Nutrition Certification Blog

Are Calories Just Calories?

If you have been or are currently a student of our Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist™ program, you have heard me teach that our system is not based on outdated ideas that are a one-size-fits-all cookie cutter approach to nutrition such as “calories in, calories out, 40-30-30 or 60-20-20.”

Bad Calories Good CaloriesWhen I hear so called “experts” emphasizing the calories of a meal plan without regard to the quality of the calories, it drives me crazy.  If I gave you 600 calories of donuts, fries and a shake (if that’s even possible to be just 600 calories), or lean chicken, broccoli and brown rice, we would have two totally different results.

When you fill your body with nutritionally dense options versus nutritionally deficient options, your body will respond accordingly.

What you put into your body manifests into how you feel, sleep, respond, and look!

I recently came across a great article by Kris Gunners, entitled “Top 5 Contenders For The Worst Nutrition Advice in History” that clearly outlined exactly what I have been teaching…

The excessive focus on calories is one of the biggest mistakes in the history of nutrition.

It is the myth that it is the caloric value of foods that matters most, not the foods that the calories are coming from.

The truth is… calories are important, but that doesn’t mean we need to count them or even be consciously aware of them. Humans were the healthiest and leanest way before they knew that calories existed.

It’s important to realize that different foods have different effects on the hormones and brain centers that control what, when and how much we eat… as well as the number of calories we burn.

Here are two examples of why a calorie is NOT a calorie:

  • Protein: Eating a high protein diet can boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day and significantly reduce appetite and cravings. Protein calories have a different effect than carb or fat calories.
  • Satiety: Many studies show that different foods have varying effects on satiety (feelings of fullness). You need much fewer calories to feel full from eggs or boiled potatoes, compared to donuts or ice cream.Macronutrients, calories

There are many more examples of foods and macronutrients having vastly different effects on hunger and hormones.

The myth that calories are all that matters for weight (and health) is completely wrong.

Bottom Line: The idea that calories are more important than food quality is a huge mistake. Different foods directly affect the hormones and brain centers that control our eating habits.

© 2016 Lucho Crisalle, CEO, Exercise & Nutrition Works, Inc.

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