All Calories Are Not Created Equally

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  • chrisdavey
    chrisdavey Posts: 9,834 Member
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    I like turtles
  • sweetest_potato
    sweetest_potato Posts: 53 Member
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    Foods are different, obviously, but a calorie IS a calorie. SMH.
  • GingerbreadCandy
    GingerbreadCandy Posts: 403 Member
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    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    So… after reading the first page, let me know if I am correct in assuming this is how the discussion is going:

    1) A calorie is not a calorie because some are more satiating.
    2) You are wrong. A calorie is a calorie. You can eat junk food only and still lose weight.
    3) Yes but in terms of nutrition, energy and satiety, what you eat matters.
    4) But we are not talking bout nutrition, we are talking about weight loss only.

    I'd rephrase as:

    1) A calorie is not a calorie because some are more satiating.
    2) No, some foods are more satiating (although that varies by individual somewhat), as everyone agrees, but that has nothing to do what a calorie is a calorie means.

    WHY does everyone who wants to argue "a calorie is not a calorie" (not you, so far as I can see) insist upon misrepresenting what that even means. NO ONE claims that foods are all identical or equal in their effects on the individual. So why do people argue against an argument that no one makes? It's so confusing.

    It's like potatoes are dancing or something!

    Possibly, people who just started CICO, or who are not familiar with the concept, are worried that people may perceive the tool as being as being an excuse to "eat whatever you want". Just, you know, not in a good way, but in the "eat only fries every day." So they use the shortcut "not all calories are created equal" to try and explain nutrition.

    Problem is, CICO is not a diet, it's a tool. And that is where the main difference and misunderstanding lies, methinks.

    That, and there is possibly a misconception of what a calorie is.
  • FunkyTobias
    FunkyTobias Posts: 1,776 Member
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    chrisdavey wrote: »
    I like turtles

    p%2526rturtles.png
  • blktngldhrt
    blktngldhrt Posts: 1,053 Member
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    SGM_Adonis wrote: »
    1 Calorie = 4.18400 joules

    (1 calorie) + (1 calorie) = 8.36800 joules.

    (1 Kale Calorie) + (1 Mashed Cauliflower Calorie) = You're going to heaven.

    (1 Bacon Calorie) + (1 Nutella Calorie) = Burn in hell for eternity.


    Guess I'll be in limbo.
  • blktngldhrt
    blktngldhrt Posts: 1,053 Member
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    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    So… after reading the first page, let me know if I am correct in assuming this is how the discussion is going:

    1) A calorie is not a calorie because some are more satiating.
    2) You are wrong. A calorie is a calorie. You can eat junk food only and still lose weight.
    3) Yes but in terms of nutrition, energy and satiety, what you eat matters.
    4) But we are not talking bout nutrition, we are talking about weight loss only.

    I'd rephrase as:

    1) A calorie is not a calorie because some are more satiating.
    2) No, some foods are more satiating (although that varies by individual somewhat), as everyone agrees, but that has nothing to do what a calorie is a calorie means.

    WHY does everyone who wants to argue "a calorie is not a calorie" (not you, so far as I can see) insist upon misrepresenting what that even means. NO ONE claims that foods are all identical or equal in their effects on the individual. So why do people argue against an argument that no one makes? It's so confusing.

    It's like potatoes are dancing or something!

    Possibly, people who just started CICO, or who are not familiar with the concept, are worried that people may perceive the tool as being as being an excuse to "eat whatever you want". Just, you know, not in a good way, but in the "eat only fries every day." So they use the shortcut "not all calories are created equal" to try and explain nutrition.

    Problem is, CICO is not a diet, it's a tool. And that is where the main difference and misunderstanding lies, methinks.

    That, and there is possibly a misconception of what a calorie is.

    This.

    A calorie is a calorie. Just because it's a lot easier for me to stay within my calories when I eat less carbs and just because my body doesn't process sugar properly doesn't mean that fudge calories are greater than cashew calories. In terms of what they do to my body they're different..but calorie wise..they're the same.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
    edited December 2014
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    AdieEve wrote: »
    Anecdotally, I feel better when I eat well, and am more likely to stick to my weight loss regimen.

