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Weight loss: All calories not created equal

September 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Dr. Mehmet Oz gave some tips on boosting your metabolism.

When it comes to weight loss, he says it's not just a matter of "calories in and calories out." In fact, where you get your calories from can determine whether or not they're burned or stored as fat.

"If you eat it you better burn it or you're going to store it," said Endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig. "That's wrong, that is not correct. That's the biggest mistake. That's what has got us to this point."

Lustig says this point is a nation super-saturated in body fat and weight-related disease. It turns out a calorie is not really just a calorie.

So now health experts are conquering the calorie question, breaking down what helps and what hurts. Oz says what hurts are calories you get from sugar.

"So when you eat empty calories, especially the white foods, the white flour, the white rice, the white pasta all you're really doing is reminding the brain that you're cheating it," said Oz.

Oz says that's because the brain looks for nutrients for survival, so it entices you to eat even more to give it the nutrients it craves. This in turn signals your body to produce insulin to help process that extra sugar in the blood.

"Insulin will take that sugar and deposit it right on your thighs," said Oz.

But heads up, not all carbs are created equal. Whole-grain high-fiber carbs, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables slow burning carbs.

In addition, choose lean proteins that not only provide nutrients but also require the body to burn more calories to break down.

"Things like lentils, quinoa, sweet potatoes," said nutritionist J.J. Virgin. "They are not really processed, making sure that each meal- I like to live by the plate- has some clean lean protein like wild salmon, chicken, or Greek style yogurt, healthy fats, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, loads of those non-starchy vegetables."

And along with calorie burning foods, what's the most effective way to burn calories? Good news, simple movement burns calories. Pace rather than stand, stand rather than sit. Sit rather than lie down.

"Let's face it, the amount of time you spend at the gym in miniscule," said Virgin. "All day long we should be moving more. This is where pedometers are critical, we really do want to get up instead of using the channel changer, get rid of those. Take the stairs, park the car further away, all those things we don't do."


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