“How much physical activity does it take to burn off some of your favorite meals and snacks? You cannot out-exercise your mouth, and one of the reasons for this is due to the sheer amount of activity required to burn excess calories.
Another factor that plays into this equation has to do with the metabolic effects of calories from different sources, which I’ll address in the next section. But first, take a look at the infographic7 below, which shows how much exercise you have to engage in to burn off eight popular junk foods, or check out their video above.
To “work off” a single McDonald’s Big Mac, men would have to do more than 40 minutes of cardio; women would have to go a bit longer, just over 50 minutes. If you had a large French fries with that, tack on another 40 minutes of cardio for men and 48 minutes for women.
If you had a can of soda, add yet another 12 to 14 minutes of cardio for men and women respectively. So to “neutralize” the calories in this one meal, which is a common combo, would require at least 1 1/2 hours of moderate to intense exercise.
Meanwhile, previous research suggests more than half of Americans over the age of 18 never engage in any vigorous physical activity lasting 10 minutes or more per week. If you do the math, it becomes easy to see how the extra pounds can stack up on your frame if you’re sedentary and eat lots of junk food.
Calories are not created equal
Weight gain can be further aggravated by eating lots of metabolically harmful calories. What falls under this category? Primarily net carbs, which is the total carbohydrates minus fiber. For optimal health and disease prevention, I recommend keeping your net carbs below 40 or 50 grams per day. Primary culprits include all forms of sugar, as well as most grains, which turn into sugar in your body.
The dogmatic belief that “a calorie is a calorie” has done much to contribute to the ever-worsening health of the Western world. It’s one of the first things dieticians learn in school, and it’s completely false. Calories are not created equal. The source of the calories makes all the difference in the world. Groundbreaking research by Dr. Robert Lustig shows that calories from processed fructoseare of particular concern.
According to Lustig, fructose is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.” What this means is that identical calorie counts from fructose and glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, will cause entirely different metabolic effects. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine how much fat your body will accumulate and hold on to.
Research8 shows that calories gleaned from bread, refined sugars and processed foods promote overeating, whereas calories from whole vegetables, protein and fiber decrease hunger. According to a 2015 meta-review9 published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, once you reach 18 percent of your daily calories from added sugar, there’s a two-fold increase in metabolic harm that promotes pre-diabetes and diabetes.
Your Fat-Burning Ability Also Impacts Your Calorie Requirements
Many still believe and insist that weight gain is impossible unless you consume more calories than you expend. Alas, the metabolic influence of different calories pokes too many holes in this theory. Another wild card that is frequently overlooked is your body’s ability to burn fat as its primary fuel. Due to insulin and leptin resistance, most people have impaired enzymes to burn fat, which lends credence to Lustig’s assertions.
If you currently burn sugar as your primary fuel, then rapidly and significantly increasing your healthy fat intake may not be beneficial and could result in weight gain. Your body simply isn’t adapted to burning all that fat yet, and fat is very high in calories.
To Rein in Your Weight, Eat Real Food and Stay Active
In a nutshell, if you’re concerned about your weight and health, you need to address the quality of your food, the ratio of carbs, fats and protein, and increase your physical activity level. Don’t make the mistake of trying to figure out which processed foods are “good” for you and which ones aren’t. A far more effective rule is to simply eat real food, as close to its natural state as possible. These simple and easy-to-remember guidelines will set you off on the right track:
•Eat REAL FOOD: buy whole, ideally organic, foods and cook from scratch.
•Reduce net carbs: to 50 grams a day or less and restrict protein to 1 gram per kilogram of lean body mass.
•Consider intermittent fasting: if you’re still struggling with excess weight after you’ve cleaned up your diet, you may want to reconsider the timing of your meals.
•Increase physical activity: this includes standing up more during your work day and walking more. Ideally, aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day. ”
source and citation: Mercola Fitness