Is A Calorie Just A Calorie?

Long time readers knows that I’m all about making nutrition simple. There’s no reason to confuse you with complex ideas to make myself sound smart. You all know that I’m brilliant! ┬áIf not, learn more about Jimmy Smith here.

The basic question about physique transformation nutrition is what matters more. What you eat or how much you eat? When you look at long term health, it’s obvious that what you eat is more important but we’re talking about losing as much body fat as possible. It’s VERY true that your daily caloric intake will determine how your body changes.

Yet the food choices influence your calories because only food can manipulate your metabolism. It’s simple, we have to do more then take in.

If you want to lose weight you should eat healthy options like lean meats,fruits, vegetables and other low fat and low carbohydrate options. The DUMBEST recommendation that I hear, and I hear it often, is that people should just focus on eating those healthy options.

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You can’t simply just eat “good”food and expect to lose weight. That’s why all these crazy food diets like the Oreo or Twinkie diet actually work. If you take someone that recklessly eats healthy food and compare him to someone that eats Twinkies but limits his intake to less then he burns, Mr.Twinkie will lose more fat!

Obviously that’s not a healthy food choice and I don’t recommend it, it’s just an example.

What you want to do is weigh the “cost” of each food….

Protein: When you compare protein to carbohydrates and fats the most obvious benefit is that it requires your body to expend more energy to process the protein in any food then it does for the carbohydrates and fats. This led many to proclaim that high protein foods should be the staple of any diet.

Maintaining the constant break down of food is known as the thermic effect of food or TEF. That simply describes the metabolism changes that our body goes through to break down food. Well when we consume protein our body increases its metabolism by 25-30 percent. Compare that to the 2-3 percent from fat and 6-8 percent from carbohydrates (1) and you see the benefits of consuming a high protein diet!

This increased thermic effect has caused increased weight loss in studies.(2)

Fiber: Another “fat loss” food. Fiber has risen in popularity since the calories contained in fiber is less then other carbohydrates (3). Less calories equal more weight loss.

Well diets high in protein and fiber have been shown to reduce hunger so less hunger means that you eat less and lose more. (4,5).

My message: Eat good food most of the time when you want to lose weight. Focus on protein and fiber 90% of the time. Be aware of what you’re eating daily and you can get away with some treats. A calories isn’t just a calorie

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1) Bier DM: The energy cost of protein metabolism. National Academis Press

2) Jequier: Pathways to obesity. Int J Obes, Relat Metab Disord

3) Buchnolz:Is a calorie a calorie? Am J Clin Nutr

4) Nickols:Perceived hunger is lower and weight loss is greater… J Am Diet Assoc

5) Howart NC: Dietary fiber and weight regulation. Nutr Rev

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  1. Gaurav Kapil
    6 years ago

    Good tips. To be honest though my personal experience is that taking Fish Oil or White Butter churned from fresh Milk daily also satiates that every time hungry feeling.

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