Category Archives: The Science

How Many Calories in Coca Cola: Do Kids Care?

what-is-in-coca-cola

What is in Coca Cola? Click image to find out...

How Many Calories in Coca Cola?

Everyone seems to have gone a little calorie mad recently. Attempts to dissuade kids away from fizzy drinks by including nutritional value and total calories have not had much success of late, however it seems scaring them with the implications related to physical activity might do the trick.  Though is the science right? Should we be focusing on how many calories are in fizzy drinks or any food for that matter?

Researchers posted three different signs outside corner shops to see which was best at putting teens off the soft drinks.

One asked if they knew that the average fizzy drink contained 250 calories, another asked if they knew it was equivalent to ten per cent of their recommended daily intake. 

A third asked ‘Did you know that working off a bottle of fizzy drink or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?”

Results showed that providing calorie-related information did cause sales to drop by over a third (40 per cent), but that the physical activity equivalent was most effective, reducing soft drink sales among teens by half.  – Source ‘Daily Mail’

Of course the researchers have missed the point on several levels, firstly to focus on calories is misleading as not all calories are created equal, it depends on the source as a 500 calorie steak is far different from 500 calorie chocolate bar. Considering total sugars (Watch video: Big Sugar) along with many other additives contained in these types of drink is the evil it is this we need to concentrate on. It is a very big mistake indeed to simply refer to calorific values as a measure of the level of exercise needed to counter act the effects.

As well as this it is equally unhelpful to look to physical exercise as a means to address the balance. Although exercise is a fantastic tool to increase fitness, mental health and well-being, used solely as a weight loss tool it is doomed to fail. You can read more on this in an earlier published article: Best Exercise For Fat Burn: A Paleo Solution 

How To Diet and What Are Healthy Foods

Latest research shows that in England over 60% of adults and 25% of children are overweight or obese.  I don’t know about you but I don’t know anyone who wants to be overweight, let alone obese.  Let’s cut to current UK Government advice on how to lose weight.

“if you need to lose weight, aim to lose about 0.5kg (1-2lb) a week until you reach a healthy weight for your height.  You should be able to lose this amount if you eat and drink about 500 to 600 calories fewer a day than you need …..Combining these changes with increased physical activity is the best way to achieve a healthier weight..”“

So I am to increase my body’s need for fuel at the same time as cutting down on the fuel I eat.  Er…won’t I be hungry?  Is it me?  That’s like putting less fuel in my car and flogging it even harder to get more out of it?

Then why do we have an obesity problem?  Why do we have an epidemic?  When I don’t know anybody who wants to be fat?

In short the answer is that the current dietary advice does not work.  Take a look at the Government’s “Eat well plate” for example (click on the image to go see what else they say is ‘eating well’). I see sugar, cornflakes, weetabix, white flour, bagels, white pasta, sugary baked beans, fruit ineatwell-plate syrup, battenburg cake, sweets, coca-cola: in short, processed food.  Man is the only chronically sick species on Earth and the only one processing (making) his own food.  Incidentally do you know where the advice to create a deficit in calorie intake comes from?  Can you prove it?  No and neither can the Government – this theory is not substantiated by any scientific literature.

And look at anecdotal evidence.  The theory does not work.  If it did, there would not be a problem with obesity! 

Dietary advice changed in the early 1980’s moving away from “carbs are fattening” to “base your meals on starchy foods” and “eliminate saturated fat”.  Open your eyes: do you see the connection with the current obesity epidemic?  I don’t recall this level of obesity growing up, do you?

The prediction of the Foresight Report is that 90% of our children will be overweight or obese by 2050.  Do you want this for your children? Obese children become obese adults, because of the genetic triggers of processed food and obesity these children then become obese parents with obese children. We’re presently on a collision course with our own destiny and need to change it fast.

The key is to work with your body never against it.  Eat real food.  Eat food as nature intended and eliminate processed food.   Sustainable weight loss and optimal health are possible through a paleo or caveman style diet.  Get a little knowledge about what is causing you to be fat, because it’s not what you thought it was!

The Fat Storage Machine

Junk-food-collage

These foods are doing more than just making you fat.

Carbohydrates are great, they are the bodies preferred source of fuel providing instant energy when needed.  Endurance athletes need more than most as they are continually drawing on the bodies resources, consider them as a high octane fuel in a well oiled machine.  However they are also at the source of the obesity problem and so you should monitor very carefully both the type and quantity you eat as they have a dramatic effect on the body chemistry.

It is without question that blood sugar levels are the driving force in the fat storage mechanism as this determines the level of insulin production.  This goes against many who believe fat or more specifically saturated fat and over consumption are the drivers.  This is incorrect as increasing numbers of scientific studies now show that it’s consumption of a high carbohydrate diet and not a high fat diet that is the main cause of fat accumulation,  excess consumption of food is a symptom of being overweight and not the other way around.  It is the fat cells themselves that disrupt the body chemistry which tell the brain to eat more and more.  The alienation of saturated fat began in the 1950’s thanks to the now discredited findings of an American scientist by the name of Ancel Keys.

So back to the real culprits, when consumed carbohydrates are quickly converted into glucose and enter the bloodGlucose-Insulin-Cycle-graphic stream (blood sugar).  Of the two types of carbohydrate simple and complex it is the simple form (sweets, syrups, table sugar, alcohol, soda drinks, fruit juices)  that have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels.  These simple forms have little to no nutritional value but small amounts can be converted for use as instant energy, great…but hang on a moment.  In order for the body to be able to use glucose as fuel it produces a hormone called insulin whose job it is to transport glucose from the blood to the cells, liver and muscles.  The problem is these energy storage banks don’t have much capacity and so quickly become full.  When this happens all surplus glucose in the blood gets stored in the fat cells.  If this were to be an irregular event there would be little to worry about.  But it’s not, as our present day diet is filled with refined carbohydrates in the form of processed foods and drinks, bread, pasta, pastries, soda’s, fruit juices etc. As a result we find ourselves with consistently high levels of insulin working overtime to lower blood sugar.   The presence of high levels of insulin mean three things:

1. Fat cells unable to convert fat to energy

2. Weight Gain

3. Insulin Intolerance ( This is very bad!)

You have basically turned your body into a fat storing machine by constantly feeding it a high carbohydrate diet.  Because our bodies cannot tolerate sustained high blood sugar levels a condition called insulin resistance begins to take effect.  This is very serious and linked to many of the modern autoimmune and degenerative diseases we see today.

Insulin-resistance-cycle-graphicSo what can happen when your body is a fat storing machine? How about type II diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, Alzheimers to name a few.  Americans are adding, on average one and a half pounds of fat each year with Britain a close second.

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