A calorie is a measure of energy producing potential in food. If not consumed, the energy is converted to fats that the body stores. Excess stored fat results in obesity. This is a major source of contention with some people arguing that limiting the amount of food intake regardless of calorie content can result in weight loss.
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Others are of the opinion that the rate of metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates determines the amount of weight loss. The latter group seems to support a contradicting opinion that dieting involves limiting the intake of specific kinds of food. This argument forms the basis of the discussion in this paper.
Obesity can be explained by an increased intake of high fats diets (Myers & Allen, 2013). Most westernized dietary patterns consist of energy dense foods such as processed foods, red meat, and high fats food products.
According to Meyers and Allen, different foods created or modified by processing contain a combination of refined cereals, sugars, and vegetable oils (2013). In addition, processing of food increases the salt and fat content. Excess energy intake due to such foods increases the accumulation of and adipocyte stress. Factors such as lipid accumulations are proven to interfere with the balance of systemic cell signaling (adipocytes and cytokines) to favor a pro-inflammatory environment.
The research design used in the study is experimental. The findings seem to be convincing, however, a factor such as the sex of the participants is a variable that is not carefully considered. Weight loss varies across the sexes. The researchers note this variable, but do not control it adequately in the experiment (Myers & Allen, 2013). This is likely to have yielded conflicting results as biological makeup of males and females are a significant factor in determining weight gain or loss.
Berg and colleagues in 2008 seem to hold a slightly differing opinion (Myers & Allen, 2013). They assert that the nutritional value of the food intake cannot be ignored in examining the dietary habits that lead to weight gain. This is a conclusion that they make after conducting a study on male and female participants.
Food patterns that promote obesity and related disorders are identified. Groups that consume regular and medium fat, milk, cheese, white bread, sweets, snacks, and alcoholic beverages and take in relatively low amounts of fruits, vegetables, and low fat foods are found to have a high body mass index and an equally high waist-to-hip ratio. The above group is compared to those who eat more fiber, less sugar and lower fats.
Esmaillzadeh and Azadbakht, in a study of major dietary patterns in relation to general obesity and central adiposity among Iranian women, confirm the same point (Meyer & Allen, 2013). They also realize that Western dietary patterns when likened to healthy diets of fruits, vegetables and wholegrain are associated with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). In addition, it results into an elevated waist-to-hip ratio and waist circumference.
Those in the Western diet have higher chances of being obese than those taking the healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Abstaining from certain types of food, therefore, can result in significant loss of body weight. However, in this analysis the researchers rely on self-report in filling the questionnaires. The subjects might conceal important information or answer some questions with bias because of social desirability effect.
A diet containing an elevated level of proteins is better in weight reduction according to Layman, Clifton, Gannon, Krauss, and Nuttal (2008). In addition to weight loss, diets that are rich in carbohydrates when substituted by proteins (with or without fat) result in improvements in body composition, plasma, lipids, and lipoproteins.
Lipoprotein reactions due to changes in protein and carbohydrate intakes are complex. They reflect varied genetic and metabolic differences in individuals. Some factors can influence lipoprotein responses. The factors include baseline lipoprotein patterns (the genetic phenotype), the rate of insulin receptiveness among the subjects and the overall energy intake.
However, metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins is highly dependent on individual factors such as sex besides the genetic factors. This, however, cannot be ignored as part of weight loss strategy. A suggestion by the researchers Layman et al. (2008) that cannot be overlooked is that dietary plans work best when individualized. An individual’s food preferences should be prioritized in an effort to reduce energy intake.
Hence, one-size-fits-all tactics for weight loss do not work. The general idea of limiting the intake of certain foods to lose weight cannot hold in all situations. This is because of the existence of individual differences. Food types with similar nutritional values can be substituted, for example, it is possible to substitute animal proteins with plant proteins.
A study done by Paramsothy et al. in 2011 is a cross-sectional evaluation of sterol markers of cholesterol absorption. Cholesterol absorption markers are low in the findings, whereas cholesterol synthesis markers are high in the cohort of insulin-resistant participants who have a one-third to one-half increase in cholesterol with egg feeding.
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Insulin resistance and obesity are associated with diminished cholesterol absorption, whereas leanness is associated with increased cholesterol absorption. This is still another indication that the rates of metabolism of proteins and fats are factors in weight loss of an individual.
Reduction of the intake of certain foods and the rate of metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates determine weight loss. However, restrictions of certain kinds of food seem to have a better effect than observing the rate of metabolism of essential foods in the body.
In most cases, those people determined to watch their weight are likely to cut on the amount of sugar and fats they ingest. From the evidence presented especially by Estruch et al., a decrease in intake of certain foods (in this case carbohydrate) has a direct effect on weight loss of an individual (2013).
The rate of lipid absorption in the blood leads to accumulation of calories that subsequently cause weight gain is determined by many factors (Paramsothy et al., 2011). Factors such as individual characteristics, for example, height, sex, individual lipid absorption rate, and age determine the rate and ease of metabolism of macronutrients. It is also challenging to determine the exact extent of metabolism. Other factors such as cardiovascular activities can influence metabolism.
Low-carbohydrate diets are effective for weight loss. Most of the experiments were affected adversely by the fact that the participants were volunteers. An accurate representation of the population was thus not attained. The approach of determining weight loss by measuring the metabolic rate is inaccurate to some extent. Thus, the most explicit way of weight loss remains restrictive dietary practice. Avoiding certain foods, therefore, proves successful in weight loss without considering the amount of calories present in the food.
Estruch, R., Ros, E., Salas-Salvadó, J, Covas, M., Corella, D., Arós, F., Gómez-Gracia, E., Ruiz-Gutiérrez, V., Fiol, M., Lapetra, J., Lamuela-Raventos, R. M., Serra-Majem, L., Pintó, X., Basora, J., Muñoz, M. A., Sorlí, J. V., Martínez, J. A., & Martínez-González, M. A. (2013). Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet, New England Journal of Medicine 368(14), 1279-1290.
Layman, K. D, Clifton, P., Gannon, C. M., Krauss, M. R., & Nuttal Q. F. (2008). Protein in optimal health: Heart disease and type 2 diabetes1, 2, 3, 4. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(5), 1571-1575.
Myers J. L. & Allen C. J. (2012). Nutrition and inflammation: Insights on dietary pattern, obesity, and asthma. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 6(14), 1419-1420.
Nordmann, A, J., Briel, M., Keller, U., Yancy, S.W., Brehm, B. J., & Bucher, C. H. (2006). Effects of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat diets on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Archives of Internal Medicine, 166(3), 285-293.
Paramsothy, P., Knopp, H. P., Kahn, E., Retzlaff, B. M, Fish, B., Ma, L., & Ostlund, O. E. (2011). Plasma sterol evidence for decreased absorption and increased synthesis of cholesterol in insulin resistance and obesity, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94(2011), 1182–1188.