Health & Happiness: Are all calories created equal?

By Aloha Curves/Jenny Craig

For decades, nutritionists and other health professionals have focused on the importance of the calorie in weight loss – balancing the number of calories we consume with the amount of energy we burn. And while there is science and credibility behind this equation, recent research has found it may not be giving us the complete picture. We asked our Jenny Craig Nutritionist, Monica Ropar, to help explain why all calories may not be created equal and why maintaining a balanced diet is so important.

What is a Calorie, Anyway?

Simply put, calories are the energy your body needs to keep working, running, parenting, playing and so on. By definition, a calorie is an amount of food having an energy-producing value of one large calorie. Your body uses three basic kinds of macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates and fat—to create caloric energy. Each type of macronutrient provides a specific amount of calories per gram (protein and carbohydrates contain four calories while fat provides nine calories), and are used as an energy source.

So, the question arises, “Does it matter which foods I eat in order to lose weight?” If we use the simple equation of calories in vs. calories out—the types of food you eat shouldn’t make a difference, as long as excess calories are not being consumed. However, recent research has found that food quality may have an impact on weight loss beyond calories. To understand why, well take a more in-depth look at each nutrient source next month is this publication.

The Bottom Line: Balance is Key

While eating 300 calories worth of chips may not provide the same nutritional value (or feeling of fullness) as a similar amount of vegetables, maintaining a healthy balance between all the food groups is a key component of weight maintenance and health. By reaching for quality food the majority of the time, you’ll be setting yourself up for success!

For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you find your optimal caloric balance for weight loss, contact Aloha Curves/Jenny Craig at 503-356-5454.