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Not All Calories are Created Equal

Inspire Health Event Calendar August 29, 2013

If you’ve heard me speak before, you’ll no doubt have heard me say there isn’t a lot of equality in the calorie world. For example, a calorie from an almond will have a different effect on our body than a calorie from a jujube. The “calories in, calories out” theory isn’t working so well in practice. Humans just don’t operate like a car with our fuel. If this theory did work, wouldn’t we all be the perfect size just by doing the math? But instead we can feel like we’re eating the same thing day in and day out and one month be the same size and the next month gain eight pounds! Maybe there’s another way of looking at food, fuel, and how our body works.

A 2011 Harvard study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, (US federally funded – it’s important to know who’s paying for the results!) includes the analysis of data covering 120,000 US citizens for over 20 years. In the study, researchers found some big differences in how various foods and lifestyle habits affected weight gain or loss. I’ve pulled out some key points of interest.

Over a four year span:

• every added serving of fruits and vegetables prevented between ¼ and ½ pound weight gain,
• potatoes aren’t the best for weight loss – each additional serving can cause 0.5 – 3.5 pounds in weight gain, with French fries and chips being the biggest culprits,
• every extra serving of nuts prevented more than a ½ pound of weight gain,
• people who slept less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours were more likely to gain weight, and
• every extra hour of TV watching added about 1/3 a pound.

What this confirms for me again is that eating foods closest to their whole form, eating carb/proteins/fats at regular intervals throughout the day, eating consciously (mono-task instead of multitask), and focusing on getting a quality night’s sleep, really do have positive effects on your weight. And obtaining a healthy weight in a healthy way can be an indicator of positive change that is also happening internally. So eat your nuts guilt free – the unroasted/unsalted versions as opposed to the chocolate covered version – and know they can help you in your ideal weight goals.

– Angela Wright, BSc, RHN, Lead Nutritionist, InspireHealth

Photo by epos.de