It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class!
Simply put, a calorie is the measure of energy that is generated from food. But are all calories created equal? Yes and No. Regardless of your diet, if you were locked up and fed the exact same number of calories, some studies show you’d lose the same amount of weight. However, this isn’t how we live.
Things like hunger (controlled by hormones), cravings and emotions tend to get in the way. Which leads us to the biggest reason why calories are not all created equal — foods are not made up of calories alone. They are complex mixtures of fiber and other nutrients. This causes a different effect on the hormones that control hunger and those that direct our bodies to either burn or store fat.
So which foods don’t tell us to store fat? It’s not rocket science: Focus on lean protein, healthy fats and non-processed, unrefined carbohydrates such as vegetables, beans, whole grains and fruit. Simply put, a hundred calories of jelly beans is not equal to 100 calories of natural peanut butter. The peanut butter will not only keep you more satisfied, but it is also more hormone friendly in terms of storing fat. Be aware of calories but stop counting! Instead focus on the quality of food you are eating, listen to your body and stop when you are satisfied.