A calorie is a calorie. It’s a unit of energy.
So a Mars Bar may have 280 calories, and so may a handful of brazil nuts. But it is what happens inside that is key!
Due to the structure and nature of the calorie (simple for a Mars, complex for nuts) it will require a lot more energy from the body to break down the nut based calories than the Mars based calories.
Plus, some of the calories from the nuts will turn to heat, rather than fat as if the case with the Mars.
This is the thermogenic effect of food – the amount of heat generated by the body during digestion and metabolism of the food.
Just to reiterate, of the three main nutrients (protein, fat and carbs), protein is by far and away the most thermogenic.
When we eat protein it is broken into amino acids for digestion, and it is then rebuilt in the body for repair of muscles etc, so there is a huge calorific expenditure, far outweighing the calorie intake.
The foods you choose to eat, despite having the same calorific content, may have a totally different calorie expenditure in the body. Hence, we don’t calorie count! So, if you have been obsessing over calories, stop it right now! It is not worth it!
Why conventional calorie restrictive diets don’t work
Calorie restriction induces a state of metabolic suppression, meaning you burn less calories on a day to day basis as your body thinks it is in starvation mode.
Due to the fewer calories, you feel tired more of the time – and therefore expend less energy as a result.
Nutrient deficiencies can slow the metabolic rate (e.g fat free).Hunger and a preoccupation with food leads to a raised stress level.
Stress = cortisol, which leads to fat being laid down around the middle
Too much carbohydrate leading to further fat being laid down around the middle, when mixed with insulin.
Do you really want to be on a calorie restrictive diet and the stress that comes with it?