A calorie is a calorie. Or is it? Everyone is familiar with calories. We all know they serve as energy and their intake is the cause of changes in our body weight. What many do not know however is not all calories are the same. More specifically, it has to do with the source, whether it is food or drink.
Some people have suggested all calories are the same. If you consume 100 calories by eating a medium apple, it provides the same amount of energy as 100 calories from soda. Theoretically, this is true. But if you consider other facets of nutrition you will quickly realize it is irrational to say what you eat does not matter as much as how many calories you consume.
There is such a thing as good and bad calories. Think of calories as the amount of energy required to convert a particular amount of food to fuel. You might get four calories from a gram of carbohydrates or a gram of protein. Consuming high-calorie foods means more energy is released and more effort is needed to use them up. When too many calories are not used, those calories are stored as adipose tissue.
Consuming say 1200 calories a day can help you lose weight, but if most of those calories come from bad calories, you will gain weight.
Glycemic index is another factor especially important for people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
To lose weight, you have to manage your calories and your intake of carbohydrates. Eating an adequate amount of protein and healthy fats are also key.
Again, theoretically, you could lose weight by eating junk food if you ensure you adhere to your caloric limits. But it is more difficult. And you will likely deprive yourself of needed nutrients, which could disrupt the balance in your body. Why is it more difficult? Let’s say you have to eat a maximum of 1700 calories a day to lose a pound of fat each week. If all you eat are three cheeseburgers, you will reach your limit, so you space them apart. Considering only the calories, this would be the same as eating two cooked meals along with some healthy snacks throughout the day.
It is harder to lose weight with this type of plan because it is unhealthy eating…
- little fiber,
- too many (harmful) fats, and
- not enough vitamins and minerals.
When you eat healthily, you feel full for longer periods. Your energy levels remain high. And you do not leave yourself vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies, which can come back to bite you later on.It is much more prudent to lose weight by focusing on foods from the five food groups. It should be no surprise the most efficient method to lose fat is the traditional way. It is unrealistic to claim all calories are the same.