What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about weight loss, healthy lifestyle change, & dieting?
We have been lead to believe that calories, or rather counting calories, is the most important component to losing weight, dieting, &/or living a healthier lifestyle. Now, don’t get us wrong, calories are important. But what matters most is the QUALITY (source) of your calories.
Technically, a calorie is a calorie. Why? Because a calorie is simply a unit for measuring energy. However, your body uses calories or the various sources of energy differently, each having an affect on how the body regulates/balances your energy, hormones, and bodily functions.
Let us give you a quick example:
Question: Can you eat 100 calories of candy or broccoli? Of course you can! The difference is the quality! WE all know that candy will satisfy your sweet cravings but that’s pretty much its ONLY benefit. The broccoli on the other hand, is a better quality food, has the same amount of calories, and nutritionally, is 100 times better…making it a BetterChoice.
Here’s the takeaway: Calories are equal…in meaning only. Understand, your body treats them differently. This is why making BetterChoices about both your food consumption and your daily activity is so important. It not only matters that you eat, it matters what you eat! You want to make sure you are consuming foods that are nutritionally sound so you have the right fuel to burn those calories, increase your metabolism, & improve your overall health & wellness.
Here are 3 quick tips to help you “clean up” those calories:
1. Balance your meals: Make sure you incorporating those healthy fats, good carbs, and lean sources of protein. These three nutrients are also knows as macronutrients. Both protein and whole foods require more energy to digest than processed foods. The goal is to create a balanced plate at every meal. This simple tip will ensure you get the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs. It will also ensure you have lasting energy that is being supplied by leans proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. You will be surprised how much more you can eat when you improve the quality of the calorie source.
2. Eat foods with higher satiety index: WHAT??? lol! Simply put, eat foods that will keep you feeling full longer. You already know those sweet, salty, & savory snacks will satisfy you for the moment only! It’s easy to eat 500 calories in cookies than it is to eat 500 calories in veggies & protein. Trust us, you will notice a considerable shift in your energy levels when you eat more whole grains, fiber rich foods, leaner proteins, & fruit.
3. Watch those ADDED SUGARS: Insert the controversy surrounding fructose and glucose. The two are the main simple sugars in our diets. Glucose is metabolized by all of the body’s tissues, whereas, fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. The deal with fructose is that studies have shown it can cause insulin resistance, abdominal fat gain, increased triglycerides, and increase Ghrelin levels (hunger hormone). So, what does that mean for fruit? Nothing. This only applies to fructose from ADDED SUGARS and not fructose in fruit. Remember, fruits ALSO provide fiber, vitamins, and additional benefits.
Glucose, on the other hand, comes from nearly all carbohydrate containing foods like fruits and breads. Other foods includes dried fruits, honey, syrups, grains, beans, vegetables, and nuts.
As always, thank you for time, love & support. We hope what we have shared has helped you. Be sure to share this info with family & friends.
-Eric & Maleka Beal
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Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.