Calories: are they all the same?

Date: May 23, 2018   

Are all calories made equal? This is an interesting question and in honesty the jury is still out. It depends on the context of your question, and I will do my best to address it here.

When it comes to weight loss, calories are all the same. Whether you eat 2000 calories of broccoli, or 2000 calories of donuts; it is the same number of calories.

How you feel in the period afterwards, and the long-term impact on your health will be very different, but the energy you consume, and it’s impact on short-term weight loss will be the same.

Different foods have different numbers of calories; with protein and carbohydrates having 4 calories per gram, while fats have 9 calories per gram. You can clearly see that you will be able to eat more food if you eat protein and carbohydrates, to end up with the same total calories.

However, if we go back to the broccoli vs donuts example; eating broccoli is filling because it’s high in fibre and nutrients. Eating donuts tends to cause a blood sugar spike, and subsequent crash, making us quickly hungry again. This happens because it is high in sugar and fat.

While the calorie loads are the same, the impact on behaviour is going to be different. When you have an energy crash you’re going to reach for more calories, more sugar; to give yourself more energy.

This means eating the high sugar food is going to make it harder to eat the right foods and the right number of calories for the rest of the day.

While a calorie is a calorie in terms of energy, it is not the same in its impact on the body. In conclusion, calories are in one way all the same, but in another way they can have a very different impact on the body, and your fitness goals.

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