Not all calories are the same

The calorie content of the food we eat has a direct influence on our weight. However, different foods must also be considered differently. Because 100 calories are not always equal to 100 calories. What matters is what the body does with the calories from the different foods - and that can vary greatly from calorie to calorie.

Various foods served on a wooden board and in a basket

The quantity

What does a large mountain of broccoli, a small cube of cheese and a piece of milk chocolate have in common? All three foods contain 100 calories. What makes them different for us? The quantity. We can eat 100 calories with very little or a lot of food. Since the feeling of fullness is caused by the stretching of the stomach, it is best to eat foods with as much volume as possible and a low calorie content if you want to lose weight.

The source

Another difference lies in the type of food. While half of the calories in broccoli come from proteins, in cheese it is mainly fat and protein and in milk chocolate it is as much as 70 percent sugar, i.e. carbohydrates. These different energy sources are responsible for the fact that the physically calculated energy content of a food deviates considerably from the energy actually used by the body. Our body can derive its energy requirements from four nutrients: Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram (.03 ounce), protein at 4 calories, fat at 9 calories and alcohol at 7 calories per gram. Recent research, however, has shown that the body manages these different energy sources in different ways. For example, the calorie value of protein is set too high by 20 to 25 percent. In other words, 100 protein calories provide less energy than 100 carbohydrate calories.

Carbohydrates for fast energy

The body can use the energy from carbohydrates most effectively. Carbohydrates are quickly digested and released into the blood as sugar building blocks in the form of glucose. With the help of the hormone insulin, glucose is transported into the cells and used as an energy source. If the supply is greater than the demand, glucose is converted into fat and stored in the tissue. Since carbohydrates are omnipresent in food and the body loves them because of their ease of processing, we tend to eat calories from this source far beyond our actual needs. Particularly readily available carbohydrates, such as sweets, white flour products and soft drinks, which cause high levels of insulin release, are responsible for cravings, frequent eating and the resulting obesity.

Fats provide energy by detours

At nine calories per gram (.03 ounce), fats provide more than twice as much energy as carbohydrates. However, the body needs more oxygen to convert fats into energy and is therefore less effective. Organs, such as the brain or muscles, therefore prefer energy from carbohydrates. But muscle or fat cells process only about 80 percent of dietary fats. The rest serve as body building blocks for cell membranes, hormones etc..

Proteins as fillers

Proteins differ from carbohydrates and fats in their metabolism by very special measure. In order to process proteins, the body must use a large part of the energy it has absorbed with them for their utilization. Up to 25 percent of the calorie content is used for their processing. Proteins are not primarily energy sources. Rather, they are a component of hormones and enzymes and are used to form body structures, such as the buildup of muscles. Only if something is left is it used to generate energy. But usually we cannot eat so much protein that something remains, because protein is the nutrient with the highest degree of satiety.


The calorie content of our foods must be considered as differentiated. If you want to lose weight, above all save carbohydrates and make more use of protein-containing foods. In the case of fat, we should pay particular attention to the intake of vegetable fatty acids from high-quality oils, which are used by the body as structural fats.

Publiziert am von