ABS Blog

Not all Calories are created Equal (part 1)
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Is this what they mean by burning calories?

When will these so-called “experts” in our field figure this out? If I hear one more time: “You burn X amount of calories per day, so if you eat 200 calories less you will lose weight.” You know, they did get one thing potentially right – you will likely lose weight, most of it being muscle.

Let’s say you burn about 2000 calories day. If your food program consisted of 1800 calories a day, you should lose weight, right?!?

If the average cookie is 250 calories, do you really think your diet can consist of 6 cookies a day and you’ll still lose weight? Come on people … it’s not that simple!

First off, let’s look at our basic macronutrients:

§  Protein 4Kcal (calories) per gram

§  Carbs 4Kcal per gram

§  Alcohol 7Kcal per gram

§  Fat 9Kcal per gram

Do you think these are digested and stored equally? NOPE. It takes energy to get energy.

If you were to eat 100 calories of each of those basic macronutrients, how many calories do you actually absorb (use and store) out of those 100 calories once they’re broken down?


§  Protein takes about 25-30% of its total calorie content to process, you absorb a net of 70-75 calories out of 100

§  Carbs about 10-15% to process, a net of 85-90 calories

§  Fat about 3% to process, a net of 97 calories

Right off the bat, you can see that THESE CALORIES ARE NOT EQUAL!

For illustrative purposes, let’s compare an “all-cookie diet” versus an “all-chicken” diet. NOTE: Neither would be healthy or balanced. (Sidenote: Google “balanced diet” – all you’ll find is conflicting and vague information. There is no true, universal, widely-accepted definition of a balanced diet. A balanced diet should be based on your individual needs and body composition.)


§  Cookies: 1500 calories, mostly carbs and fat = net about 1335 calories

§  Chicken: 1500 calories mostly protein = net 1125 calories

There’s a 200-calorie difference per day – that’s a difference of 1400 calories per week or 5600 calories per month!


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