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All Calories Are Not Created Equal

We often hear ‘eat less calories, burn more calories, and you will lose weight’. Unfortunately, it is just not that simple. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose 5 pounds or 50 pounds, weight loss is HARD. What’s even harder than weight loss, is keeping the weight off.

There are so many other factors at play, including what time of day you eat, how you eat, how you sleep, the type of exercise you are doing, your gut health, hormone health, mental health, and so on. Today, let’s focus on the calories you are eating, because all calories are NOT the same.

Calorie Density

Have you heard about calorie density? If you’ve tried to lose weight one or more times, calorie density is something very important to understand. Calorie density is a measure of how many calories are in a given weight of food. Some calories are more dense than others. For example, oils and fat have high calorie density and intake should be avoided or limited if you are trying to lose weight. On the other end of the spectrum, vegetables and fruits have low calorie density and you should fill your plate with these foods to make you full.

Another way to think about it is considering the water content vs oil content in food. If it has high water content, you can eat as much as you like. If it has more oil content, avoid or limit those foods.

Let’s Compare

Calorie density may be part of the reason some might feel like they barely eat anything, yet they cannot seem to lose weight. When you eat high calorie dense foods such as a Starbucks blueberry muffin and Frappuccino, they can very well have the same amount of calories as 3 full plates of healthy, low calorie dense foods. Your eyes perceive that visual information of the amount of food you will eat, and that plays a role in whether or not your body will be satiated.

If your goal is weight loss, fill your plate with low calorie dense foods, and avoid the high calorie dense foods. Aside from the avocado, nuts, and seeds, this is basically the same as eating a plant-based, whole foods diet and limiting animal products and processed foods. Not much new from what we’ve already known. However, these are not easy steps to make, so making small, sustainable changes are key to managing weight. Once these sustainable changes are a part of your lifestyle, then it will be easier to keep the weight off, and finally stop the vicious cycle of dieting.

If you’re looking for a place to start, start with the mindset of never giving up and the willingness to make necessary lifestyle changes. Anything is possible!

Think about becoming a member of Upper Echelon Medical to prioritize your health and achieve your optimal well-being.

Upper Echelon Medical in Fullerton, Orange County, East LA, and Inland Empire, California, provides comprehensive primary care services to patients of all ages living and working in the local community.
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