"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


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