Pretty simple question right? Sure, there are a lot of foods we consume each day that may not be the “healthiest” of options for us, but just because they aren’t healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the reason we are gaining weight. Let’s break this down so that I can give you a better idea of what I mean.
We’ll use myself as the example: my body burns roughly 2800 calories per day. So each week I burn close to 19,600 calories (2800 x 7). Let’s take a food that’s considered to be unhealthy like donuts and another food that is considered healthy like broccoli.
If over an entire week I ate 19,600 calories in nothing but broccoli, my weight would be relatively the same as it was at the beginning of the week.
If over the next week I ate 19,600 calories in nothing but donuts, my weight would also stay relatively the same as it was at the beginning of the week.
My weight wouldn’t change much because I’m putting the same amount of energy into my body as what I’m exerting out of my body over the extended period of time. Sure, there are many more health benefits to broccoli than there are to donuts, but just because the broccoli is “healthier” doesn’t mean it will cause less weight gain or more weight loss if the calories are matched. Calories in vs. calories out will always be the determining factor.
Now it would absolutely be much harder to eat 2800 calories in only broccoli compared to 2800 calories in donuts. Broccoli is a low calorie, high volume food. Meaning you can eat a lot of it for minimal calories. On the other hand, donuts are a high calorie, low volume food. Meaning smaller amounts equal higher calories. When taking food volume into account food choices will definitely play a part in reaching your goals. If you come home at night and are starving with only 800 calories left what would be the best option:
(assuming calories are matched from both meals)
1. 6 inch pizza and 12 oz soda
2. Chicken breast, baked potato, broccoli, side salad, diet soda and two serving of low calorie ice cream
If that decision were up to me I would be taking the second option every time. Both options may equal 800 calories and I’ll end up with the same results, but I know a small 6 inch pizza and soda isn’t going to fill me up after a long day and I’ll have a much greater chance of slipping up and eating more food later on at night due to hunger.
This is where the foods we eat become the problem. No food should necessarily be off the table, and we should add a good variety into our diet as long as we practice moderation. But in the big picture, it is much better to eat higher volume, lower calorie foods the majority of the time such as veggies, fibrous carbs, and proteins to ensure we are keeping ourselves full and not exceeding our calorie limits each day if weight loss is the goal.
If you have any questions or comments we’d love to hear your feedback!