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Calories vs Nutrition



400 caloriesMany of my clients expect to count calories, assuming that the correct amount of calories equates to healthy nutrition…

Lets look at it differently:

Calories – a measure of energy provided by food

Nutrition – a measure of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, essential fats, amino acids and fibre provided by food

If you purely count calories, don’t assume that you will be healthier.  Looking at the nutrients in the food however will enable your body to function well using these important elements from food to nourish your cells, transport messages, plump your skin, move your bowels and assist in the detoxification pathways.

Lets use white bread as an example of poor nutrition; the over processing of the flour removes B vitamins, fats and fibre, along with minerals such as folate, thiamin.  When we eat this bread it is turned very quickly into energy through digestion.  This raises blood sugar levels as the carbohydrates turn to sugar. The pancreas releases insulin, which takes the sugar out of the blood into the cells where it used for energy or stored as glycogen (stored energy)  in the muscles liver, or if we have enough glycogen and are sedentary, sitting at our desks or in front of the TV, the body will store this energy as fat!  Makes total sense.

Other low nutrient dense foods are chips, crisps, popcorn, biscuits, chocolate, sweets, alcohol, fizzy drinks, white pasta, white rice, processed ready meals.

The constant intake of low nutrient high calorie foods, encourages the body to store fat, which is why as soon as the dietary scales are tipped towards nutritionally dense foods, we store less fat as these foods are lower in fast releasing carbohydrates, provide vitamins, minerals, fats and fibre, all of which are necessary for extracting energy from food, keeping our cells functioning optimally and our bowels opening regularly.  Eating nutritionally dense foods also supports a healthy gut flora, but more on that next time.

Take at look at the healthy plate below, and start to use this as a template of what your meals look like using the ratios.   A great visual AID.

Healthy plate BANT


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