A Calorie is a Calorie is a Calorie
or is it?
words by iona
Did anyone else used to believe that calories were those nasty little gremlins who crept into the wardrobe at night and made their clothes smaller?
Technically, calories are ‘units of heat’ used to measure energy, but all we really need to how is how they affect us, and how they can influence our food choices.
Nutritionally speaking, not all calories are equal, take for instance these two examples of 100 calories.
One is potato, salt and fat with some flavouring – and this 100 calorie snack will raise your blood sugar faster than the salt can even start to give you fluid retention and harden the arteries! This isn’t what I would call great food but if it’s cellulite, puffiness, tight jeans and generalised sluggishness you’re aiming for then this is your snack!
Vitamin rich, nutrient dense and colourful – the other 100 calorie option will keep your blood sugar levels nice and steady, so you can concentrate and get stuff done whilst giving you some slow release energy as well as keeping you full until meal time.
Looking further than the basic calorie count on the food you eat, means you give yourself a much greater chance to succeed, by making each and every calorie work in your favour.
The concept of nutrient density determines which foods have the highest nutritional value, it’s a measure of the amount of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fibre, essential fatty acids etc) a specific food has in comparison to the number of calories.
Nutrient dense food has high levels of nutrients in relation to the calories in that food.
Easiest explained by showing you, these two examples below have approx. the same calories!
120g (6 pieces) of chicken nuggets might have a decent enough amount of protein (often questionable) but the very high levels of saturated fat and salt combined with the all but non-existent vitamins or minerals mean these are not ‘nutrient dense’
120g piece of Salmon is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! Super high in the B Vitamins, A, E, D, C, essential fatty acids, protein, good fats, zero carbs, the list of its virtues goes on.
You decide what goes into your mouth
Make great choices
You’re worth it!