Why is calorie, calorie not equal?

Calorie, calorie is not equal. If it were otherwise, there would be no “bad” food. Meanwhile, different food groups, despite having the same energy value, influence the functioning of the human body in completely different ways. They regulate the processes of energy production, metabolism, inflammation, and affect the condition of the skin, hair and bones.

As I have mentioned many times in my articles, relying solely on the energy value of a product is a common and huge nutritional mistake. It is usually associated with the supply of low-quality food and the lack of expected effects. We will not build health or fitness on fast food, sweets and other processed products that currently flood the food industry. In this article, I will discuss in detail why not all calories are the same. Both in perspective health as well as the process reduction body weight.

Nutrition level

Human nutrition is related to the quantitative and qualitative satisfaction of the body’s needs for nutrients. Appropriate nutrition of the body ensures its proper functioning. Diet is one of the most important factors influencing a person’s health and well-being.

With a nutritious diet and no problems with digestion, absorption and use of nutrients, which we observe in the course of some diseases, the nutritional status of the body should be correct. Nutritional disorders occur with excess or deficiency of energy and simultaneous deficiency of nutrients. It should be emphasized that nutrient deficiency may also occur with excessive protein and energy supply. This condition is a consequence of nutritional errors.


The constantly progressing economic development of the world influences changes in lifestyle and eating habits. These changes have a significant impact on health and nutritional status. Access to processed, low-nutrient food products contributes to the perpetuation of inappropriate eating habits. As a result, we are seeing rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases.

Currently, old dietary models based mainly on products of plant origin have been replaced by low-nutrient products with high energy density, rich in saturated fatty acids and simple carbohydrates.


Calorie, calories are not equal. A diet based on processed products containing the so-called empty calories, leads to nutritional deficiencies. The consequences of nutritional deficiencies include: body weight disorders, weakened muscle strength, reduced vital activity, high susceptibility to diseases and infections, difficult wound healing, decreased well-being, and digestive system problems.

Why is calorie, calorie not equal?

Nutritional models based solely on caloric balance methods are not always effective. Moreover, a low-nutritional diet will adversely affect sports performance.

Who among us hasn’t heard advice like: “The best diet is MŻ”.

“Just eat less and move more.”

“Just create a caloric deficit and you will lose weight.”

Meanwhile, the eating process is more than just an energy supply system. A can of Coca-Cola and a handful of nuts may have the same number of calories, but they certainly don’t have the same effect on the body.

Do you think that a glass of Coca-Cola can be a better snack than half a handful of nuts?

After each meal, hormones, chemical reactions, and gene activity throughout the body change in different ways, depending on what we eat. These biological effects of food, apart from the caloric value, determine whether we are always hungry or full, lethargic or energetic. Will we lose weight or gain weight? Will we enjoy good health or fall ill.

The functioning of our body is influenced not only by the calories themselves, but also by their nutritional value, and this is what we should focus on when choosing food. Because calorie calories are not equal.

In addition, the food industry aggressively promotes junk food. Product labels contain misleading nutritional information, such as: “the package contains only 100 kcal”, “sugar-free”, “light”, “fit”, etc. On the market we can find, for example, low-fat products that actually contain more sugar than their full-fat versions. .

What food is harmful?

Scientists have concluded that highly processed carbohydrates have the most harmful impact on human metabolism and health. Which cannot be explained by their calorie content alone. Interestingly, nuts, olive oil and dark chocolate, products with a much higher calorie content, prevent obesity and support overall health.

Additionally, processed, refined carbohydrates are considered energy-intensive. They have high glycemic indexes, which means that they cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels. Therefore, consumption results in rapid uptake of high calories, an increase in plasma glucose and insulin concentrations, and subsequent absorption of nutrients into adipose tissue. This system of action therefore promotes rapid weight gain much more than balanced, nutritious diet models.

Fiber supply

Dietary fiber is an ingredient derived from plants. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains are rich in fiber. A processed diet high in refined carbohydrates is very low in fiber. Fiber lowers the glycemic index of food by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates and hindering the absorption of lipids and cholesterol from food. It provides a higher feeling of satiety, supports the functioning of the digestive system, and increases stool mass. It is impossible not to mention that fiber is an ingredient that programs the health of our intestines. It is a breeding ground for the so-called “good intestinal bacteria”. The presence of fiber in the diet is the foundation of a healthy diet. For this reason, it is necessary to include fresh vegetables and fruits in the daily diet.

Remember that thermal processing causes the degradation of fiber and vitamins from plants. Boiled or baked vegetables and fruits have lower fiber content and nutritional value than the raw version. Eating fresh vegetables meets the need for fiber and ensures high density nutritional, provides a lot of microelements with a relatively low amount of calories.

Vegetables provide fiber in amounts ranging from 0.5-5.8 g/100 g of product, and fruit – approximately 2.0 g/100 g of product.

The recommended intake of dietary fiber for an adult is 30-35 g/day.


The development of chronic inflammation in the body disrupts regenerative processes, reduces well-being, and increases susceptibility to diseases and infections. The development of inflammation is strongly dependent on dietary factors. Numerous scientific studies show that poor nutritional eating patterns are closely related to elevated serum markers of inflammation.

The main factors triggering the development of systemic inflammation include an increase in the consumption of processed food, “fast food”, ready-made products, snacks and sweet non-alcoholic drinks. Foods high in refined sugars, salt, white flour, processed meats, animal fats and food additives contain small amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other plant-based ingredients such as antioxidants. All these factors disturb the proper functioning of the body. Additionally, the body’s inflammatory response has been shown to be associated with intestinal dysbiosis. Which, as already mentioned, is related to a low supply of fiber in the diet.

These are further facts that firmly support the thesis that calorie calories are not equal.

Moreover, let us note that endurance exercise itself and the associated microdamage to muscle fibers lead to local inflammation in the athlete’s body. In such a situation, inflammation, additionally intensified by nutritional factors, will affect the regeneration processes and the sports disposition of the athlete.

Due to the above, runners should use a diet model with high biological value and anti-inflammatory properties. So as to support the general form of sports to the highest possible extent.


Instead of thinking only about counting calories, we should look at the issue of nutrition from a completely different perspective. In terms of how food affects our body. Often, a few changes can significantly improve energy levels, vitality, well-being, weight reduction or body composition.

Failure to follow appropriate dietary rules and focusing only on caloric value leads to inappropriate food choices. The consequence of a low-calorie, low-nutrient diet is dysfunction of the body, decreased mood and well-being, performance, deterioration of health and regeneration. The method of selecting food and the degree of nutrition of the body also play an important role for the athlete. Properly selected food helps you train healthily and improve sports performance. Therefore, whether a product ends up on our plate should be determined by its biological value, not just its energetic value. Let’s remember that calorie calories are not equal.


1. http://phie.pl/pdf/phe-2015/phe-2015-1-057.pdf

2. https://jms.ump.edu.pl/uploads/2011/3/209_3_80_2011.pdf

3. Ludwig, D. (2017). Always hungry?

4. Christ A, Lauterbach M, Latz E. Western Diet and the Immune System: An Inflammatory Connection. Immunity. 2019 Nov 19;51(5):794-811.

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