Why All Calories Are Not Created Equal
- Possible Pat
- September 10, 2018
To lose weight, you will need to cut your calories or burn more calories than you would need to consume to sustain your current weight. Every pound of weight loss is equal to 3,500 calories. Although this can seem simple at the core, not all calories are created equal.
As I went through my weight loss journey, I learned this the hard way. I cut calories, but that didn’t mean that by putting myself in a caloric deficit I was going to easily lose the weight.
Controlling how many calories you consume is important if you want to lose weight, but this isn’t the only aspect of your diet you need to pay attention to. What you eat can affect your hormones, feelings of hunger, and energy. Understanding what you are eating, how it is processed within your body, and how it affects you can make losing weight easier.
What are Calories?
When we speak of calories regarding food, what we are talking about is a unit of measurement the amount of energy a particular food supplies our body. It is this energy that makes our body function and keeps us going. Everything we do, from exercising to basic body functions, such as breathing, requires calories.
Almost everything that we consume contains calories, but not all of these calories are good. Many processed foods and drinks contain “empty calories,” meaning that they provide our body with calories, but no other nutritional value.
When we consume more calories than our body needs to fuel itself, it causes us to gain weight. Our body stores these unused calories as fat.
What are Macros and Why Do They Matter?
The calories that you consume are made up of macronutrients, or more commonly referred to as just macros. Your macros are made up of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These different macros are each broken down and processed differently by the body. This is one reason not all calories are equal. Calories made up by carbs are going to affect your body completely differently than calories that are mostly made up of protein.
The macronutrient fat provides our cells with the building blocks for our cells, and healthy fats are essential to any healthy diet. While some fats, such as artificial trans fats, can lead to disease and weight gain, other fats, such as omega-3s, promote wellbeing and health. Eating the right fats can supply your body with fatty acids the body cannot make itself and promote the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
There are three main types of fats, including:
- Saturated fats, which come from animal sources.
- Unsaturated fats, which come from plant sources.
- Trans fats, which are found in processed foods.
Focusing on fats to lose weight can be a successful way to lose weight, as we have seen with the Keto Diet.
Consuming proteins is essential to your health, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Our body needs protein to maintain and builds cells, build and repair tissue, make essential hormones and enzymes, and supports your immune system.
Protein also works to help keep us satiated and our bodies fuller longer, so you are less likely to overeat and more likely to consume fewer calories overall.
When we consume protein, it is broken down into amino acids. There are 20 amino acids all together, and 8 of them are considered to be essential amino acids, meaning we do not make them ourselves and must get them from the foods that we eat. Animal protein contains all of these 8 essential amino acids, while plant sources do not. To get these amino acids from plants, you need to consume a wide variety.
Carbs are the macronutrient that we all love. It is found in potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, and many more sources. Our body loves to consume carbs because it is a major source of energy that is used to fuel our everyday activities.
Carbs are also complex and are made up of starches, fiber, and sugar, and our body treats each of these complex carbs differently. For example, our body does not break down fiber, which is why the Keto Diet often focuses on Net Carbs (total carbohydrate minus fiber). Because our body treats each type of carb differently, there are good, and bad carbs, much like that are healthy and unhealthy fats.
Your healthier carbs will be minimally processed and will contain fiber, which helps you to feel fuller longer because it promotes slow digestion. These types of carbs include fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes. Bad, or low-quality carbs, will generally contain little fiber and are found in processed foods and are typically just “empty carbs.”
Manipulating Calories and Macros
If you want to lose weight, or just lead a healthy lifestyle, then knowing how many calories you are consuming (including food and drinks), is important. It is also important to understand how these calories are broken down into fats, proteins, and carbs.
Eating whole food, rather than processed foods, generally, contain less “empty calories”, fewer calories overall, and typically leave you feeling more satisfied and fuller longer. This can all lead to weight loss and improved health.
How many calories you need to be consuming every day, and the ratio of macros within those calories varies person to person.
There are many factors that influence how you should be eating, including body composition, activity level, and the diet you are following. There are several ways to lose weight and many diets, including Keto and Carb-Cycling, work by limiting calories and manipulating macros.
Because knowing the calories and macros of what you are eating is important to weight loss, I made sure that all my healthy recipes on Team Possible break down the meal to show you total calories, proteins, carbs, and fats. You can then add these foods into a printable meal plan so you can see how many calories you will be eating every day. You will also be able to see the ratio of macros you are consuming, so you can manipulate them to lose more weight.
About Possible Pat
Hi, I'm Pasquale Brocco and I've lost A LOT of weight. When I started my journey to lose weight, I weighed 605 pounds. After visiting the doctor, I realized I had to make a change. I started with a simple plan and within 60 days, I lost 100 lbs. So far, I've lost over 307 pounds. Now, I'm sharing a simple message with you, "Anything is possible." If you can put on the weight, you can lose the weight.