    Which has little to do with whether a unit of energy is a unit of energy or not...

    A calorie is a calorie. It's not, however a joule ;)

  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
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    chrisdavey wrote: »
    I like turtles

    but are all turtles created equally?
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
    edited December 2014
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    AdieEve wrote: »
    Anecdotally, I feel better when I eat well, and am more likely to stick to my weight loss regimen.

    when I have the flu and pile a bunch of pillows around me I feel better..I guess my pillows have some magical flu fighting antibodies in them...
  • jacksonpt
    jacksonpt Posts: 10,413 Member
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    It's unfortunate that the intent of this thread, which has a lot of merit, has been butchered by people who can't get past a phrase or a certain choice of words. Though, I guess that's basically what the forums are.
  • goldthistime
    goldthistime Posts: 3,214 Member
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    Of course, a calorie is a calorie. Except when someone is twisting the use of the term for entertainment value. Doesn't bother me. Someone made the comparison of a calorie to a centimetre. Let me do it with inches. Let's say I want to write an article that supports the "it's the way you use it" argument, and I entitle it "All inches are not created equally".
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    OMG- seriously- we are still on this??


    A calories value as a unit of measure is not the same as it's inherent value to the user.

    250 calories of snickers is still 250 calories.

    To me- it's worth it.
    To you- maybe not so much.

    Much like to me a yard of fabric is worth it.
    To you- if you make curtains- it's useless.
    its' still a yard of fabric either way.
  • asdowe13
    asdowe13 Posts: 1,951 Member
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    So a thing is a thing, but some things are better? It's still a thing.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
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    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    MrM27 wrote: »
    So… after reading the first page, let me know if I am correct in assuming this is how the discussion is going:

    1) A calorie is not a calorie because some are more satiating.
    2) You are wrong. A calorie is a calorie. You can eat junk food only and still lose weight.
    3) Yes but in terms of nutrition, energy and satiety, what you eat matters.
    4) But we are not talking bout nutrition, we are talking about weight loss only.

    Bonus arguments: Sugar is evil. Something about ketones.

    I also saw something about potatoes that looked cool, though I find there is a noticeable lack of jesus seeds.

    Here are some cookies. :smile:

    Baking-cookies_1641.gif

    By the way, the article itself really isn't that bad. I agree with lemurcat's sentiment that it does not emphasise CICO enough, but overall it is saying reasonable information. Some of the stuff may sound obvious to long-term users of MFP, but still could be useful to someone who just embarked on a nutrition journey.

    Well said.

    I find it fairly easy to adhere to my calorie goals if I am eating lots of vegetables, and exceedingly difficult if I am indulging in treats. So not just in terms of overall nutrition, but in terms of weight loss, all calories aren't equal in my eyes.

    Can you elaborate?

    I get the argument that limiting treats can make you feel deprived and eliminating them entirely is unsustainable, but it is so much easier for me to stay disciplined (as in eating under goal) if I eat certain foods. Certain calories if you like. More vegetables and less treats is the easiest way for me. More protein helps too if I can manage it.

    I totally agree with this, but it's simply not inconsistent with a claim that "all calories are equal." I find it pretty easy to feel satisfied eating a generally healthy diet with lots of vegetables and protein and not many refined carbs and treats in moderation only (although I don't assume what applies for me will for everyone). However, if someone asked me if a calorie is a calorie I'd say "of course," because I don't think that I could eat 500 calories over my maintenance level on a regular basis and not gain because the calories were from bananas or avocados or a quail I hunted myself.

    My understanding of this debate is that "a calorie is not a calorie" (or "all calories are created equal") means that they have identical effects for weight loss, even if you could hold all else equal.

    Of course, absent an experiment most people don't really hold all else equal. Obviously I don't assert that eating only cake would be a good idea or that I'd be able to successfully lose weight trying to do it and stay within my calories and at my current activity level. Not because cake magically causes you to gain weight beyond its calories, but because I'd fail if I tried to do it.

