While pretty much all food labels nowadays display the calorie content of a product, calories alone are not an optimum nutrition criterion. Few calorie counter apps or any calorie intake calculator will address this. And, contrary to popular belief, calories are not equal. Some are clever! Your Food Cleverness will tell you that.
Health professionals fail to agree regarding weight loss and nutrition in general. If their recommendations had been actually effective, we would have eradicated obesity long ago. Unfortunately, this is not the case, largely because of the plethora of nutritional lies and myths spread by the media, government, traditional medicine and advertising. The most widespread of these lies, and the most pernicious is the idea that all calories have the same value.
But what is exactly a Calorie?
The calorie are a simple unit to measure food energy not nutrition. Some foods contain only sugars, only fats, protein or a mix of the three. Depending on their quality, calories from these foods will also have a different effect on our metabolism.
The term “calorie” was invented back in the 19th century by Wilbur Olin Atwater. This chemist amused himself by incinerating foods and measuring their calorific value (the heat generated by these foods during combustion.)
So, calories may be a very good measure to assess with what you get warm in winter! For nutrition, it’s a whole another story!
What does Isaac Newton have to do With Calories?
The obsolete concept of “equal calories” draws on the work of Isaac Newton on thermodynamics, according to which the energy of an isolated system is constant. That is to say, theoretically speaking 1 kcal of vegetables and 1 kcal of high-sugar beverages have the same value, and as such relying just on calories instead of utilizing the best foods for losing weight and healthy living is not using your Food IQ.
Newton’s principle is not wrong; it just does not apply to complex living systems. When we ingest food, they interact directly with our body’s complex biological system that will take care of transforming them. Thus, we cannot speak of this as an isolated system, especially where it comes to working out a diet plan for women or men.
Tracking Calories Alone Doesn’t Help With Weight Loss:
In theory, it is enough to simply know our energy needs (calories), and buy all our favorite foods only ensuring that their caloric value does not exceed our daily needs (which any calorie counting app can help with). Just look at the caloric value in a food label, not to exceed the recommended daily dose for your weight, size, and activity, and voila! But then, this nutritional simplification masks a far more complex reality. This concept brings a lot more problems, excesses and bad habits than it provides solutions.
Tracking calories alone is not enough to maintain or lose weight. 100 calories of green beans isn’t worth the same as 100 calories of butter or 100 calories of yogurt! The internal structure of different foods (their nutrient composition) is more important than their caloric value. It’s thus more crucial to keep track of macronutrients than it is simple numbers of calories.
You may say: that’s daunting, now I have to track macronutrients also!
If you’re already tracking the number of calories you intake on a daily basis and struggling to drop those extra pounds, you may think that adding macronutrients to the equation would make it even harder.
That’s right! But here comes the Clever Calories concept into play by using Food Intelligence! Instead of calculating and tracking calories, and then macronutrients, the hassle-free Clever Calories Index lets you achieve your goals by keeping track of Clever Calories only, making this new approach to lose weight the best calorie tracker of all!
Fiber makes calories cleverer: The presence of fiber creates a barrier to digestion, and therefore to the release of the maximum energy. Dietary fiber play two key roles: they shorten transit time of foods in the guts; and limit the enzymatic digestion of starch. Result: the digestion of whole bread provides less energy than white bread, and the undigested fraction will nourish the intestinal flora.
Proteins make calories cleverer: Proteins are essential to humans because our bodies cannot synthesize them from other nutrients. Aside from its appetite suppressant effect, foods rich in proteins require high energy expenditure to be digested and processed by your body. Result: the amount of clever calories derived from protein is less than equivalent ones, i.e., you end up digesting fewer calories.
Proteins and Fiber make calories cleverer: you intake fewer calories than the equivalent calories on the food label. What about other macronutrients?
Unlike proteins and fiber, saturated fats, sugar, and to a lesser degree carbs, would diminish the cleverness of the calories.
Carbohydrates: They produce the energy needed for our bodies and allow the brain to function as well. On the Calorie Cleverness scale, carbs come halfway between proteins and fiber on one side and saturated fats and simple sugars from the other.
Sugar: Right after we ingest sugar, our intestines absorb it extremely quickly. As a result, sugar levels in the blood increase and with it, insulin levels. Calories contained in drinks such as sodas are called ‘empty calories’ for a reason. It is because beyond providing energy they are devoid of any nutritional value. They add up to the overall calories count without benefit: Sugar makes calories less clever!
Saturated fats: Beware of hidden fat! Nowadays, saturated fats are hidden in many products, and it’s hard to identify them even by reading the compositions on labels
They provide taste, softness, or crunchiness, responding to a pure a commercial need and not to nutritional value. Providing 9 kcal per gram, they make calories you consume pile up and like sugar, make you eat a lot more. Saturated fats make calories less clever!
Bottom Line: USE YOUR FOOD CLEVERNESS, TRACK CLEVER CALORIES
This comparison between different macronutrients shows clearly that not all calories are equal and that the same number of calories from different types of foods is likely to have very different biological effects. This makes using regular weight loss apps and any typical calorie intake calculator ineffective.
Some calories are clever, others not so much. Some can be addictive, restorative, metabolism-boosters, or fat gainers. Each and every food we ingest contains specific information that is transmitted to our bodies, and will then trigger positive (clever) or negative reactions.