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Calories: quality vs quantity

Analysing a client’s recent food diary, I was faced with excellent adherence to the specified calorie goal. The quality of the calories consumed left work to be done. But we’re fed with the fact that: calories in vs calories out will dictate whether you lose weight or not. So why should I have been concerned with the type of food being consumed? Why was I simply not pleased that the calorie limit wasn’t being exceeded? Let me tell you why.

You can discuss hormones, insulin, thyroids all you like, the basic point is that if you consistently consume fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. So, for weight loss, it’d be better to eat 1500kcals of crisps than 2000kcals of fruit and vegetables? The answer is, yes and no!

Calories burned

The principles of calories consumed, and calories burned will remain a constant. But let’s address the calories burned first. When you eat good quality, healthy foods, you do two things:

1. You have more energy for your workouts and
2. You have more energy for your day-to-day movement. In a nutshell, you burn more calories.

If you eat rubbish, you feel lethargic, you move less, you tire sooner. You burn fewer calories.

Rapid rubbish consumption

Add to this, the speed at which calories can be consumed. Lean protein, fruit and carbs would require 3 meals to reach a 1700kcal consumption. But a Double Quarter Pounder® with Cheese, fries and a chocolate shake and guess what? Calories are done for the day! That then leaves you 23.5 hours of no further eating. And trust me, if not eating for 23.5 hours a day came easy, then obesity would not be an issue.

Benefits of eating healthy foods

Moreover, the body’s utilisation of calories is important too. Trans fats which are prevalent in lots of industrial food products struggle to be broken down for usable energy. They often accumulate and sit in the more stubborn areas for fat to be removed, such as hips, thighs and lower portion of the belly. Eating a healthy diet however ensures improved muscle strength and recovery, improved immune and cognitive functioning and healthier skin and mood. That melting pot of goodness will again result in fewer injuries, fewer illnesses, and greater levels of motivation. In other words, higher consistent levels of calorie consumption. If you are unsure what ‘healthy eating’ actually means, we’ve developed a handy nutritional guide which can download directly from our website.

So to put it simply:
The QUANTITY of calories in versus calories out will dictate weight loss
The QUALITY of calories in will dictate the calories out which will dictate weight loss

So, you can eat a Colin the Caterpillar cake as your sole form of food and could lose weight. However, over any significant period, it’s the quality and quantity of your calories which will determine your weight loss success.