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Are All Calories Created Equal?

Posted on September 1, 2016 at 9:11 AM by Lia Bahls, RD

Is 100 calories worth of gummy worms the same as 100 calories worth of eggs?


The short answer is, no. Scientifically speaking, a calorie is a unit of measurement. It is not true that all sources of calories are equal, even If you are monitoring you caloric intake. So 100 calories of gummy worms is not the same as 100 calories of eggs. 


What you have to consider are the nutrients you’re receiving by the food you’re consuming. For instance, gummy worms provide sugar, and only sugar. You may be thinking, “what is the harm, it’s only a handful”. The reality is that sugar does nothing beneficial for the body and in fact can have damaging effects. As sugar enters the body the hormone insulin is stimulated and released. Insulin allows for cells to use the nutrients consumed, but it also inhibits the breakdown of fat and promotes the creation of fat when excess calories are consumed. In other words, if your body didn’t require calories at the time you grabbed a handful of gummy worms, they turned straight to fat. If that weren’t enough, the spike in insulin and blood sugar can cause increased hunger, which typically leads to grabbing another handful of gummy worms. 


Eggs on the other hand provide protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats; a combination of which leads to increased satisfaction and a decrease in hunger. These nutrients are also beneficial for basic body processes such as maintaining muscle, providing energy, and supporting the immune system.  Insulin release is steady, leading to better control of blood sugars and decreased fat storage. 


Why is this important to know? So that you can make the most of the food you’re consuming. Too often we tend to overthink the number of calories on a food item instead of looking at the ingredients listed. It is important to watch the numbers of calories you’re consuming, but it is more important to know what you’re putting into your body. Making smart food choices will benefit your weight loss and keep you healthy.

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