A Calorie is Not a Calorie

Nearly every country across the globe is dealing with a rising obesity problem. Thus far, nothing has worked to curb it. It’s worth noting that, while obesity is certainly concerning, it’s the metabolic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and strokes that result in mortality.

As the common misconception goes, to lose weight and be metabolically healthy, we have to focus on reducing our caloric intake and increasing our energy expenditure. In essence, fewer calories in and more calories out.

Yet in our conversation with Dr. James DiNicolantonio, he urges that this theory is inherently false and has lead to increased weight gain and metabolic disorders across the population.

Quality Over Quantity

The food industry fervently pushes the belief that all calories are created equally and that a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight.

But as Dr. DiNicolantonio points out, “If you’re eating quality foods, your engine is going to be more powerful and it’s going to be able to utilize that nutrition differently. If you’re eating junk food, then it’s going to mess up your hormones, increase fat-storing hormones. You’re going to literally do different things with the same amount of calories that you’re eating.”  

While Dr. DiNicolantonio doesn’t favor any particular diet, he does argue that focusing on calories takes away from the bigger problem: ingredients matter more than caloric intake. For example, a gram of fat and a gram of simple carbohydrates are metabolized very differently. One breaks down slowly and sustains cravings while the other causes insulin to rise before leading to a drop that results in even more intense cravings.

“Let’s say consuming 3000 calories of junk food, I can still give you 3000 calories, but of fresh, real food, you will lose fat and you will lose weight despite not being in a calorie deficit.”

In his latest book, The Mineral Fix, Dr. DiNicolantonio explains why food should be the primary source of nutrients.

Processed foods cooked in cheap vegetable oils will mess up our hormones and turn on fat storage. But eating real whole foods will always reduce our cravings, boost metabolism, and drive overall less food intake.

About Dr. DiNicolantonio

Dr. James DiNicolantonio is a cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. Author of The Salt Fix and Superfuel, Dr. DiNicolantonio is a well-respected and internationally known scientist and expert on health and nutrition.

He has contributed extensively to health policy and has even testified on the harms of added sugars. He is the author or co-author of approximately 200 publications in the medical literature and is also on the editorial advisory boards of several medical journals. Dr. DiNicoltanoio has shared his expertise on The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, and international news media outlets.

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