Do Calories Really Count?

Do calories really matter?


o calories really matter? I honestly can’t believe I am writing on this topic, because the truth is, of course they matter! And as the old adage says, weight loss = calories burned > calories consumed. Of course, we can help you track those calories here at Focused on Fit using our site. And everyone knows that not every calorie is the same. So┬áthe real discussion is that calories are not the ONLY thing that matters.

If you’ve seen one calorie, you’ve seen one calorie

Do calories really matter? Yes, they do, not only the quantity, but more importantly, the quality of the calorie. Given that we just celebrated Halloween, let’s use an appropriate example (yes, I did have my fair share of Reece’s, Twix and Dove Dark Chocolate last night). 500 calories of candy is not the same as 500 calories of broccoli. All calories are NOT created equal. Of course, if you are studying physics, yes, 500 calories of candy and 500 calories of broccoli are the same. But that is in a lab, and not when you consider the human diet and the process of metabolism in the body.

So using the above example, and specifically, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures, let’s talk about 500 calories (1/4 of the daily recommended intake of the average American). 500 calories of this candy is made up of almost 50g of sugar, 28g of fat, and 9g of protein. And in order to consume 500 calories of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups Miniatures, you would only have to eat 11 of them. That seems so easy to do…yikes! So how does this affect your body? Last night, after eating their allotment of candy, every child in America quickly absorbed the fiber-free sugars of that candy. It quickly spiked their sugar, causing the normal insulin response in the body. When insulin is increased, it causes the body to store more belly fat, cause inflammation, raises triglycerides and blood pressure and lowers HDL (or good cholesterol). It is also linked to lower testosterone in men and increased infertility in women. All that from that perfect morsel of sweetness – oh my!

Reece's Cups

Reece’s Cups

So what about the broccoli? 500 calories of broccoli is also a carbohydrate, like the candy, but in this case a complex carb. It is slower digesting due to a higher proportion of fiber and therefore, won’t lead to blood sugar and insulin spikes. 500 calories is comprised of about 16 cups of broccoli, and contains 32g of fiber (the daily recommendation for the average American woman). It contains 0g fat, 48g of protein (plant-based protein) and only 32g of sugar! So what happens when you ingest that amount of broccoli. First of all, it would be incredibly difficult to eat that much in one sitting. Your stomach would distend and you would have a feeling of satiety. Your body would absorb it very slowly, so there wouldn’t be that sugar or insulin spike. So no hormonal disruption, no inflammation, no fatty liver. In fact the broccoli has cardio-protective effects and helps to right the ship on your hormonal regulation.

Steamed Broccoli

Steamed Broccoli

Do calories really matter?

Of course they do, and it’s all about quantity and quality! Our site and future apps will help you monitor what’s going in so that you can see real progress. Calculate the right amount of calories that you should be consuming everyday when you register with us, and then stick with your plan. Our site will provide motivation, education and even free, healthy recipes to help you meet all of your fitness goals. Struggling? We would love to hear from you, and we can help! Comment below!


Mark Hyman

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