Calories Are Not Created Equal

FiberGourmet_LiteCrackers_cinnamon_smallAuthor:  Angela Dennison, RD, LDN

Oncology Dietitian

IG: @healthy_plates


Everyday we eat food, we drink liquids and that is what keeps us alive because these items give us calories. In so little words, calories are energy and calories is what our bodies use to function.


Now, when it comes to calories, there is a baseline amount that we need on a daily basis just to function—that is called our BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate—is the number of calories your body burns at rest to maintain normal body functions).


When it comes to calorie counting with a focus on ONLY calories, not the food itself, this habit can be harmful to your body’s health in the long run. Like I’ve said before, the most health promoting foods give you not only calories but carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients—the whole shabang; would you disagree?


When we have a focus on nourishment through food, we make choices that benefit us most. When we restrict calories and have a “diet” mentality, we focus purely on the calorie content of the food without thinking about how the food is effecting our overall health.


Let’s take a look at three different foods: Snickers, Almonds, Broccoli—each one provides us with calories and different nutrients. Which item would you say is the most health promoting? If you guessed broccoli…you’d be right :) This is a no brainer—BUT we don’t think about the healthiest options when counting calories, we just think of the calorie itself. Therefore, someone who is counting calories would allow themselves to have a small snack of a snickers over broccoli if it fits into their calories for the day.

Let see why these items are not created equal:

These foods are very different. Processed foods are going to include more added salt, sugar and fat than a non processed food. I just wanted you to really see the difference in these items and what they provide your body.


I believe in a 80 / 20 balance. We are not going to make health promoting choices 100%  of the time. It’s important however to be mindful of the balance we have created in our lives.


Don’t get so wrapped up in calories—food companies love that! You see a small 150 calorie package of crackers / cookies or whatever the fuck. Just because it’s low-cal..does not mean it’s healthy for you.


Also, did you see the protein in that broccoli?! Holy moly. Talk about one power house of a food :)

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