"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/


Recent Posts


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