When it comes to healthy eating, there’s a lot of talk around calories. You can track your food through Fitbit.com or with some of our partners and it will tell you how many calories you’re consuming, you can set calorie intake goals, and you can even measure what you’re burning compared to what you eat. But what if we told you that not all calories are equal?
Studies have shown that some foods are absorbed by our bodies differently than others. Nuts, for example, are high in fiber, and your body is actually only absorbing about 3/4th of the calories they contain. Foods high in sugar, like soda or sweets, also negatively impact our health more than lower-sugar foods in the same calorie range.
When choosing what to eat, try to read the whole label to figure out whether it’s good for you or not, rather than just the calories per serving. And here are just a few of our tips on which calories to favor, and which to avoid.
Instead of apple juice, try an apple. Both are about 100 calories (for 8 oz of apple juice vs. one medium apple), depending on the brand/size, and if it’s a ‘healthier’ brand of juice, they may even have similar amounts of sugar. The difference is that juice is absorbed very quickly, so you’re getting a lot of sugar in your system very fast, whereas the fiber in an apple helps to break things down slowly.
Instead of cheese for your sandwich or salad, try avocado. Both are about 115 calories (for 1 slice of cheddar cheese vs. 1/2 cup of avocado), but avocados are low in sugar and high in vitamins. And while avocado is high in fat, it’s “good” fat and helps lower bad cholesterol. Many cheese, on the other hand, are high in saturated fat.
Instead of fruit flavored Greek yogurt, try plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit or honey. Both are about 140 calories, depending on the brand, but fruit flavored yogurts tend to be high in sugars. A good plain Greek yogurt will give you plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and adding fresh fruit will or honey will sweeten things up without adding as much sugar.