Calories Are Not Created Equal

I learned one thing at the very beginning of my quest to change my diet.  Not all calories are created equal.  Doctors and weight loss gurus tell us if we restrict our calories, we’ll lose weight.  Sound advice, right?  You decide when I’m done.

The concept that ‘a calorie is a calorie’ underlies most conventional weight loss strategies.  According to this principle, obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure.  The proposed cure is to eat less and exercise more.  However, calorie-restricted, low-fat diets have poor long-term effectiveness in the outpatient setting.  In a sense, these diets may constitute symptomatic treatment that does not address the physiological drives to overeat.  From a hormonal standpoint, all calories are not alike”   ~David Ludwig, M.D.

When I first blogged about my diet change, I told you that women need 1,800 calories a day and men need 2,400 a day to stay out of starvation mode.  Anything less, we put ourselves into starvation and our bodies work harder to keep the weight on that we have rather than let go of it.  Calories are the fuel in our food.  There are different types of calories just like we have different types of gas for our vehicles.

Here we go back to sugar.  If you eat something made with sugar, an altered form of sugar (high fructose corn syrup), or other refined foods, it rapidly enters the bloodstream.  Any calories we don’t burn at that moment gets stored as fat.  This is because it enters the bloodstream so fast that it has to be dealt with right then and there.  However, take the sugar that gets converted from eating beans.  It enters the bloodstream slowly over time and gives our body a better chance of burning the calories and not storing them as fat.  Plus, beans are high in fiber meaning all the calories won’t be stored.

I mentioned before the term nutrigenomics, the communication between the foods we eat and our body.  The types of food we eat each send messages to our body and whole foods speak our body’s language.  Different types of food metabolize in different ways and different types of calories affect our metabolism in different ways.  Calories are energy and information that is communicated by our food.  If you go by the minimum number of calories we need to have a full tank each day and not put ourselves in starvation mode, then good.  But what kind of calories are you consuming?  I’ve been down that road.  Counting calories and watching what I eat.  I was miserable! It was a chore and in the end, it did nothing for me.

Now, I don’t count calories at all and I only watch what I eat when we go out, which is rare.  I carefully, plan my grocery shopping and stay on the outskirts of the store with an occasional foray into the middle for something here and there.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I tend to be a tad OCD.  Okay, a lot OCD.  My shopping lists are separated into the following categories: fruits/veggies, meats, dairy, pre-packaged, bulk and non-food.  There was a time when the list was mostly composed of pre-packaged, refined foods and therefore low quality calories.  Now my list is heavy in the fruit/veggies meaning high quality calories.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I may not be 100%, but I feel better and eating whole foods has become second nature and I don’t even have to think about it.  No counting calories, no counting carbs, no checking fats, no counting points.  No muss.  No fuss.  Just the way I like it.



  1. I love the quote by J.J. Virgin: “Your body is not a bank account. It’s a chemistry lab.”

    Sums up this post very nicely. Right on, Sis!

  2. Pingback: Article Sharing « Hunter's Lyonesse

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