A Calorie Is A Calorie
November 7, 2010 § 6 Comments
A calorie is a calorie. We have all heard this saying time and time again. We all want to believe it too. And why not? It is a very convenient statement to make because it is so simple.
As with most things, the truth always lies somewhere in the middle. When we talk about caloric intake, this is definitely an important part of the equation when dealing with energy intake and body composition. If we eat more calories than needed, weight gain should occur. If we don’t eat enough calories, weight loss should occur. These are not guaranteed however. There are other variables however besides strictly focusing on sums of calories.
Think of caloric intake like a savings account. Say you have $1,000, you can do a few things with it – One being you keep it under your mattress for safekeeping. Two you can deposit that same $1,000 into a high interest savings account. It is the same amount of money, but the return on your investment is vastly different. Same goes for caloric intake.
Everyone can agree that 2,000 calories from healthy foods such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, dairy and oils would cause little fat gain and appears to be a very solid day nutritionally. Now lets examine what would happen if that same person were to eat candy, soda, and processed foods throughout the day, but still staying at that 2000 calorie mark. Obviously this would be very unhealthy, as very few essential nutrients would be provided. But proponents of the calorie as an calorie theory would state – that these two diets would produce the same result from a weight standpoint. Huh? How could eating 2000 calories of junk possibly justified?
For example, lets give a poor guy the same diet for a month. For one month straight he eats nothing but 2,000 calories of Oreos daily. Examine his body composition at the end of this month. You might have to scrape him off the ground as he will certainly be too weak and dazed to support himself on his own two feet. Then the next month he eats nothing but 2,000 calories of salmon daily. Check out his physique. Your telling me this guy is going to look exactly the same?
The people that continuously think a calorie is just a calorie ignore body composition, basic health, and other metabolic factors such as hormonal response.
If you are a little skeptical of this calorie is a calorie theory, you should be. Focus on unprocessed natural foods full of protein and nutrients and you will be fine. If you think all calories are created equal go ahead and down those one hundred calorie packs.