Show a classroom of 4th graders two photos. One is a picture of 100 calories of brussels sprouts. The other is a picture of 100 calories of Twizzlers. Ask them: “Do these two foods have the same effect on our bodies?” and you’ll probably get a resounding “NO!” along with a lot of giggles. We all know that 100 calories of brussels sprouts and 100 calories of Twizzlers are not going to have the same effect on our body. But for some reason, a lot of us are walking around believing that all calories are created equally.
Now, there’s one thing that we can’t argue about. Scientifically speaking, a calorie IS a calorie IS a calorie. If you take these two “foods” to a laboratory and burn them to reveal their energy, it is true that both the brussels sprouts and the Twizzlers would release 100 units of energy.
But, our digestive systems are not laboratories, are they? Our bodies process the types of food we put into it in a very different way. This brings us to BBP Food Commandment #7: All calories are NOT created equally.
We here at BBP do NOT believe in calorie counting. It’s too much math, it doesn’t always make sense and it’s not the way to build your best body. We want you to focus on eating colorful, whole foods that don’t contain a lot of ingredients. Here are our tips for consuming the RIGHT kind of calories (and skipping the math…and the hunger):
- Find the Fiber. Fibrous foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are packed with fiber which take longer to digest and keep your hunger at bay for a lot longer than a candy bar ever could.
- Don’t Fear the Fat. With so many “low-fat” products on the grocery store shelves these days, it’s easy to target fat as the enemy. And while we want you to stay away from saturated and trans fat, we’re all about welcoming the “good” fats into our diet. Have you read our post on our favorite fruit, the avocado? Healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and olive oil satiate your appetite and keep you full (and happy) for longer.
- Skip the Sugar. Sugar is like the popular mean girl at school. She’s pretty, she’s always dressed cute, she’s sweet, and she seems like so much fun. But then you get to know her. After a while she makes you feel exhausted from hanging out with her and she makes you feel like crap. She’s such a bitch, right? We’ll keep this one short and (semi) sweet. Sugar is NOT and will never be your friend. Stay away from seemingly “healthy” drinks (like Jamba Juice and soda) and the pastry tank of death at the Starbucks counter. Get your natural sugar in the form of apples, bananas, and coconut water. Your body will thank you.
- Keep it Colorful. Fruits and vegetables in vivid colors have huge health benefits. The more colorful your plate, the more vitamins and minerals you’re putting into your bod. Vegetables are filled with fiber and water and will keep you full, happy and healthy. So, taste the rainbow… of vegetables, not Skittles, mmmkay?
Have a favorite tip you want to share? Comment in the space below! Until next time, keep up with those braveEATS friends!