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Nutrients vs. Calories


While the amount of calories you consume is crucial for weight loss, the quality of your food is often more important (and often ignored). Losing weight isn’t all about cutting calories. Your brain is looking for nutrients, not calories, and your brain will prod you to eat until you’re satisfied. A recent landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that specific foods, not just their calorie content, influence weight gain.

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After adjusting for age, baseline body mass index, and lifestyle factors such as exer- cise and sleep duration, the authors of the study found that the foods most associat- ed with adding pounds over a four-year period were French fries, potato chips, sugary drinks, meats (unprocessed red meat and processed meats), sweets, and refined grains; the foods most associated with shedding pounds were yogurt, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

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These results aren’t exactly ground-breaking, but they confirm what weight-loss experts have been recommending for years. To stay slim and healthy, fill up on high-fi- ber, nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats. Try eating a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts prior to a large meal. This will help you avoid overloading on empty calories later, when you’re starving.

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