A calorie is a calorie is a calorie, right? If you eat less of them, won’t you lose weight? This is true up to a point. If you’re finding that your weight loss is stagnating, it may be the types of calorie you’re eating that are sabotaging you. Here’s how to pick the best calories, and why these calories matter to you.
What Is a Calorie?
First of all, you need to know what a calorie is. It’s really just a unit of measurement, like a pound, or a kilogram. In reality, it is better described as a unit of energy, and each calorie is the equivalent of 4.184 absolute joules of energy.
Are There Different Types Of Calories?
Having said that, a calorie then should be the same in whatever you eat, right? In theory, yes. One calorie in your vegetables is going to carry the same amount of energy in your ice cream. However, the difference lies in what your body does with that energy.
For example, if you drink soda, the calories in that drink will up your insulin and sugar levels. This means that your body will hang onto fat, rather than burning it off. The calories from vegetables won’t spike those levels as high, so the body finds it harder to store them as fat.
This means that while you’ll get the same amount of energy from 100 calories of candy and 100 calories of spinach, you’re not going to get the same nutritional value from them both.
Why Exercise Isn’t Enough
Some readers may be wondering, ‘Well, if I exercise, than I can burn those calories off, right?’ As the saying goes, you can’t outrun your fork. Think about that soda again. If you drink it, your body’s going to work harder to hold onto that fat. That means it’s going to be even harder to work that weight off.
If you eat healthy foods, then your body isn’t storing as much of their energy as fat. That means when you exercise, you have much less fat to work away, making the job a lot easier.
The Calories You Should Be Eating
If you’re looking to lose weight, you need to think a bit differently about your calorie intake. As well as eating less than you were before, you need to make those calories work harder for you.
In practice, that means you need to pick whole foods that offer a lot more nutritional value. When you’re grocery shopping, take a look at the label. A good rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients involved, the better. Picking foods that are unprocessed and fresh means that you’ll get a lot more from them, making you feel healthier and fitter in the long run.
So, there’s not quite a thing as “different” calories, but the body processes calories from different foods in different ways. Being more mindful about what you eat will go a long way towards helping you lose weight. Start making changes now, and see the difference it makes to your well-being.