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Empty Calories versus Supportive Calories

When it comes to weight loss there’s a huge misconception about calories. While it’s true that you can’t eat more calories than your body needs and lose fat, it’s more about the quality of calories than the quantity that’s important.

The food industry has done a magnificent job in deceiving people with low-fat, low-calorie, aka “diet foods.” Truth be told, it’s the processed and refined foods that are largely to blame for people not being able to lose weight.

Empty Calories: 100 Calorie Snack Packs

The latest trend is the promotion of “100 calorie snack packs” with potato chips, crackers, cookies, etc. The misconception is thinking that these foods are ok since they only contain 100 calories. The problem is the 100 calories are void of any real nutritional value. They do nothing to support lean muscle and the calories will only end up being stored as fat.

Make no mistakes about it, processed and refined foods are nothing more than “empty calories.” Eating these foods turn your fat storing genes on, regardless of the calorie content.

Let’s look at two snack examples to see the difference of “empty calories” versus “supportive calories.”

Snack #1 is a 100 calorie snack pack of Ritz crackers. This falls into the “empty calories” category.

Snack #2 is a handful of almonds (8-10 almonds) and a medium apple- approximately 160 calories. This falls into the “supportive calories” category.

100 Calorie Snack Pack

100 Calorie Snack Pack

The 100 calories from the Ritz crackers are empty calories void of any nutritional value. You’ll also find unnatural ingredients in this food called “negative partitioning agents,” that help turn your fat storing genes on.

Examples include partially hydrogenated soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup. When you eat this food the negative partitioning agents prevent the natural secretion of hormones like Letpin that triggers a sense of fullness.

Not only will you not feel full, you’re likely to stay hungry due to the impact of high fructose corn syrup on serotonin levels.

Eating the 100 calorie Ritz cracker snack pack simply creates a hormonal mess in your body. Hormones that help trigger fullness are turned off while hormones that signal hunger are turned on.

almonds and apple

almonds and apple

Snack #2 with the almonds and apple constitute MORE total calories but the difference is the quality of calories. Since you’re eating whole foods your body will receive nutrients that can feed muscle and not fat.

There’s also natural, healthy fats in the almonds that can trigger a Leptin release signaling a sense of fullness. These foods create the correct hormonal balances in your body for fat loss to occur.

As you can see it’s not just about the number of calories but what’s in the calories that really matters. If you want to be successful with losing weight you must minimize the processed and refined “dead foods” from your diet. There’s just no getting around this fact.

Eat “primal foods” (whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and healthy omega 3 fats) for best results. Eat until you’re full and no more. When you eat primal foods your body will send the right hormonal signals to indicate fullness which will help prevent over-eating.

Eating processed and refined foods, regardless of calorie content, will only leave you hungry and put your body in a hormonal tailspin signaling fat storage.

Don’t buy into any food that promotes itself as being “low calorie,” or “low-fat.” These foods are the real enemy in any weight loss program.

Check out my short video message below where I go into more detail on “empty calories.”

I hope this gives you a better understanding of calories and reveals the truth about what these so called “diet foods” really are…empty calories that promote fat storage!

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios.

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Category: Nutrition.