    "All calories are not equal" is just a shortcut way of saying "calorie for calorie, all foods are not equal". Yes, technically incorrect, but I don't get why it irks so many people. I guess if you look at calories like money, that you can spend on vegetables or donuts, you would never say "all dollars are not created equal". Meh. Maybe it is a shortcut phrase that we should work to eliminate.

    For once, it actually doesn't irk me, so long as I understand what is meant (as when you used it). Why I find it confusing is that many people (you see them on MFP, as well as elsewhere) really do think that 200 calories of, say, cheese or cake are more fattening than 200 calories of chicken breast or quinoa. Also, I think there is a widespread misunderstanding that someone who says "a calorie is a calorie" is denying that there are nutrient differences or that that matters.

    And, yeah, calories, like cash, are fungible. ;-) That's why you can't claim to have gained weight based on that piece of cake, as opposed to all the food you ate. But food differs.

    Hmm, I guess if it does irk me it's because I think it creates the perception of a disagreement where there really isn't one.
  • Fibrofighter13
    Fibrofighter13 Posts: 20 Member
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    Love Judy
  • mykaylis
    mykaylis Posts: 320 Member
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    tigersword wrote: »
    Yanicka1 wrote: »
    An inch does not equal an inch? A calorie is a measure. As far as weight loss, a calorie IS a calorie. If you talk about health, it is a different story

    You're right. It is a unit of measure. The confusion comes in when you follow the digestion of the different Macro components. Different Macro components get digested differently. Some use more of the available food calories for the digestion process than others. IMO, that fact gets a bit overblown by some.

    The only thing "overblown" about that is that people seem to think it has any kind of actual effect on metabolism. Yes, macros use different amounts of calories to digest, but the variation is miniscule. The difference between digesting a carb vs digesting a protein is roughly 0.1 calories, and the different between digesting protein and fat is about 0.22 calories. The thermic effect of food is roughly 10% of your (already calculated) maintenance calories, and no matter how you break up your macro ratios, it's always within a couple dozen calories. The BMR calculation alone has a greater margin of error than the effect on TEF by altering your diet.

    A few examples (based on 2000 calorie intake:)
    50/20/30(c/p/f) = 254 calories for TEF
    20/30/50(c/p/f) = 218 calories for TEF
    40/30/30(c/p/f) = 270 calories for TEF

    It's just not a big enough difference to have any practical impact on weight loss.


    thank you for posting this! i've always wondered about the numbers, since i've long known the concept.
  • Original_Beauty
    Original_Beauty Posts: 180 Member
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    Yanicka1 wrote: »
    An inch does not equal an inch? A calorie is a measure. As far as weight loss, a calorie IS a calorie. If you talk about health, it is a different story


    this.

    This too. I'd rather eat foods that nature my body, then foods that do it no good.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    can you expand on how a food natures your body???
  • ndj1979
    ndj1979 Posts: 29,136 Member
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    Yanicka1 wrote: »
    An inch does not equal an inch? A calorie is a measure. As far as weight loss, a calorie IS a calorie. If you talk about health, it is a different story


    this.

    This too. I'd rather eat foods that nature my body, then foods that do it no good.

    what does that even mean?
  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 9,978 Member
    edited December 2014
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    Yanicka1 wrote: »
    An inch does not equal an inch? A calorie is a measure. As far as weight loss, a calorie IS a calorie. If you talk about health, it is a different story


    this.

    This too. I'd rather eat foods that nature my body, then foods that do it no good.
    All foods nurtures the body, that how digestion works for any food consumed and the body really doesn't judge what you eat, it just takes whatever is in the food and uses it for metabolic processes. Now let me guess, your thinking when someone only eats junk food that it can't be good, well just so you know, I've actually never heard anyone ever say that because no one has actually said that. Your body will thank you for the protein, carbs, fat and micronutrients in that snickers bar even if the person consuming it either doesn't believe anything in that bar get metoblized or feels guilty for eating it. :)