Friday, November 19, 2010

What Grilled Cheese Sandwich Burns More Calories??

TwinkiesRegrettably, a professor at Kansas State University received quite a bit of media attention after losing weight on an 1800-calorie/day junk food diet.  I don't know why this is news.  It's a fact that if you consume less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.  It doesn't matter where those calories come from.  It's a math equation.  If you only eat 1 stick of butter every day, I guarantee you will lose weight (1 stick butter = ~800 calories).  The only major exceptions would be people on certain medications or with extreme hormonal conditions.  

There are many reasons why it's not a great idea to go on a Twinkie diet for weight loss.  Besides the obvious ones (not very satiating, low in vitamins and mineral and other "good stuff" found in real foods, high in sugar, etc), I wanted to highlight a study that was published this summer that on processed food.

The purpose of the study was to measure how many calories were burned after eating a cheese sandwich made with white bread and processed cheese versus one made with whole grain bread with real cheddar cheese.  Both sandwiches provided the same number of calories and the carbohydrate, protein, and fat content were the same.  

Not surprising, you burn a lot more calories after eating the sandwich made on whole grain bread with real cheddar cheese!  

Burning calories after you eat is called "diet induced thermogenesis".  It takes a lot of energy for your body to digest and process food.  In general, it takes more calories to digest and process protein and much less after eating fat.  But up until this summer, no one ever tested how many calories are burned eating a processed sandwich versus a more wholesome one.

So this professor did lose weight on his Twinkie diet, about 27 pounds in two months (which would probably never happen to a SHE...we're not that lucky with weight loss...but we do live longer so in the end, we WIN!)  But just imagine how much more weight he would have lost if he were on a whole food diet!  

I don't know about you, but I will choose the whole foods that burn more calories than the Twinkie diet.  This strategy would also help prevent weight gain and might explain why people who eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are leaner than those that eat more processed foods.  Sure, Twinkies have their place in the food supply but I wouldn't base a weight loss diet on them.  

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