calories vs. macros for weight loss after Bariatric Surgery
Food & Nutrition
Video Blog: What Are Calories?

The Talking it Up Show with Arlean Edwards is a local production that interviews keynote speakers within the Augusta area. I, Dr. Jacome, was invited to join Arlean on set in a series of videos where I talk about what it takes to live healthy. Over the next few months, we will be sharing some of the videos from this series in an effort to better inform our audience. So stay tuned!


Below you will find the transcription of the entire video.

Arlean: We’re back and now it's time for Live Healthy MD with Dr. Francisco Jacome. Dr. Jacome, welcome.

Dr. Jacome: Thank you

Arlean: I’m excited about our segment.

Dr. Jacome: Me too, it’s been very gratifying for me to be able to get out and really talk to people about living healthy and different things. A lot of misconceptions about dieting and exercising. Today I would like to talk about calories

Arlean: Yeah, let’s do that. I was talking to you before we aired that I downloaded this app. What the app does, it’s called Fat Secret—breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, even water, I log during the course of a day what I take in and it makes me accountable and it also makes me conscious. So it’s counting calories and its counting how much exercise I do. But I’m glad you want to talk about caloric intake.

Dr. Jacome: I think what you are mentioning right now, having the ability to track what you’re doing, is very important because we tend to put things in our mouth that our brain doesn’t even realize what we are doing. So the reality check comes when you put it down.

Arlean: *laughing* I ate four donuts!

Dr. Jacome: Did I actually eat that?! But the important thing is there is a lot of misconception. People don’t really truly understand what a calorie is. You know people say “don’t eat that; bad calories”, “don’t eat this” or “these calories are supposed to be good!” So I want to go over a little of that.

Arlean: Yeah let’s do that!

Dr. Jacome: So calories are energy. That’s what it is. It is the energy that our bodies use to be able to function. It doesn’t matter where it comes from; it can come from a fat, it can come for protein, it could come from a donut or a pizza—it is still calories. Now different foods, different types of food, have different loads of calories in it. Without realizing, we can put a lot of calories inside our body. And the problem is when we are consuming more energy than the energy that we are using.

Arlean: Exactly; expound on that for us some because I think that’s where the communication breakdown is because we take it in and we don’t know what we need to do to burn it off.

Dr. Jacome: Exactly right, so the amount of calories that we eat, meaning the amount of energy that we use is either going to make us gain weight or lose weight. If I eat 1,500 calories and I use 1,500 calories, I will not gain or lose weight. But if I eat 1,500 calories, use 500 calories, I have 1,000 calories that I need to use or it's going to make me gain weight. You know, what is our body going to do with the excess energy? It’s going to turn it into fat.

So, where is that fat going to go? Obviously under the skin, which is more of a cosmetic issue; but then visceral fat—that is the problem. That is the fat that goes around your heart. The fat that goes inside your liver. That in the long term will give you diseases. It's going to give us diabetes, it’s going to give us blood pressure problems, it’s going to give us heart attacks, it’s going to give us strokes. And that’s where the essence of the problem is.

Now how do we control that? We need to know what we are putting in. And we need to know how to get it out.

Now, how do we get it out? You know our body has many ways of using energy but the two main ways are is one that we call “metabolism”—that’s the magic word right? And how to understand metabolism; I think probably the easiest way to put it, as a technical term, is basically the metabolic rate. But to put it a little more simply, the amount of energy that your body uses to keep you alive.

If you get in your car in the morning, you turn it on, don’t move it all day long and just leave it there, your car is going to gas.

Arlean: It’s going to use gas, whether it is moving or not.

Dr. Jacome: ...because it has to keep the engine running, right? Our body does the same thing. Whether we move or don’t move, our body uses energy to keep our heart pumping, to keep our brain working, to keep us breathing. The amount of energy that our bodies use to keep us alive—that’s our metabolism.

