Are All Calories the Same?

Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows the basic formula starts with slashing calories. For decades, the research has supported the concept of reducing calories by about 3500 to reduce a pound of weight. Achieving the 3500 calorie deficit can be done alone or preferably in combination with exercise.

Are All Calories the Same?
Are All Calories the Same?

Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows the basic formula starts with slashing calories. For decades, the research has supported the concept of reducing calories by about 3500 to reduce a pound of weight. Achieving the 3500 calorie deficit can be done alone or preferably in combination with exercise.

So does it matter what you eat as long as you cut calories? Absolutely. A small study from Pomona College in California found that diets that contain more whole foods burned more calories over diets high in processed foods. Whole foods required more calories to eat and digest than highly processed foods.


Nutrition experts always recommend cutting extra calories from foods that offer more calories than nutritional goodness, such as sugars, unhealthy fats and super-sized portions. 

While you are trying to whittle your waistline, choose whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and seeds to fill you up, and power your diet with good-for-you nutrients. 

Provided by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD. Kathleen Zelman is a nationally-known nutrition correspondent, editor, and contributing writer of diet and nutrition articles. She currently serves as Director-at-Large on the ADA Board of Directors, and received the prestigious American Dietetic Association (ADA) Media Excellence Award for her contribution and commitment to educating consumers about food and nutrition issues through the media.

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