Not All Calories Are the Same: 5 Things You Need to Know

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Think all calories are created equal? Your diet planning would be much simpler if that were the case. Unfortunately, they are not all the same. Here are 5 things you need to know about calories.

1. Thermic Effect of Food: Actual Caloric Intake

What is this and how does it impact your calorie count? Well, when your body distributes the different foods you eat to metabolize, they go down different routes. Some routes use the food as energy, and some discard as they disperse as heat.

The thermic effect depends on the type of food eaten. But, it seems that proteins take up the most energy at 25-30%. Taking this into account, a 100-calorie food would actually be 75 calories if you think of 25% of it is used up in the thermic effect.

2. Glucose and Fructose: Twin Sugars, Different Effects

Next is the difference between fructose and glucose. They are both sugars, right? Yes, but your body deals with them differently. They are even metabolized differently.

Fructose calories also do different things to your body. For example, it doesn’t signal that you are full to the brain. And, if you eat enough fructose it can eventually affect your insulin sensitivity.

3. Satiety: Are You Full Yet?

Ever eat a little of something and felt full? Or, a lot of something and still were hungry? This is because foods all have different effects on your level of feeling full. Satiety, or the lack thereof, can cause you to overeat some foods.

4. Protein Effect on Appetite

Speaking of satiety, protein makes you feel full sooner. So, you can reduce your caloric intake by adding more protein-rich foods. And, remember that the protein thermal effect is very high as well.

5. The Glycemic Index (GI): How Do You Measure Up?

Lastly, when you just can’t stay away from carbs try to stay away from refined ones. Whole, unprocessed carbs are lower on the GI so that they won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Overeating refined carbs can cause you to eat more when you get that sugar crash.

Final Thoughts

Not all calories are the same. And, these 5 things you need to know about calories will help you change your diet to one where every calorie counts.

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