Are All Calories Created Equal?

When someone states that all calories are equal in the body no matter where they come from, they are technically correct, but this statement is also wildly inaccurate. Calories are only equal once the food you have consumed has been broken down into its simplest units, once they are ready to stoke your metabolic fire, and not until then. It is not rocket science to figure out that from getting your food off the grocery store shelves, to your stomach, and then ultimately your cells, not all food is created equally. It is not even arguable that some foods bring you great nutritional benefit while others only bring you empty calories that are devoid of any nutritional value.  Wholesome, unprocessed or minimally processed foods bring vitamins, phytochemicals, minerals and trace elements into your diet. These are nutritional components we all need in order to live healthy lives. On the other hand, junk foods and heavily processed, ready to eat meals often only provide us with a temporary relief from hunger pains. Soon after the consumption of poor quality foods, we easily find ourselves in search of a snack or two to fill the void until our next meal.

The overall quality of a given food you consume directly influences the balance of nutrients versus other bad ingredients that only lead us to poor health over a lifetime. Peanut butter can be a great source for protein, unsaturated fat, phytochemicals and even vitamins. But when you buy the cheapest peanut butter on the shelf, you will find they are often loaded with refined sugar and harmful trans-fats. While we might want to eat only the best foods available in our grocery stores, I understand this is not always economically feasible for many people. However, if you are a careful shopper, you can often find medium priced options that are also much healthier than the bargain basement foods.  Yes, you can still eat healthy while living on a budget, it just takes pre-planning and a little bit of label reading. This is still far less expensive than buying all kinds of sugar laden junk foods and then spending your grocery savings on medical bills later. Your focus should be on eating whole foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates — like crackers, cookies, or white breads.

Are fat and cholesterol the dietary “bad guys”?

A misleading study funded by the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) from the 1960s found that cholesterol and fat were the main contributors to weight gain, and  were also responsible for an increased risk for coronary heart disease. The results of this “study” jump-started America’s decades-long consumption of added sugar. With fat removed, food lost taste and appeal, so manufacturers added sugar to combat this. America’s intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates went up, while our intake of fat went down. As a result of this fraudulent study, our nation now has an obesity epidemic that did not exist prior to the 1960s. It cannot be denied, these highly processed carbohydrates are worse than the fats they replaced. Simply look at the size of all the people you see around you the next time you are out in public. Sadly, our children are also paying the price for this fallacy of replacing fats with sugar. We now have children in America who also have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. I truly find this to be deplorable on many levels.

When you look at our obesity problem around the world, there should be charges brought against these so called researchers involved with this biased study, as they were in fact paid by the Sugar Research Foundation to arrive at their conclusions that favored sugar over healthy fats. It is more than obvious to me, their research was tainted due to a humongous conflict of interest. The SRF, and thus the researchers paid by the SRF — directly benefited from the results of this 1960s study, and they profited tremendously from the uptick in sugar sales, while consumers made health decisions on the basis of questionable information. (1)

Carbohydrate Calories

It is a simple and well known fact that more calories are found in fat than carbohydrates, including sugar. To one with little to no nutritional knowledge, it might appear that a sugary beverage is better for you calorically than a handful of nuts. But, that is just not how it works. If we look only at calories, we ignore the metabolic effects each calorie brings to us. The source of your calories absolutely changes how you digest it and how you retrieve energy from it.

For several years now, carbohydrates have been referred to as either complex or simple. Now days, you might hear more about a foods glycemic index than which type of carb they are. I personally like using the glycemic index, however, I find it might be a little bit too much for some who are new to losing weight, so I will stick to referring to carbs as either complex or simple in my articles. But here is a synopsis of  how the glycemic index works:

 An apple is a simple carbohydrate because it is digested quickly by the body, but fruit is better for you than other simple carbohydrates like chips or crackers because fruit has a fiber component that helps to control your blood sugar from spiking when you consume it. Apples have a fairly low glycemic index rating while watermelon is pretty high on the index because of their difference in fiber content. When a food is low on the glycemic index, it will raise your blood sugar levels slowly, while increasing your insulin levels gradually which is what we want to happen. Conversely, high-glycemic foods cause blood sugar to rise quickly, which prompts the overproduction of insulin and fat storage.  Once we have had too many insulin spikes over time, the result is your body becomes insulin resistant.  When your body stops responding to the insulin it is producing, we end up with type 2 diabetes.

By following the David’s Way Plan of quitting sugar and processed foods, you can and will, lose more weight, feel fuller longer, and remain healthier. Do not be afraid to go back to consuming fat in your diet, just make sure it’s the healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts. Your body will thank you for this. And please, unless you really just like the flavor, quit buying the low fat and no fat products and begin enjoying your food again.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Violet says:

    Another A++++ David…thank you for the awesome information, invaluable!

    1. David Yochim says:

      Thank you Linda. Brenda Sue and I do this as a labor of love to help others in weight loss and management. I feel losing weight not only requires wanting to do so, but people also need to be armed with great nutritional information which we work hard at providing. Your kind affirmation of our work means a lot to us my friend.

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