Calories are measured by burn. The testing device is called a bomb calorimeter. So in a literal sense energy is energy.
However, we also know that not all foods are created equal. A high sugar diet will leave you overweight, sick, diabetic and even malnourished whether over or under your body’s calorie needs. Let’s even think a moment about what an alcoholic might look getting all calories from booze? Healthy and fit? Nope. Not even if he or she runs and does push-ups. Clearly, not all calories mean the same thing to your results.
Meet the major Macronutrients for getting fixed up from the inside. Protein, carbohydrates (carbs), and dietary fats. You need some proportion of all. Now back to our bomb calorimeter, Foods that are 100% carb have a tested calorie count of approximately 4 calories per gram, protein is also 4 calories per gram and fats are 9 calories per gram. As much as dietary fats are healthy and improve hormone balance they are still higher in calories and don’t get a free pass in quantity in your diet regardless of what proportion they take in your nutrition.
Micronutrients and phytonutrients in foods especially colorful vegetables are the vitamins and minerals. These figure into overall health as well and in those the calories are often very low calories for your return in health. Bonus!
Real nutrition includes taking appropriate macronutrient portions as well as calorie moderation, to the next level. Avoiding overly processed foods means that the nutrition you do eat is food that serves a purpose. The wholesome proteins, fats, and carbs in the right balance with a reduced reliance on processed foods.
Food additives like added oils, sugars and salts and non-nutritious additive chemicals can cause weight gain regardless of calorie burn. Eating too much of any one food, bingeing, or too much at any one meal can cause weight gain.
Your body is a perpetual motion machine. Keep it fed nutrition not junk. Feel better and look good! Eat the healthy.
Samantha is a Precision Nutrition trained nutrition consultant and NASM Certified Personal Trainer now located in Hickory NC and taking nutrition and personal training clients.