume, we can see how different macronutrients require a different amount of work for our bodies to digest.
More work equals more calories burned.
In fact, 20-30% of calories from protein get used up by our bodies during digestion, 5-10% of calories from carbs, and 0-3% from fats.
This doesn’t mean you should only eat protein to lose weight. We know that it takes a healthy balance of all macronutrients for our bodies to function optimally.
This study that we reviewed, showed researchers comparing the calories burned, from digestion, of two group – one consuming highly a processed sandwich and the other consuming a less-processed sandwich.
They reported that the group who consumed the less processed sandwich actually burned 46.8% more calories, during digestion, than the group eating the more processed sandwich.
This happened despite how the sandwich contained the same number of calories and a pretty close ratio of macronutrients.
This not only shows us how eating whole foods can cause an increase in calories burned, through digestion, but also that we’re cutting out a lot of unnecessary calories from our diet if we choose to skip highly-processed foods. These foods often strip out a lot of the benefit nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals, then replace it with extra sugars and fats that our bodies don’t need.
So your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to clean out the cabinets of any junk foods and snacks that might be stopping you from choosing healthier options instead. Remember, out of sight, out of mind!