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Why All Calories Are Not Created Equal

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about weight loss, healthy lifestyle change, & dieting?

Was your first thought "calories?"

Truth is, we have been lead to believe that calories, or rather counting calories, is the most important component to losing weight, dieting. While energy in versus energy out is a prime factor, it's equally important to consider the QUALITY (food sources & food groups) of those calories.

A calorie is simply a unit for measuring energy. Your body uses calories or the various sources of energy differently. Each type of energy source has an effect on how the body regulates and balances your energy, hormones, cellular activity, bodily functions, etc.

Let us give you a quick example:

Can you eat 100 calories of candy versus 100 calories of broccoli? Of course you can! The difference is the quality! We all know that candy will satisfy your sweet craving, provide mental delight, and maybe induce some nostalgia. Technically, that’s the ONLY benefit. The broccoli, on the other hand, is a better quality food, has the same amount of calories, and nutritionally, provides additional nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, plant proteins, etc…The nutrient-density of the broccoli makes making it a BetterChoice, calorie for calorie.

Here’s the takeaway: Calories are equal…in meaning only. Understand, your body treats them differently. This is why making better decisions about your food consumption and your daily activity is so important. What you eat matters. A good lifestyle habit to adopt is to be sure you consume foods that are nutritionally sound. This small chance will provide you the right fuel to burn those calories, increase your metabolism, & improve your overall health & wellness.

Here are 3 quick tips to help you “clean up” those calories:

  1. Balance your meals: The goal is to create a balanced plate at every meal. Make sure to balance your plate by adding healthy fats, good carbs, and lean sources of protein. Both protein and whole foods require more energy to digest than more processed foods. This simple tip will ensure you get the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body systems need. It will also ensure you have lasting energy as well. You will be surprised how much more you can eat when you improve the quality of the calorie source.

  2. Eat foods with higher satiety index: Simply stated, eat foods that will keep you feeling full longer. Sweet, salty, & savory snacks will satisfy you for the moment. We can tell you from experience, it is easy to consume 500 calories in cookies than it is to eat 500 calories in veggies & protein. By increasing your consumption of protein and fiber rich foods, you will notice a considerable shift in your energy levels. Make it a personal goal to consume more whole grains, fiber rich vegetables, leaner proteins, and fruit.

  3. Watch the ADDED SUGARS: Insert the controversy surrounding fructose and glucose. The two are the main simple sugars in our diets. Glucose is metabolized by all of the body’s tissues, whereas, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. Studies have shown it can cause insulin resistance, abdominal fat gain, increased triglycerides, and increase Ghrelin levels (hunger hormone). So, what does that mean for fruit? Nothing. This only applies to fructose from ADDED SUGARS and not fructose in fruit. Remember, fruits ALSO provide fiber, vitamins, and additional benefits. Glucose, on the other hand, comes from nearly all carbohydrate containing foods like fruits and breads. Other carbohydrate foods include dried fruits, honey, syrups, grains, beans, vegetables, and nuts.

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