Are All Calories The Same for The Body?

The food you eat ultimately determines the quality of calories that you ingest. Here, we will discuss the many ways that this is evident in your everyday life and how the body takes in calories according to the food you eat.
Are All Calories The Same for The Body?

Last update: 13 January, 2019

Many people may ask themselves if all calories are the same. In theory, a calorie is just a calorie, there aren’t different types. However, there are ways in which the body responds to our calorie intake and how it makes us feel.

In terms of weight gain and weight loss, a calorie is just a calorie. However, the body turns all foods into fat once it has burned the necessary energy for the day. And so, when we eat more calories than we need, the body saves the remainder as fat reserves.

Thus, when it comes to weight loss, the important factor is the amount of energy that the body burns in a day. On the other hand, we have the extra nutrients that come with the calories we eat. They may contain healthy fiber, proteins, and good fats, or just huge amounts of sugar.

Healthy foods bring good components to the calories you ingest.

If you’re trying to lose weight, eating healthy foods that are rich in fiber will help you feel fuller for longer. The term “empty calories” refers to foods that are high calories and low in nutrients.

And the determinate amount of calories you need in a day depends on many factors. Some of those may be your daily activities, age, and ideal body weight.

How do different foods affect our calories?

To better understand this, let’s consider that a calorie is just a unit of energy, and that number doesn’t depend on the type of food. Thus, they are all are the same in that unit of measurement. On the other hand, different foods have different calorie densities.

And so, it’s not about the calories being different, but the foods that carry those calories and how they affect our bodies. You may eat a type of food that will satisfy your hunger, while another with the same number of calories, doesn’t.

They are all the same outside of the body, but once we ingest them, the body uses them differently. This difference in use depends on its source. If you have a balanced and healthy diet, you can eat until you feel satisfied, without having to worry about counting calories.

However, when less healthy foods make their way into our diets, we make the mistake of eating until we feel satisfied. These foods have more calorie density than the healthy one. Therefore, we ingest more calories than we need, which is not a good idea for our body and health.

That is the main reason why having a healthy and balanced diet is so important.

A healthy diet doesn't need a calorie counter

The determinate amount of calories you need in a day depends on many factors. Some of those may be your daily activities, age, and ideal body weight.

An example of the difference in calorie intake

To make sure that the topic is fully understood, here is a clear case example to see the difference between the different sources. Let’s consider two foods that have approximately the same amount of calories: a glass of soda and a chicken sandwich.

So, on one hand, the soda only contains simple carbohydrates and doesn’t require much digestive activity. Additionally, the sugar is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, raising the blood glucose levels.

On the other hand, we have the chicken sandwich that is a combination of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and proteins. These last two nutrients slow digestion and absorption, in turn raising glucose levels slowly and constantly.

Additionally, fiber and protein make you feel fuller for longer, keeping you from eating again for a while. These seemingly simple differences may help you understand how the body reacts to different types of food, and its connection to weight gain.

Finally, we hope that this article helps you navigate the rough waters of nutrition and healthy weight loss. Although all calories are the same, the body doesn’t react the same way to the source. If you want to lose weight you must pay close attention to what you eat and when you eat it.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.