We are all aware of the fact that there are both good and bad calories. But as it turns out, there are some variations in the bad category too. Consuming a lot of calories from foods can increase risks of obesity and various other cardiometabolic diseases. Sugar-sweetened beverages have specifically been found out to play a unique role in chronic health problems. A group of 22 researchers came together to explore if all calories play the same role with regards to their effects on cardiometabolic diseases and obesity. This study, published in Obesity Reviews, was conducted in order to carry an extensive review on the science behind diets which can lead to cardiovascular diseases, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The lead author of the study Kimber Stanhope was reported by ANI as saying that the fresh aspect about this study is that the a group of qualified scientists with experience in nutrition metabolism have agreed to the fact that beverages that are sweetened with sugar can increase risk of cardio-metabolic diseases, even though they have equal amounts of starch.
What are cardiometabolic diseases?
Cardiometabolic complications in the body are referred to diseases which can be caused because of wide variety of factors like environment, diet, lifestyle, genetic and epigenetic factors. Apart from genes, inflammation in the body and other pathophysiological events can cause cardiometabolic complications.
The role of aspartame, a substitute of sugar, was also reviewed as part of the study. The authors agreed that aspartame does not promote weight gain in adults. They further came to the conclusion that consumption of polyunsaturated fats such as the ones in vegetable oils, seeds and nuts can reduce risks of diseases, as compared to consumption of saturated fats in equal amounts.
But there were some variations found in saturated fats as well, where dairy products such yogurt and cheese can reduce risks of cardiometabolic diseases, even though they are high in saturated fats.
What is the difference between good and bad calories?
For instance, sugar is a food item which has empty calories and no nutrients to support it. We should focus on eating foods which have other nutrients like fibre and protein apart from calories. Such foods impact the hormones that control hunger – leptin – and the ones that tell our bodies to either burn or store fat. We should focus on eating foods which do not store fat in the body. Those are the foods which are nothing but instances of bad calories. For instance, processed foods, refined carbs, oily foods and fried foods to name a few.
Instance of foods with good calories include fresh vegetables, beans, fruits, healthy fats and lean protein. If you are consuming whole grains, prefer the ones that are less processed. For instance, you can opt for brown rice instead of white rice or whole wheat, quinoa or oats instead of white bread. The highly processed carbs which can increase your blood sugar levels and insulin levels should be replaced with fresh veggies, beans, whole grains, etc. When it comes to consuming fats, you can opt for fats from plant sources like nuts, avocado, and lean proteins like fish and chicken.