True or False:  All calories are created equal.  FALSE!

You may argue from the laws of physics they are the same form of energy and you would be right.  However, our body does not process calories the same.  For example, pretend you had a 20-ounce soda in one hand and 7 cups of broccoli in the other hand.  Which one has more calories?

They both have approximately 240 calories.  In comparison, the soda has no fiber, vitamins or minerals and has 15 teaspoons of sugar.  The sugar spikes your insulin causing you to ‘crash’ later and become moody and irritable until you get your next sugar fix.  We all know that sugar is addictive and not friendly to the waistline.

Broccoli has approximately ½ teaspoon natural sugar, 35 grams of fiber and is rich in vitamins and minerals that won’t cause your insulin to spike.  It also has ‘phytonutrients’ which are power-packed plant nutrients that protect the body and fight disease.

I was once that young mom looking for 100-calories snacks and diet sodas.  I was the employee who bought Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones to throw in a microwave for a low-calorie lunch.  I was the wife that bought that dreadful “Chicken Tonight” in a jar thinking I was feeding my husband a healthy meal that had chicken and vegetables.  To my family’s delight, I don’t buy frozen meals or jarred dinners anymore.

All foods are not created equal.  A 100-calorie pack of cookies is not the same as a medium apple with the same number of calories.    Focus on the QUALITY of food you eat.   Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store than down the center aisles looking for reduced calorie snacks that are deceiving.  Buy raw cashews or almonds and raisins and make your own trail mix.  Yes, it’s higher in calories but it provides the healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, Omega 3, and magnesium that can’t be discredited.  A handful of trail mix can be very satiating.

I was at my chiropractor’s office the other week and we were discussing proper nutrition.  He explained that one of his clients couldn’t understand why he wasn’t losing when he exercised all the time and watched his calories.  When my chiropractor asked about his diet, it included minimal whole foods but focused on packaged protein bars and snacks.  Upon “tweaking” his diet and eating whole fruits, nuts and vegetables instead of the protein bars, he noticed a drop in his weight and said he felt so much better.

Are you looking for a simple, small change you could implement this week?  If so, try substituting one packaged snack with a whole fruit paired with a small handful of nuts/seeds or a half cup of fresh veggies with hummus.

Making simple choices in the quality of food you eat can lead to the same or better results than restricting your calorie intake.