Not all calories are created equal

March 21, 2013


By Betty Murray

The food industry wants you to believe that a calorie is a calorie, no matter the source of that calorie (energy) or where it goes. Cutting calories for weight loss isn’t effective if you’re not cutting out the right kind of calories. Additionally, some calories are actually healthy, and cutting them could negatively affect your health.

Robert Lustig, M.D., provides four examples of different types of calories in this recent Huffington Post article.

Calories from fiber – Your body only absorbs a portion of calories found in fiber-rich foods because the fiber slows the absorption of calories into the bloodstream. The blocked calories are delivered to the intestine, where bacteria consume the calories.

Calories from protein – Foods with high amounts of protein may contain lots of calories, but it takes twice as much energy (calories) for the body to metabolize protein as it does carbohydrates. As you eat protein-rich foods, you burn more calories. Protein also keeps your hunger satisfied longer than carbs.

Calories from fat – Some fats, such as trans fats, are unhealthy and can clog your arteries, whereas other fats, such as omega-3 fats are good for your heart and brain and will lead to a longer, healthier life.

Calories from sugar –– The body burns glucose for energy, but fructose, the sweet sugar chemical is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other health conditions. Fructose affects the body differently than glucose.

If you are attempting to cut calories, look at the types of calories you are cutting from your diet. Start by cutting calories found in sugars and carbs. Reduce your trans fat intake, but don’t cut out omega-3 fatty acids. Remember: not all calories are created equal.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.


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