Not all calories are equal

Most of us know that all food and drink has a calorie value. However what does this mean for us and why does it matter?

A calorie is a way of measuring the amount of energy in the food we eat. Knowing how many calories are in our food can help us to balance the energy we put into our bodies with the energy we use. And that’s the key to a healthy weight. Weight gain occurs when we regularly put more energy into our bodies than we use. Over time, that excess energy is stored by the body as fat.

You can use calorie information to assess how a particular food fits into your daily calorie intake. As a guide, the average man needs 2,500kcal to maintain his weight, and the average woman needs 2,000kcal.

You may think that 100 kcal of broccoli is equal to 100 kcal of sweets. Though this may be true in terms of weight; in terms of nutrition and benefit to our bodies (and this includes weight loss), it could not be further from the truth.

In simple terms, the types of food we eat can affect bodily systems, hormones and chemical messages which can control hunger and eating behaviour. Therefore the more wholegrain, high fibre, nutrient-rich foods eaten, the higher our chances of losing weight (and maintaining that loss) are.

Whilst it is not beneficial to obsess about calories, it is a useful tool when making food choices, but remember to make those calories work for you and not against you.

“The point to keep in mind is that you don't lose fat because you cut calories; you lose fat because you cut out the foods that make you fat” ― Gary Taubes

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