For a long time, the basic formula for weight loss was “calorie in, calorie out.”  Or in other words, if you eat less calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight.  Unfortunately for us (and our waistlines), definitive statements like this are rarely entirely true. It doesn’t take a nutritionist to understand that 300 calories of broccoli isn’t the same as 300 calories of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The two most important things to consider are how your body reacts to each food and the health aspects of certain foods.

Your body handles protein, fats, and carbs in very different ways so to say that 100 calories of chicken breast is the same thing as 100 calories of a muffin is to dismiss basic biology.

Foods that contain high amounts of fiber are definitively the best at helping you lose weight because fiber makes you feel fuller and slows down your eating. When you slow down your eating, you allow your brain more time to recognize that your stomach is full. Fiber is also great for lowering your cholesterol and improving stomach heath.

Foods that contain high amounts of protein are also great for weight loss because they require your body to burn more calories to metabolize it. Because protein takes more time for your body to process, you feel full longer. Protein prevents your blood sugar levels from spiking as well, which prevents hunger cravings.

Even fats can be healthy, as long as you avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Those fats clog your arteries while unsaturated fats help you feel full.

On the other hand, foods with high carbs are very easily digested so you don’t feel full as long. Carbs can also make your blood sugar spike so you want to eat sooner. Foods with high cholesterol can contribute to heart disease.

These calories may be equal on paper but are very different. Losing weight isn’t as simple as calorie in, calorie out. There are healthy calories and unhealthy calories.

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