"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


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