What is in calories and why is more important than this number

Whether you eat a 100-calorie dessert or a 300-calorie pasta salad, it’s important to know what your body gets from your food (and calories) so you can continue to make choices that are right for you and your lifestyle.

Calories are a unit of energy that your body uses to live. Your body doesn’t care where these calories come from – it uses the energy stored in them regardless of your life. But give some foods or drinks that are high in calories nutrients It supports your immune system, balances your hormones, and even keeps you full and satisfied for a long time.

According to Toronto-based nutritionist Abby Langer, there is a difference in how our bodies absorb certain types of calories that are used for energy or stored later.

“If you’re talking about direct calories, everyone is different, but as a rule, I would say, the body can absorb calories from something like a donut much more easily than something like an avocado,” Langer said. In general, the harder it is for your body to digest food, the fewer calories it will receive.

Our body’s metabolism of calories in another way is the only reason why Langer doesn’t like to count calories or count the number of calories in the food you eat. There is also the fact that the recommended calories per day are mobile targets depending on one’s age, gender and (partially genetic) metabolism. basic metabolic ratebody composition (fat-muscle ratio) and how active they are in a day.

With that in mind, here are a few things we know about how our bodies break down food differently and which foods will keep you energized for a long time.

How our body absorbs calories differently

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Different dishes give different types energy (or calories) to your body. Every meal contains macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – and micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, etc. – Your body needs to be in the right balance for life. (See last one The macronutrient Bible here.) Therefore, not all foods fall equally or bring the same energy.

Dr. Nicket Sonpal, a gastroenterologist in New York, explains that our digestive tract and body receive energy from these macronutrients.

“They have their consequences,” Sonpal said. For example, calories from carbohydrates are processed faster (think about the urgency of the sugar you feel after drinking a can of soda); proteins are digested more slowly; and digestion of fats takes more time.

Instead of a bowl, think about how long you will be satisfied or happy after a breakfast of cheese and eggs. If a grain container contains, say, 200 calories, and a cheese egg contains even more, you may think the grain is “healthy.” However, your body burns faster than the proteins and fats in eggs through the carbohydrates in the grain, leaving you hungry earlier and eating more energy. Instead of white bread and rice, whole wheat bread or fiber-rich carbohydrates such as brown or wild rice slow down digestion and increase satiety.

There are also differences in the content of macronutrients in the way they affect your body long after digestion. For example, olive oil, unsaturated fat, according to Sonpal, does not accumulate in the walls of blood vessels. to add Studies are also emerging Other types of fats that we consider “bad” may actually contain essential fatty acids and other nutrients that are important for our health.

“The biochemical process of breaking down fats is the same for all purposes and purposes,” Sonpal said. “But what the body does with fats and how they later cause inflammatory processes in other parts of the body is different.”

Almond study

Raw almonds are spread on a white background

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Not only does your body use food and calories differently, but the number of calories in a package can also be inaccurate.

For starters, calorie labels can be turned off by up to 20%, Langer explained, and if you think you’re eating a 200-calorie granola bar, it could actually be 240 calories. For some people, these contradictions may add up.

A 2012 and 2016 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and funded by the Almond Council of California found that the real calories of raw almonds were 25% less than sales and 19% less than roasted almonds. calculates.

Studies have shown that the mechanical processes of roasting or crushing almonds play a role, as they break down the cell wall and change the size of the particles. Larger particles are harder to digest by digestive enzymes, so they excrete more and absorb fewer calories.

And when it comes to almond oil, the opposite is true – the calories you see are what you get. “If you replace that almond with almond oil, it’s calorie, those fats are easier, so we can absorb more of those calories,” Langer said. By grinding almonds into almond oil, you break down all the fiber in the nut, allowing your body to easily digest and absorb those calories.

Almond research shows that paying more attention to the calories on food labels is less important than choosing foods that provide you with nutrients and satisfaction.

Measuring satisfaction instead of calories

According to Langer, except for differences in nutritional value, calorie counting distracts us from the satisfaction we get from eating, which is an integral part of a healthy diet that people often overlook. If you’re hungry for a snack while counting your calories, you’re more likely to eat something you know (like six crackers, or “nutritious” granola).

However, if you go to the pieces of cheddar cheese that you really want, it would actually touch that place, and even if they are high in calories, you will be full for a long time. This is a miscalculation of calories – if you focus only on quantity, not on the source of calories and the nutritional value they provide, you run the risk of eating a lot of food at the end of the day, leaving you hungry. , even when you reach your maximum calorie limit.

Constant hunger or dissatisfaction increases your risk overeating later, when you eat much more than you immediately consume. It is also not a sustainable way of life.

“It’s important to take a step back and understand that,” Langer said.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about your medical condition or health goals.

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