A Calorie Isn’t Always A Calorie | Healthlines – Yankton Daily Press

Can I tell you what drives me crazy about being in the fitness, performance and strength & conditioning business; us as professionals seem to talk out of both sides of our mouth. Eat eggs! Don’t eat eggs. You need milk! Milk may cause health problems. You need to eat a carb & protein mix within a 20 minute window after working out! The timing of nutrition after workouts isn’t as important as we thought it was. Back and forth. We send mixed messages and things get so confusing people don’t know what advice to follow.

Here is a perfect example. The other day I got a newsletter (I get different information, education and articles from different sources each week to hopefully stay up to date on the topics of the time). Here is one I got that had me shake my head:

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Back to Basics: Why Calorie Counting Works

You may have heard about the professor from Kansas State University, Mark Haub, who performed a famous junk food diet. Professor Haub proved a powerful lesson for anyone who still has weight to lose, so let’s listen up.

In a demonstrative experiment for his nutrition class, Professor Haub ate a diet of pure junk food for two months. I’m talking candy bars and packaged snacks — the kinds of things you find in a snack machine.

You’d expect him to gain weight, right? Well, there was one catch. He was only allowed to eat 1,800 calories each day. Yes, those calories were pure junk, but the limit was firmly put at 1,800 calories.

Before the experiment, Professor Haub’s typical calorie intake was closer to 2,600 calories. So his junk food diet put him at an 800-calorie-per-day deficit.

Boy, did that calorie deficit pay off. Within two months, he had dropped 30 pounds, bringing his BMI from overweight down to normal.

Wow! That really sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Problem is, the numbers don’t add up. To lose a pound, experts say you need to burn an additional 3,500 calories from what you normally do to drop a pound of body weight. So let’s take the above example and say the good professor went for 70 days. (I’m giving him “extra credit” for days he kept his calorie count at 1,800 instead of 2,600). So, dropping down to 1,800 calories from 2,600 calories is a drop of 800 calories per day. Over a 70-day period that would be 56,000 calories. When divided by the 3,500 needed to drop weight, we would get 16 pounds that we would drop, not the 30 pounds. This article makes it sound like just watch your caloric intake and all will be well. Not always the case. To understand this “calorie myth” — read on.


Of all the nutrition myths, the calorie myth is one of the most pervasive and most damaging. The thinking that “A calorie is a calorie is a calorie,” and that it doesn’t matter whether you eat a 100 calories of candy or broccoli, they will have the same effect on your weight. Isn’t true.

It’s true that all calories have the same amount of energy. One dietary calorie contains 4,184 Joules of energy. In that respect, a calorie is a calorie.

However, when it comes to your body, things are not that simple. The human body is a highly complex biochemical system with elaborate processes that regulate energy balance.

Different foods go through different biochemical pathways, some of which are inefficient and cause energy (calories) to be lost as heat. The foods you eat DO HAVE AN IMPACT on the processes that control when, what and how much you eat. Here are a few examples of why a calorie is not JUST A CALORIE.

• The Thermic Effect of Food — Protein calories are less fattening than calories from carbs and fat, because protein takes more energy to metabolize. Whole foods also require more energy to digest than processed foods. Think of it this way; the Thermic effect for protein is 25 percent, for fat 2 percent. This means that 100 calories of protein would end up as 75 calories, while 100 calories of fat would end up as 98 calories.

• Protein Kills Appetite and Makes You Eat Fewer Calories — Studies show that protein is by far the most filling macronutrient. Increased protein can lead to dramatically reduced appetite and cause weight loss without the need for counting calories.

• The Satiety Index — Different foods have different effects on our feeling of fullness and can affect how many calories you end up consuming during meals. This is measured on a scale called the satiety index. There are many factors that determine the satiety value of different foods, which is measured on a scale called the satiety index. The satiety index is a measure of the ability of foods to reduce hunger, increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake for the next few hours. If you eat foods that are low on the satiety index, then you will be hungrier and end up eating more. If you choose foods that are high on the satiety index, you will end up eating less and it can help lead to weight loss.

By eating right, eating smart and following some modern and common sense guidelines, if you are looking to drop a few pounds this New Year, or are looking to make a total make over, you can make 2019 be a great year. One without needing to grab a calculator at every meal!

Mark “Coach Rozy” Roozen is Founder/Director of Coach Rozy Performance — Powered by AVERA Sports Yankton. He can be reached at 817-219-2811, email him at rozyroozen@strengthnews.netgmail.com or you can find more information at www.coachrozy.com