"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

All calories are not created equal

Lisa Cutforth - Monday, June 17, 2013

Many of my clients have heard me arc up at "low calorie diets".  Here's why.

All calories are not created equal and a calorie does not give reference to the nutritional value of a food other than how much energy it "yields" in a laboratory, nor does it tell us how the body will use it. 

Just because two meals have the same amount of calories does not mean:

- They will fill you up equally

- They will satisfy you in the same way

- They will meet the same needs (nutrition, satiety or other)

- They are equally healthy

- They will be as effective at helping you lose or control your weight

- Or that they will be broken down, used or stored in the same way by the body.

The body deals with different foods differently, and an emphasis on nutrient dense (or high nutrient) (and probably "whole food") is more important than an emphasis on "low calorie", for health AND FOR WEIGHT LOSS.

A study done on two groups of people found that the people who ate more junk food, had lower nutrient levels in their blood despite eating more actual food and more calories than the other group.  So they had bigger appetites, ate more food and were less nourished than the group who ate healthier food (and were satisfied eating less).

Another study by Harvard confirmed that weight loss is not just about the amount of calories we consume but also about the type of food the calories come from:

"In a 2012 Harvard study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 21 over- weight and obese young adults tried three different test diets—a low-fat diet, a very low-carb/high-protein diet, and a low-glycemic index diet—for four weeks at a time.

Each diet consisted of the same number of calories but differed in their protein, fat, and carbohy- drate content. In the low-glycemic index diet, participants ate carbohydrates that are digested and broken down slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels (e.g. low-processed foods such as fiber-rich whole grains, nuts, or beans).

The result? Researchers found that the low-glycemic index diet actually speeds up metabolism and helps burn calories, making you lose weight faster, suggesting that all calories are not equal.

According to to an author of the study, David Ludwig, M.D., a professor in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, “from a metabolic perspective, all calories are not alike, [and] the quality of the calories going in affects the number of calories going out.”

In other words,"Low Calorie" on it's own is not where the "magic" is. "Low calorie diet" can be ambiguous and misleading.  Calorie restriction is an effective weight control method (and in fact can also increase longevity), when done in the context of good nutrition principles. Calorie restriction should not be done ignorantly or at the expense of good nutrition, or it can actually compromise health and sabotage weight loss.

Source: Healthy Solutions to Lose Weight and Keep It Off, http://www.health.harvard.edu/


Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


healthy shopping happiness workshop four questions you must ask your doctor before taking medication performance muffins indigestion comfort foods assertiveness ask my doctor strength Cancer nutritious cooking addicted to chocolate diet diary of a nutritionist organic vegetables life feels good comfort pig 7 Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol and Protect Your Heart libido empty your mind are frozen veggies any good avoiding a choice what is healthy food memory detox healthy shopping list lunch to know and not do is not yet to know leaky gut, gut health, symptoms of leaky gut how to avoid injury during exercise childrens lunch boxes ability to respond heart disease Egg allergy muscle wasting taking a break happiness course Nina Simone how to check your breasts benefits of sleeping delicious high cholesterol cooking with allergies fruit healthy cooking demonstration sugar and adhd how to say no have more energy natural alternatives to drugs how to avoid doing the right thing and getting the wrong results 7 steps to detox weight loss cheap fruit and vegetables, what's in season in autumn in australia focus keep focused ways to improve prostate health relationship with food diet diary health for busy people maintain a healthy weight, underweight skipping meals homocysteine taking responsibility fresh start drugfree alternatives weightloss health pioneers weight sexy salad seasonal quick and tasty recipes Happiness time management and healthy living gift dance sexy salads wrong type of exercise, exercise and results calorie controlled diet alzheimers new year's resolutions reasons to eat foods in season overindulge soft drink and behaviour problems sustainable living, rural development, organic gardening, rampumps, biogas fruit and vegetable shortage recipe healthy cooking party fun breast cancer awareness video hot guys making time to relax quick recipes motivation the power to choose I've Got Life sensitivity to milk fussy eaters recipes for allergies life choices allergies recipies Sensational comfort eating hunger and stress corporate wellness salad skip meals natural toothpaste breakfast healthy cooking parties healthy fast food, healthy take away image reducing coffee support your body Dr Randy Pausch on Oprah love food is chocolate bad for me low calorie meal plan cholesterol lowering diet energy how to love exercise I don't get hungry Lactose intolerance food intolerances food allergies dangers of multitasking while you eat how to get more of exercise pop-eye and spinach fatigue health one step at a time should I eat organic veggies Lisa's Diary is sugar bad nutritious immune system health which is better for you butter or margarine nutrition soccer, role of team sports in longevity, role of exercise and community in longevity Alan Pease prostate cancer nutritionists diet diary music breast cancer prevention mood real food are grains healthy control obesity improve your memory Nutritional Therapist low calorie diet what is a good breakfast mobile phones and brain cancer, Dr Teo nutritionist in brisbane what is movember benefits of strength training, why you should strength train quizz brain health heart foundation tick explained have fun in the kitchen blood pressure celebrate life success and you fun fresh stress, keys to managing stress, benefits of stress how to be happy breast cancer awareness love, loneliness immune boosting tips best exercise go for 2 and 5 soft drink and behavior problems increasing energy Add new tag Laughter and stress foods in season, seasonal recipes 10 % principle relax trans fats christmas anxiety benefits to keeping a diet diary gluten intolerance make stress work for you nutritionist quick eating solutions getting fit food sensitivities the tummy beast herbal toothpaste do i have to drink milk; where do i get calcium from; non dairy calcium sources health with 10 % effort life lessons simple 7 day detox plan cooking class in brisbane dancing great second hand books sugar and add low cholesterol healthy wine, healthy beer, healthy alcohol options