Not all calories created equal

Very close to the top of the list of things I’ve been loving lately: blueberries, milled flax seeds and super viscous sunflower seed butter. Basically, it’s the ultimate breakfast.

Also on the list of things I love: spending time with Dan (duh) and making easy dinners.

Tonight, we were debating what to do for dinner. Go out? His hall? Uhh… Cereal? Ultimately we settled on the never-fail option of pizza! His was basic sautéed mushrooms, pepperoni, pizza sauce and cheese. Her’s was creamy Swiss cheese, baked apples, a little cheddar and honey drizzled on top.

Dan was questioning my sanity, but my pizza was seriously good!

(Longer than usual) Friday Fragments:

This semester, one of the classes I am in is “media and ethics,” which is a requirement for the journalism school. For this class, we look at various ethical dilemmas that we may face as journalists.

For a classic example of a dilemma: Joe knows his father committed a crime. Should he tell the truth by turning his father in to the police? Or, should Joe remain loyal to his father by keeping the secret? Essentially, this is all about choosing truth or choosing loyalty.

By requiring this class, the objective is that we students will be so experienced at making ethically based decisions that they will soon be second nature. I knew the class has been successful when I was faced with somewhat of a dilemma today…

On the front page of today’s University Daily Kansan — the student newspaper that I have previously held management positions with — was a story about getting more color in your diet. Good idea, right? I mean, I’m all for increasing the nutritional variety that students consume.

But there were a few points that really glared out at me as sending the wrong message. Specifically, one quote by the school’s dietician said, “What’s been found clinically is that it’s not when you eat, but how many calories go in versus what you burn.”

Now, I know this dietician and I know that she promotes consuming whole-grains and other nutritionally packed foods. Although much of weight comes down to calories in and calories out, I know there is more to overall health than that.

Allow me to illustrate by comparing two 100-calorie foods…

First, take a large apple that runs around 100 calories and is filled with natural vitamins and nutrients.


Then take a standard “100 Calorie Pack” with enriched white flour, partially hydrogenated oil, corn syrup solids and other unpronounceable ingredients.

I will admit that the second illustration is my own and was not intensely researched — Instead, it is based on common sense that not all calories are created equal.

Sorry, Kansan, I’m blowing the whistle on this one. Maybe I’m not too loyal, but that’s just the truth.

What do you think? Are all calories created equal?

9 responses to “Not all calories created equal

  • fitchocoholic

    I definitely don’t think that calories are created equal!
    If they were, we wouldn’t feel so much better fueling ourselves with whole foods than with over processed stuff.
    That pizza sounds good, by the way. =D

  • Katelyn Johnson

    Of course they’re not fat has 7 calories per gram while carbs and protein only have 4. Alcohol has 9 calories per gram and no nutrients

  • Alaina

    I totally agree. When I was losing weight, I did so with Weight Watchers products and they were loaded with stuff I couldn’t pronounce. Sure, I lost weight, but I feel so much better now that I’ve included whole foods into my diet. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    As a registered dietitian, I felt the need to comment. I absolutely think you’re right… Being/eating healthy requires eating nutrient-dense, whole foods. I think what the other dietitian was probably getting at was weight loss, and not talking about overall general health. For weight loss, yes, you need to consume less calories than you expend… that’s just how it works. Now, whether those calories come from fat (7kcal/g), carbs (4kcal/g) or protein (4 kcal/g), technically it doesn’t really matter; 2000 calories is 2000 calories. But being healthy, and fueling your body with nutritious foods to maximize the benefits of all the various nutrients requires eating those well balanced meals, and not 2000 calories from fat, or whatever else. Great post to get people thinking!

  • Nicole

    All I know is that some calories taste much better than others. 🙂

    I see you are also a donut fan and entered the donut pan giveaway on Iowa Girl Eats. I am also giving away a donut pan, a copy of Lara Ferroni’s Doughnut Book, and an extra wide pastry bag for making French crullers on my blog. Stop by and enter to win. Winner will be announced on March 15.

  • Jess

    I believe that a calorie is a calorie in the sense that if you still overeat/undereat no matter what you’re eating you’ll lose/gain weight, BUT forms of cals are defff better than others 🙂

  • Jess

    I am actually kind of undecided on this, but I think eating healthier can only help with weight loss- and obviously benefits of healthier foods make you healthier as a person.

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves

    I definitely think that not all calories are created equal! Things like fruits and veggies might have more calories than a highly processed 100-cal pack, but chances are that the natural food is better for you!

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