Calling all calorie counters — not all calories are the same! You could be weighing, measuring, and logging every single ounce of food you eat, but it may not make any difference if they aren’t the right foods. Some foods will cause you to eat more, while others actually make your body burn off off fat or speed up your metabolism.
For instance, when you’re choosing between that 250 calorie protein bar versus that 250 calorie bag of Skittles, they may look like equals. Sure, you know the Skittles aren’t as good for you, but if they are the same calorie count, your body should add them into your system in the same way right? Wrong.
Your body’s metabolic system is more complex than a simply calorie tally. The protein is challenging to process, which means you actually burn calories beyond those you’re taking in to digest it while it also makes you feel full longer. Plus it will cause a very low spike in insulin, which is the goal since too much insulin stops your body from burning fat.
On the other hand your equal calorie bag of Skittles is pure simple sugar which is digested very easily and stored in your body immediately as glycogen or fat, causes a massive spike in insulin, and doesn’t make you feel full at all. Not only that, sugar actually acts on dopamine receptors in your brain so that later your brain will trick you into craving more sugar that you don’t need. That’s why sweets often lead to more and more sweets!
So while it may be easy to just log your calories, make sure you’re watching the content of what you’re eating, not just the number. Here are a few foods that are good to keep in your diet:
Fruits: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, apples, bananas, pears, melon, blueberries
Veggies: Sweet potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, lentils, hot peppers, broccoli, asparagus, avocado
Protein: Lean meats, nuts, low/no sugar Greek yogurt, eggs, beans, salmon
Grains: Oats, protein bars, quinoa