Count Nutrients, Not Calories

For my very first post, I would like to share an advocacy to all of you.

Count nutrients, not calories.

1 calorie (or, kilocalorie), is the energy required to heat one gram of water by one degree Celsius.  It is the universal unit of measure for the energy potential of food.

We should all pay attention to the word “potential“.

So, how do we measure calories?

As a rule of thumb, we are taught that protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories for every gram and fat has 9 calories/g.

It sounds really simple, but in actual fact, there are many other factors that influence the real calorimetric value of food. A reason for this is…

  • Relying on the rule of thumb that both carbs and protein are 4cals/g, indicates that consuming 100g of protein is the same as 100g of rice.  The problems with this is that carbohydrates will always contain some fibre – which cannot be broken down by our gut, and hence can have no energy value.

So as a conclusion from what was mentioned above, the amount of calories as seen on a food’s nutrition label is, therefore, not what we actually receive.

So why count nutrients and not calories?

All calories are not created equal – it is the quality of the calorie that has the most impact on health, not necessarily the quantity.

Even though counting calories does work, we must keep in mind that what we are attempting to accomplish is to nourish and maintain our bodies healthy, and not simply to lose weight.

So always remember…

You don’t lose weight to get healthy, you get healthy to lose weight.


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