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Is A Calorie Just A Calorie?

February 03, 2015 2 min read

This seems to be a very debatable topic! It often can depend on who you ask. If you eat fewer calories than you burn you will lose weight. For example – if you burn 2000 calories a day, but only consume 1500, you will lose weight. It doesn't matter if those calories are from cookies or chicken and broccoli. However, one thing is for sure – 1500 calories of junk food will leave you far unhealthier, not just thinner than if you eat 1500 calories of protein, fruits and veggies. Even if you do lose weight from eating fewer calories than you use, it doesn't necessarily mean than all calories are created equal. You may have heard that celery has negative calories. How can this be so? Well it takes more energy to break down and digest the celery than it contains. Even eating uses calories – to chew, swallow, churn the stomach, pass onto intestines, produce waste, etc. It TAKES energy to digest your food. Energy is what burns calories. So you can burn more calories eating certain foods over others. It is called the thermal effect of food. On average, a person uses about 10% of their daily energy expenses digesting and absorbing food, but this can change depending on the kinds of food you eat. Protein takes the most energy to digest (20-30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it). Next is carbohydrates (5-10%) and then fats (0-3%). Therefore, if you eat 100 calories from protein, your body uses 20-30 of those calories to digest and absorb the protein. You’d be left with 70-80 calories. Pure carbs would leave you with 90-95 calories, and fat would leave you with almost all 100 calories. So saying a calorie is just a calorie is not always accurate. It simply takes more energy to digest and absorb whole foods that it does processed foods. Fiber as well as protein play a role in that as well as they take longer to pass through your digestive system. They also play a role in satiety – leaving you feeling fuller for longer so it can also help you eat less in the long run. So trying to convince yourself that just because you are eating in a deficit you will lose weight is not always the best choice. All calories are not created equal in terms of how healthy they are. Secondly, eating junk food can make you crave MORE junk food making it harder to control your appetite and food intake. Unprocessed foods are typically digested faster leaving you hungry again, and it takes less calories to digest those foods. You can jump start your weight loss efforts but not only eating fewer calories than you burn, but also by choosing the right kinds of foods to burn more energy. Feel free to follow me on my Facebook page or check out more from me on my blog atwww.zuzanaorbodyrockaddict.blogspot.com

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