A Calorie Is Not Just A Calorie

Many still believe that if you just simply cut back on calories, let’s say 500 calories less consumed daily, then that is the key to weight loss. Well, it’s just not that simple. If it were, then we wouldn’t have so many problems with obesity today. Then we hear of weight loss trends that are based on point systems to keep track of calories. These systems encourage poor eating habits, sometimes a person depriving themselves for hours just to have a meal or dessert at the end of the day. This in turn will destroy your metabolism. Simply cutting back on calories can help you lose some weight temporarily, but don’t count on it to be a permanent solution to weight loss. There are many factors involved.

The word “Calorie” originates from the Latin derivative Calor which means Heat.

Heat = Energy

We get our calories from food which provides our body with the energy and nutrients it needs for everything to function properly, including our metabolism, the fuel we need to loose weight.

Fact #1- Not all calories are created equal.

A calorie, simply just a calorie?

The answer to this question is NO. Foods do not affect our bodies in the same ways. They impact our bodies in different ways (positive or negative) and get processed differently through our metabolism pathways.

Quiz: Which is a better food choice, a 100 calorie bag of chocolate chip cookies or a 400 calorie avocado?

Chocolate Chip CookieAvocado Health Benefits

Correct Answer: The body regards both items differently. To the cookie is says “ this is packed with sugar and chemicals, I cannot break this down. This will affect my hormones and cause me to store and gain weight.” But to the avocado it says “Hey, I know exactly what to do with you. I can break you down and utilize you completely.” The number of calories is not what we need to look at when making the right choices of what we put in our mouths.

We have been told “Read the labels!” But we have not been reading the right part of the labels. Forget the caloric count and read the ingredients. Just because a food is lower in calories does not make it healthier. Ask yourself, is this food in its natural state for my body to recognize it? If the answer is no, put it down because if you don’t, you will see and feel the consequences. Now if the answer is yes, go for it!

The foods we eat can directly affect the hormones that regulate when and how much we eat, our energy levels, mood, and digestion and how our body is able to detoxify on a daily basis.

Fact #2 Consuming excess calories is not the only reason people are overweight.

What is it that is causing us to consume so many calories in the first place?

They say that the only way to lose weight is to eat less, move more and that it is any individual’s responsibility to keep calories balanced.

Not all Calories are Equal

We need to stop blaming calories! It is not the calories’ fault. They are not the enemy. They are simply a measure of the energy your consuming which your body uses. Calories are essential to provide you with the energy you need for fitness, helping to keep your muscles working, your mind focused, your heart beating, and your total health. Simply restricting your fuel can actually inhibit your weight loss results. Its where the calories are coming from that we need to be worried about. Are they high in trans fats and causing your body to be in an inflammatory state?

Calorie scale

No matter what the caloric count is, the following foods cannot be fully digested and will end up getting stored as toxic waste.

Waste = Weight

  • Commercially prepared, processed foods
  • All sodas (including diet)
  • All frozen lean-style diets
  • All manufactured low-carb/calorie weight loss systems
  • Flavor additives to water –contain artificial sweeteners, sugars, dyes etc.
  • Heavy, creamy foods
  • Dairy from cows
  • Precooked foods
  • Sugar free desserts

It’s enough that we are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis. So why keep poisoning and congesting your body with processed foods,  that are hard to digest and eliminate? This will put a huge burden on your system, slowing it down and making it susceptible to disease. Ever heard of the term “Auto-Intoxication”?

I hope you never fall into the trap of thinking that eating foods that are “low-fat” or “low calorie” will keep you leaner. Remember, that the most natural foods are recognizable to the body and can be broken down completely and utilized, meanwhile unnatural foods cannot be broken down and will contributed to the slowing of your metabolism, weight gain, congestion, toxic build up, and premature aging.

So what do we look for when choosing our foods?

Since different foods can have varying effects on our health and well-being, we want to choose foods that are easy to digest, keep us satisfied, balance our blood sugar, insulin, leptin and grehlin hormone levels, and also keep our metabolism burning at an optimal level. This includes foods that are low in the glycemic index, anti-inflammatory and are in their most natural state.

Choose foods based on color that comes from the earth.

Evoo & Vegs.

From best to worst, here is a quick reference of foods to choose**:

1.       Raw fruits and vegetables (if organic, even better) such as apples, melons, pineapples, coconuts, grapes, bananas, avocados, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach and other green leafy vegetables.

 2.       Low starch vegetables- lightly steamed such as zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, etc.(pretty much everything except for white potatoes, acorn & butternut squash, use sparingly).

 3.       Raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.

 4.       Cold pressed or stone-pressed plant oils, raw- olive oil, flax seed oil.

 5.       Cooked starchy vegetables- winter squash (acorn, butter nut & spaghetti), sweet potatoes, and yellow squash.

 6.       Raw unpasteurized dairy products, preferably from sheep or goat.

 7.       Whole grains- brown rice, oats millet, whole wheat, couscous.

 8.       Animal flesh -Fish and sea food-wild salmon, sardines, cod, grass fed, free range meat, hormone free.

9.       Natural Sweeteners only such as raw honey, agave and stevia.

 10.   Sweets- dark chocolate 70%+ and wine.

** You may also use the Anti-Inflammatory food pyramid as a guide.

Conclusion- lets not obsess over calories, and focus on eating healthy, natural foods that are low-glycemic and anti-inflammatory. By doing so, weight loss will just be a great side affect, and the pounds will drop effortlessly because it will balance your system so you will never have to struggle with your weight again. And if weight is not your issue, you will still feel full of vitality, energy and alive as your body is in a balanced state. This is optimal health. 


This article is copyrighted material written by the following author

Fernanda Santiago is a Health Professional, Weight Loss Coach, and Licensed Massage Therapist. She specializes in helping people achieve optimal wellness using alternative treatments. She helps people look and feel great from the inside out.  She is an Educator in Natural Health and wellness. Read more on her bio here.