“All calories are the same, it doesn’t matter if I eat 100 calories of candy or 100 calories of broccoli” is a common statement I hear from clients who are trying to lose weight. This has been an ongoing debate in the fitness world for quite some time now, but I’m here to explain why this statement is FALSE.

Let’s take soda and broccoli for an example. Do you think that 100 calories of broccoli and 100 calories of soda have the same effect on our bodies? Of course not. We know that broccoli provides our body with vitamins and minerals that help us function more properly, whereas soda contains no nutritional value whatsoever. If that is the case, don’t you think our bodies would be better at processing/utilizing broccoli better for weight-loss compared to soda? Some people still need convincing.

We are taught that we will lose weight as long as we “burn more calories than we consume”. This comes from Newton’s first law of thermodynamics. It states that the energy of an isolated system is constant. This means that, in an “isolated” system (also known as a laboratory), 100 calories of broccoli and 100 calories of soda are the same. Yes, if burned in an isolated environment, 100 calories of broccoli and 100 calories of soda would release the same amount of energy. However, our bodies are NOT an isolated system. We have extremely complex digestive systems.

The sugar in the soda (glucose and fructose) gets absorbed and quickly spikes your blood sugar. The rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin- the hormone responsible for belly fat storage, increases in triglycerides, and raises in blood pressure. Insulin also blocks your appetite control hormone leptin, so your brain doesn’t tell you that you’re full. This leads to over-consumption of calories, thus weight gain.

Broccoli, on the other hand, is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that is slowly digested in the body. The slow digestion doesn’t cause a spike in insulin, blood sugar, or any other harmful hormones. There’s also the added benefits of lower cholesterol, detoxification, and improved metabolism.

So, do you still think 100 calories of soda and 100 calories of broccoli are the same?

Written by Tayler M.