Tuesday, August 20

You may have heard someone say "A calorie isn't necessarily a calorie" or "Not all calories are equal," but what does that really mean? And is it really true?

When it comes to weight loss and gain total energy (calories) consumed and energy burned are what matter. The law of energy balance always wins, but some foods affect your energy burning more than others.

In the post below you can read how some foods, like protein, have a greater thermic effect, meaning more calories are burned during digestion. That means you'll get less weight gain from protein than you might from more easily digestible foods of with the same calorie count.

Then there's the fact that some foods are loaded with fiber, which affects how much of the food actually gets digested and absorbed. Some foods make you feel more full too, so you end up eating less, which can help with weight loss if that's your goal.

I'd encourage you to read the full post for better understanding. But take note of the following quote:

"Bottom line: While a calorie isn't necessarily a calorie, energy balance nevertheless determines whether you gain or lose weight.⁣"

View this post on Instagram

People often confuse the concept of "all calories being equal" and the laws of energy balance. Without question, there are differences in how various macronutrients -- and specific foods within the given macronutrients -- affect weight loss. But this doesn't negate the fact that energy balance still dictates weight gain/loss. Realize that there are two sides to the energy balance equation: Energy-in (what you consume) and energy-out (what you expend). ⁣ ⁣ Foods have a thermic effect, whereby a certain percentage of calories are oxidized during digestion. Protein has a much higher thermic effect compared to carbs or fats, and thus on a calorie-for-calorie basis will cause less weight gain compared to the other macros. There are even differences in the thermic effect of the same macronutrients: for example, a significantly greater number of calories are expended in the digestion of olive oil (a monounsaturated fat) versus cream (a saturated fat). Moreover, protein can be directly used for building lean tissue, while other macronutrients cannot, thereby altering the composition of how weight is gained. ⁣ ⁣ Fiber also plays a role in the process, as much of ingested fiber is not readily digestible and thus is excreted without being absorbed. Fiber also can bind to other nutrients and impede their digestion as well, further reducing energy intake. ⁣ ⁣ Finally, and importantly, different foods have varying effects on satiety. Highly palatable foods (generally combinations of fat and simple sugars: think ice cream and donuts) make you want to eat more compared to whole, unprocessed foods, thus altering the energy balance equation in favor of weight gain.⁣ ⁣ Bottom line: While a calorie isn't necessarily a calorie, energy balance nevertheless determines whether you gain or lose weight.⁣

A post shared by Brad Schoenfeld, PhD (@bradschoenfeldphd) on

Workout for Tuesday, August 20

CrossFit 616