Arlean: Wow! I used to do something and I have to say this; don’t try this at home! I would get up in the morning and I would go through the course of the day and not eat. I would have a peppermint or two just to function. Because I didn’t really like eating out a lot, I wanted to be home and eat my meals. So in my mind, I processed that I’m doing a good thing by not eating and I’m going to save all of my calories and I'm going to have a balanced meal when I get home. Well the danger and the detriment is my glucose levels which were like 40/45.

Dr. Jacome: It your body’s perception of what you’re doing, so you know when you think about dieting and you say, “okay, I’m going to eat right” or “I’m going to decrease the amount of calories and I’m going to be good”, and the moment that you reduce the amount of calories to be able to lose weight, your body’s perception is not yours. You’re thinking, “okay, I’m going to lose some weight, I’m going to lower calories”, well your body thinks you are starving.

Arlean: We go into starvation mode!

Dr. Jacome: Yeah, we will go into starvation. Your body has to defend it because starvation will lead to death. We were made to survive. So how is your body going to defend against the little amount of calories that you are eating? It’s going to sabotage your metabolism.

How important is your metabolism for weight loss? It’s very important! Let me give you a little example. I eat 1,500 calories; let’s say my metabolism alone uses 1,500 calories, which means that any exercise or activity that I do during the day is going to help me lose weight.

But what if my metabolism, instead of being 1,500 calories is only 500? Then you have 1,000 calories at the end of the day that I need to either exercise them off or do something with it if I don’t want to gain weight.

Now, is it easy or difficult to use 1,000 calories in energy by exercising?

Arlean: I would say easy.

Dr. Jacome: Easy? So that's one of the myths, right? So if I go to the gym and I say, “okay, I’m going to go to the gym and use 1,000 calories by exercising”’s near impossible! You have to be a professional athlete to be able to consistently do that.

To give you an example: if I go on a treadmill, and the speed of the treadmill I put it all the way up to six, I would have to run 10 miles in a row in use 1,000 calories!

Arlean: Get out!

Dr. Jacome: So it’s a tremendous amount of exercise. So the average person, the average female, will burn between 93 to 96 calories per mile run, not walk. Run!

Arlean: Does that have anything to do with height and weight and age?

Dr. Jacome: It does have some variance, but we’re talking the average person. Somebody that is 6’10”, 200 pounds of muscle is going to burn a lot more

Arlean: ...because it’s muscle?

Dr. Jacome: Yes, because it is muscle. But if you talk about the average population a guy will burn about 100 calories per mile run and a female between 93 and 96 calories per mile run. Now if you walk, you are pretty much cutting that in half. So that is the other misconception. What do we think exercise really is?

In some talks that I have with my patients, I ask, “are you exercising?”. They say, “yes, you know I go walk around Walmart, and I go to the mall, and I get my activities in…”

Arlean: *laughing* I walk around Walmart!

Dr. Jacome: That is also the misconception; what is the difference between activity and exercise? You know exercise creates an impact on your body while activity is what your body is used to doing.

Arlean: It is what your body is used to doing; you burn calories when you do activities but you are not burning them the way you would burn them if you were exercising.

Dr. Jacome: Exactly right! So understanding that the amount that we put know another little example; a Big Mac meal from McDonalds, 1,100 calories! I eat that for lunch, I have to go run 11 miles just to get rid of the energy that I ate for lunch! So being accountable for what we eat is also extremely important. And understanding what we are putting inside our body that we need to get rid of if we don’t want to gain weight.

Arlean: Yeah, wow that is powerful and profound and thank you for dispelling some myths that I had in my head to justify what I want to do!

Dr. Jacome: Yes, the other myth that “I’m going to run today to eat later”, don’t do that! It doesn’t work

Arlean: ...and don’t have a peppermint and think that you are saving your calories until the end of the day. That is just crazy! But if you find that you’re in a situation and you’ve done everything that you could in your own power, Live Healthy MD is in Augusta, Georgia on Washington Road and in Dublin.

Dr. Jacome: And in Dublin!

Arlean: Right and we will have the information on the screen. And I want you to tune in every week because Dr. Francisco Jacome will be here sharing this information and tips so that we all can live healthy. We will be right back after the break!

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