Perhaps the biggest myth in terms of food and weight loss is the notion that to lose weight you simply need to reduce your food intake.
This is based on the energy in – energy out notion, and is the reason why some people become addicted to calorie counters.
It’s a myth because it’s an over-simplification that can result in exactly the opposite effect from that which was intended. That is, if your approach to losing weight is simply to eat less food, the result will be that you actually put weight on, as Oprah Winfrey famously found out.
It’s possible to think of your body as a chemical reactor that converts chemical energy into mechanical energy. Like a car your body needs fuel to move and do things. Your car runs on petrol; your body runs on glycogen.
That is, whatever food you eat, your body has to break it down to glycogen first, and it is this process that governs how or whether you gain weight or lose weight.
Glycogen is a carbohydrate, in fact the simplest carbohydrate. Its formula is C6H12O6. This is called a saccharide unit and glycogen is therefore termed a monosaccharide.
If there are two saccharide units (such as table sugar), it is called a disaccharide.So its formula is (C6H12O6) x 2 = C12H24O12
And as the number of saccharide units increases, the ratio of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen increase in the same ratio.
Sinple carbohydrates contain one or two saccharide units, and complex carbohydrates may contain hundreds.
Tomorrow we’ll look at some complex carbohydrates.