Have you ever heard that not all calories are created equal? After all, 200 calories of celery has to be different than 200 calories of a candy bar… right?
Allow me to use an analogy to help.
A mile, like a calorie, is a unit of measurement. I’m sure we would all agree that a mile is a mile is a mile. A mile here in Canada is a mile in the USA is a mile on the moon.
However, what that mile is made up of makes a large difference.
If you run a mile on a track, it will be noticeably easier than running a mile on sand, which will be easier than running a mile in a foot of snow.
While each one of them is a mile, your body will respond very different to each one.
In the same way, 200 calories is 200 calories is 200 calories. If you overeat by 500 calories of apples or 500 calories of ice cream, you’ve overeaten by 500 calories.
You can see this evidently when you begin to look at people who are able to lose weight eating what the average person would consider a terrible diet.
There was a professor who lost 30 lbs in 8 weeks eating Twinkies, chips and protein shakes. How? By eating 1800 calories of Twinkies, chips and protein shakes a day.
Now, just like our miles, different forms of calories can cause our body to respond very differently. 200 calories of broccoli will provide your body with much more benefits than the 200 calories of candy bar. Not to mention, you’ll be able to eat over a pound of broccoli vs around 40 grams of a candy bar. Not only will you be getting nutrients, but the added volume means you probably won’t continue to eat afterwards.
If you are eating more than you are burning of anything, you will gain weight
If you want to alter your weight, calories are calories. If you are eating more than you are burning of anything, you will gain weight. This means that you don't need to only eat boring, bland foods that you hate if you want to lose weight. You need to find a way to eat in a calorie deficit. You can find ways to incorporate foods that you enjoy without falling off the wagon.
Remember, changing weight does not necessarily reflect and improvement of health. A 50g serving of Cheetos is 280 calories of corn and vegetable oil. It gives some B-vitamins, but that's about it. If you ate a diet of 1000 calories of only Cheetos, you'd lose weight. However, you'd also end up terribly malnourished. Now, if you were to exchange Cheetos for strawberries and eat the same 280 calories, you'd get to eat over 850g! That's nearly two pounds. Not only are you getting a huge volume of food, you're getting water, fiber, and lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Did you know you can eat eight and a half pounds of strawberries for 1000 calories?
If you want to improve your health, not all calories are created equal. While they still provide the same amount of energy, they do not provide the same amount of nutrients. Focusing on eating mostly minimally processed, nutrient dense proteins, fruits and vegetables.