Is it true calories from protein can’t be converted to fat? Should we be more scared of carbs? And what about very low calorie diets?
Q. Is it true that calories from protein can’t be converted to fat?
A.Technically, yes. But that doesn’t mean you can eat 33 steaks in a sitting without seeing them on the scales. While we can’t store excess protein, our bodies can convert protein to other fuels like glucose – in a process known as ‘neoglucogenesis’ – to be used as fuel. If this fuel isn’t needed, it can be stored as body fat.
Q. I want to lose weight fast. What’s the word on VLCDs?
A. A very low calorie diet (VLCD) prescribes about 3,300 kJ a day or less and should only be undertaken under medical supervision or as part of a reputable program such as the Cambridge Weight Loss Plan, to ensure nutrient needs are met and calorie reduction is paired with education to promote long-term weight loss.
“My consultant taught me about healthy eating and portion sizes... I really understand what I must do to manage my weight long term,” says Roisin Graham, who lost 50 kg in six months with the Cambridge Weight Loss Plan.
Q. Should we be more scared of carbs?
A. Nope. Chew on this: “It takes only 10 kJ of energy from fat to store 420 kJ of fat in the body, yet it takes approximately 100 kJ of energy from carbs for the body to store the same 420 kJ,” says McGrice. “The conversion of carbohydrates to fat is ten times less efficient.”