Daily Devotional

Not All Calories Are Equal

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies for that food is deceptive. Prov. 23:1-3, NIV.

You can't just cut your calories and expect to lose weight. Here's why: By nature, your body is highly efficient in storing fat calories. It uses only about 3 percent of the fat calories you eat to digest, transport, and deposit fat into your body's fat storage areas. That means you must exercise the vast majority out of the body if you don't want to gain weight.

In contrast, your body metabolizes protein calories and excretes the by-products rapidly. You can have problems with excess protein, of course, because it stresses your liver and kidneys by forcing them to work overtime. But excess protein doesn't usually add to obesity. You have no efficient metabolic pathway in your body by which you can turn protein into fat for storage.

Calories from carbohydrates also rarely get stored as fat, because the metabolic pathways that your body uses to convert extra carbohydrates into fat and then store them demand that you burn a lot of calories to do the job. It takes 24 percent of the calories in carbohydrates to do this—a highly inefficient use of the energy in the carbohydrates.

In studies in which researchers put radioactive carbohydrate markers in food, they learned that the body converted and stored less than 1 percent of the carbohydrate load as fat. Even when people ate carbohydrates excessively, they generally burned them up in "wasteful" metabolic processes that tended to increase the body's metabolic rate, not reduce it—as happens in calorie-restricted diets.

Another way to put this is that one gram of fat contains nine calories, while one gram of protein or carbohydrates has only four calories.

The moral of the story is: avoid fat calories—they stick to your bones!

There's an interesting bit of advice in Proverbs 23:3 about overeating. It says don't crave a ruler's delicacies, because that food is deceptive. How true! Most rich food is filled with fat calories that may be tough to get rid of.

Sin is deceptive, too. It may look and taste good, but the consequences of indulging may be even harder to get rid of than fat calories.

Watch your moral diet, "for the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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