Not all calories are created equal
Posted on 3 January 2019
Counting calories is the go-to method for anyone interested in losing weight, but science tells us that not all calories are created equal. It is the quality, and not the quantity, that counts when you’re weighing up your food options. And not just for weight loss, but for optimal energy and bodily function, too.
Every year there is a new diet or method of eating that promises what every diet before couldn’t deliver. Whether it’s cutting out dairy, or simple carbohydrates or sugar, the results will all be the same if you don’t have a good understanding of calories.
A calorie is defined as a unit to measure energy. Calories are how you measure the energy that’s provided by the food you eat to fuel your bodily functions. If you’re taking in more than you’re burning, that excess is going to be stored by your body as fat.
Mediclinic Vergelegen endocrinologist Dr Elmo Pretorius says a popular misconception is that diabetes is caused by sugar when in fact it’s caused by abdominal obesity. “In that sense, it is about excess calories. Whatever food you eat, sugary or not, could lead to diabetes if you eat too much.”
The simple mathematics behind this is asking yourself whether you’re taking in the energy content you need. According to Dr Pretorius, regularly taking in excess calories that your body doesn’t need will lead to weight gain.
Infographic: Calorie quality over quantity