Owen Davis | 28 Jul
Health influencers on social media often peddle online diet programs with the promise that you can lose weight while eating all the (unhealthy) foods you love. Things like burgers, pasta, sandwiches, chocolates, ice cream and cakes are all on the menu. They suggest that eating these foods is fine so long as they're low in calories - meaning you can lose weight without changing a thing. It sounds too good to be true. And as the adage goes, it probably (or, in this case, definitely) is.
The issue with these low calorie diets is that they conflate a low calorie diet with a healthy diet. A healthy diet is not one that is low in calories but one that is low in seed oils, refined carbohydrates, sugars and artificial ingredients. A healthy diet is also comparatively high in important nutrients, vitamins and minerals, or what we call 'nutrient dense'.
Pastas, breads (for burgers or sandwiches) and cakes - even if they are low in calories - are often high in refined carbohydrates, sugars and artificial ingredients. These things are unequivocally bad for health. Diets that contain these foods are also comparatively low in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They lack nutrient density.
So, while it is most definitely possible to lose weight while following a low calorie diet, it comes at a cost
to your health.
Said another way, a low calorie diet high in seed oils, sugars and artificial ingredients is worse for you than a high calorie diet filled
with nutrient dense whole foods.
Further to the issue of nutrient density, low calorie diets often ignore metabolic realities. What do we mean by this?
Well, different macronutrients are metabolised (broken down by the body) differently. Protein, fat and carbohydrates are all metabolised differently by the body. For example, when the body metabolises refined carbohydrates and sugars (like those in many popular low calorie diets), it causes a spike in glucose and insulin. So, people following these low calorie diets often have persistently high glucose.
Persistently elevated glucose and insulin are the catalysts for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin to remove glucose from the blood or the body develops what's known as 'insulin resistance' - where it becomes normalised to heightened insulin, rendering it ineffective.
Even if elevated glucose and insulin do not cause type 2 diabetes, it causes acidity, inflammation, connective
tissue breakdown and anaerobic tendency. These biological trends - all of which are part of the six
- are the precursors for chronic health issues. Moreover, high glucose can rob the cells of their minerals, fluids and electrolytes, compromising several bodily functions.
Most people follow a low calorie diet to lose weight. There are a few issues with this. The first is that weight loss does not always equal health, as we outline in this article. The second concerns our earlier point on how different macronutrients are metabolised differently.
Remember, refined carbohydrates and sugars are converted to glucose. If glucose levels are so high that the body
cannot clear the blood of the excess glucose, that glucose is converted to fat and stored as adipose
(otherwise known as body fat). This is the process of weight gain.
Another common reason why people don't lose weight following low calorie diets is that they are burdened by toxins and toxicity. Toxins are 'metabolic uncouplers' - meaning they cause hormonal imbalances and disturb the metabolism, compromising the body's ability to metabolise different macronutrients.
Take mercury, for instance. If you have mercury in your pancreas, it restricts beta cell
function, which is the precursor for producing insulin. If you can't produce insulin, you cannot clear the blood
glucose. When you cannot clear the blood of glucose, it is converted to fat and deposited around the body as adipose
So, many people can actually gain weight instead of losing weight on a 'low calorie diet'. This creates another problem.
When people fail to lose weight while following a low calorie diet, they often assume they need to lower their caloric intake
This results in one thing: malnutrition. At this point, people often lose weight; however, it comes at a
significant cost to their health. They often become ill because they are so deprived of essential nutrients,
vitamins and minerals.
When people are so deficient in critical nutrients, vitamins and minerals, their health declines, and they
invariably develop a combination of the six
subclinical defects - the precursors for disease. Ultimately, they become far more susceptible to chronic and degenerative health issues.
So, you can see how it is wise to treat low calorie diets with a healthy degree of scepticism. Instead, opting for a properly formulated, nutrient dense diet is better. As we mentioned earlier, it is better to follow a high calorie diet that is rich in nutrient dense foods than it is to follow a low calorie diet high in seed oils, sugars and artificial ingredients.
There is only one way to be sure of what diet is best for your health: to analyse blood chemistry. Blood chemistry analysis allows us to pinpoint key nutrient, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and imbalances, and we can leverage this data to tailor a diet to your specific macronutrient needs and biochemical individuality.