"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


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