Paying attention to calories is not the only precaution necessary to be able to lose weight; in fact, according to a recent research, the kind of foods that you choose to eat can be even more important.
The scholars showed that the index of the quality of the diet (IQD) is the parameter that makes the difference between being obese or lean, regardless of the number of calories consumed. It's like saying: no matter how much you eat, what you eat matters.
The news comes from the 7th Regional Congress of the Italian Society of Obesity (Sio) which took place at the University La Sapienza in Rome last 14th of December.
The study found that introducing 2,000 calories a day a person may be obese, but also lean. It's definitely a revolutionary approach because so far most weight-loss diets are always counting calories.
It is widespread a food culture that puts a lot of attention to the calorie content of a food: just think that by now there are few packages of food for sale not showing the number of calories of the product. However, a new approach to the problem of obesity and overweight is coming out: in this approach more than the calorie count, is important the quality of what you eat.
The IQD let us understand what foods make us fat, regardless of calories. Sugar, cheese, carbohydrates, glucides and saturated fats are usually foods that make you fat. But if these are combined with other foods such as vegetables, fiber and whole grains, you can reduce the negative effects produced by the first ones. To get the formula of IQD you must multiply the intake of carbohydrates to that of saturated fatty acids, the result is then divided by the amount of fiber.
Researchers have developed what might be called the ideal meal formula by studying the eating habits of 120 volunteers. Participants had different eating habits: 30 were lean and omnivorous, 30 were obese and omnivores, 30 were vegan, 30 were lacto-ovo-vegetarians.
Everyone involved had the same caloric amount for their meals and their physical activity had on average the same intensity. Each of the volunteers kept a food diary which allowed scholars to compare the type of nutrition and food pairing.
Andrea Lenzi, who directs the Division of Medical Pathophysiology and Endocrinology, Department of Experimental Medicine in the University La Sapienza, explained that "with the same calories consumed daily by vegans, vegetarians that include milk and eggs, lean and obese omnivores, very different weights become evident". For the expert, therefore, obesity and being overweight is not determined only by the calorie intake, "but by how you build the menu, balancing the foods containing saturated fats or carbohydrates with the fibers".
A meal without fiber and vegetables, clarifies Lenzi, but "rich in saturated fat, especially red meat, not just make you fat, but facilitate the development of obesity-related diseases".
In summary, while assuming the same number of calories the weight can be very different, and there is a greater frequency of overweight or obesity among omnivores who neglect the veggies and promote a diet consisting of fatty meats and some types of cheese.
"At the same time, the indicators of diseases related to obesity and overweight follow the same trend in relation to the quality rather than the quantity of the food," commented Lucio Gilles of the Department of Experimental Medicine.
The quality index of the diet is still in the experimental stage but the scholars think to do more tests so that the system can become a common tool for everybody willing to follow a healthy diet and have a perfect waistline.