Why are fruits and veggies better than high fattening foods?

This post is inspired by my Biology class that just started up. I have always hated the sciences and barely made it through each class. Now for my Elementary Ed degree I have to take a few of them. So I decided to have an open mind – and I actually learned something!

This question (blog post title) may seem obvious and to an extent it is. We all know the nutrients in fruits and veggies supersede those of high fattening foods (DUH!!) and that they have fewer calories. No brainer, I know. However the value of a calorie in fruits and veggies is worth a lot more than the value of a calorie in high fattening foods.

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I wanted a better way to explain to those trying to lose weight exactly what it means to gain fat – the real affect of the high fattening foods on our bodies. When my professor explained all of this to us in terms of energy, something clicked and it made so much sense to me! I will do my best to explain it a lot simpler than he did!

The foods we eat, healthy or not, are made up entirely of atoms and bonds. To keep this simple, lets think of the atoms as O and the bonds as . If you look at a fruit in terms of atoms it probably looks like:

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=                                 O

Therefore, our bodies can instantly break it down for energy to be used immediately. (Ever wonder why coaches tell athletes they can eat fruit in the middle of a game?) This is also why people on a vegetarian diet need to eat a little more regularly than others, because the energy they get from their foods is used up immediately causing them to be hungry sooner.

A food such as rice might look like this:

Unknown-2                           =               O–O

Here, our bodies need to break down the bond before they can break down the atom for energy. Because there are 2 atoms(or more), there is more energy but it takes longer for the body to break it down. (This is why athletes eat meals high in carbohydrates the night before a game or race).

Both structures (or my attempt at structures) are both very simple. Both are also foods (or foods similar) that are low in calorie and fat. They give our bodies good energy.

Now check out the structure of a triglyceride, or a food high in fat. I had to find one, because drawing one using a keyboard would have been impossible:

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See how many bonds that have to be broken before our bodies can even start breaking down the atoms for energy? Beyond that, the amount of energy created is more than we use up doing daily activities.

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So unless we workout or use up that excess energy it is stored in our bodies as fat. And we will probably eat ANOTHER meal, with more energy to break down, in the amount of time it takes to break down this energy.

Now, the bond above that I created for the rice might be a little bigger, just as the high fat structure might be a little smaller. However, I hope you can see the complexity of the high fattening food as opposed to the rice or the fruit.

For me, it made so much sense. I hope it did the same for you! I wanted to explain it without scientific jargon so ANYONE can understand. It is easier to grasp these concepts without having to look up every other word!

Like or comment if YOU learned something from this post 🙂