True or False: All calories are equal

True or False: All calories are equal

Food TalkThis seems a trick question! When you look at the definition of a calorie the dictionary will tell us that it is a unit equal to the kilocalorie, used to express the heat output of an organism and the fuel or energy value of food. This would lead us to believe that all calories are then equal, because regardless of where each calorie comes from, it provides us a unit of energy.

On the flip side of that (I always enjoy being the devil’s advocate) the quality of a calorie can be drastically different. Let’s take a look…


You can eat an Original Glaze Krispy Kreme doughnut for 200 calories.


For the same 200 calories you could sauté the following list of vegetables and enjoy as part of your meal:
½ cup tomatoes
½ cup bell peppers
½ cup spinach
½ cup mushrooms
½ cup broccoli
½ cup asparagus
½ cup onion
½ cup carrots
½ cup cauliflower

That’s right, for 200 calories you get the whole list of vegetables, that’s 4 ½ cups of goodness!!!

It is more important to think of the quality of your calories versus just worrying about calorie consumption. If you choose the 4 ½ cups of vegetables you’re not only receiving the 200 calories you desire for energy but you’re filling your body with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to fight disease and keep you healthy!

The Krispy Kreme doughnut is void of antioxidants, lacks vitamins and minerals and is high in trans-fat and sugar. This food product will disrupt your system and feed disease in the body.

While it is important to consider calories in –vs- calories out for weight loss and weight management, it is even more important to make sure the fuel you put in your body comes from nutrient-dense whole foods. It would be pretty challenging for anyone to eat 4 ½ cups of vegetables in one sitting because there would be too much volume, compared to our ability to eat the Krispy Kreme in a few minutes. Outside of a check-in here and there, I am not a believer of calorie-counting and would rather have you focus on giving your body the right fuel for best success. When you live this way, you will have a healthy relationship with food, without restriction.

Life is full of choices and we cannot expect ourselves to be perfect 100% of the time. My hope for you is that you choose wisely 80% of the time (or more); eating plant-based, nutrient-dense foods so you can soak up all the health benefits and feel well. For the other 20% of the time, enjoy a special treat if you desire…of course, try to choose a whole food treat to avoid trans fats and large amounts of sugar. 

So is the answer TRUE or FALSE? I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

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