This mantra is true in some instances however should not be confused as the end all be all key to healthy living or weight-loss. Contemporary research shows that the quality of calories consumed is just as important as the quantity. 100 calories from a piece of white toast is different than 100 calories from an egg, broccoli, or a pad of butter. This might seem obvious but historical research has ingrained in our minds, the message that a calorie in equals a calorie out, which is now proving to be questionable and perhaps even counterproductive to our health goals. The latest studies show that calories from simple refined carbohydrates might even be worse than calories from saturated fats, which we have been told for years, are the main culprit of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic disorders. “If you reduce saturated fat and replace it with high glycemic-index carbohydrates, you may not only not get benefits—you might actually produce harm,” David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital Boston, argues. The next time you eat a piece of buttered toast, he says, consider that “butter is actually the more healthful component.” The reason? According to one study in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, “women who were overweight and in the quartile that consumed meals with the highest average glycemic load, a metric that incorporates portion size, were 79 percent more likely to develop coronary vascular disease than overweight women in the lowest quartile because according to Ludwig, “These trends may be explained in part by the yo-yo effects that high glycemic-index carbohydrates have on blood glucose, which can stimulate fat production and inflammation, increase overall caloric intake and lower insulin sensitivity.” Curious about how alcohol compares? When comparing alcohol to carbs, for instance, it is  important to take into account that per gram, alcohol has 7 calories whereas carbs only have 4. Many alcoholic drinks also have additional calories from juices, syrups and other liquids that are mixed into them.

The bottom line? Our systems are much more complicated than the the statement “a calorie in equals a calorie out” suggests. It’s healthier and in many cases more conducive to weight loss, development of lean muscle tone and prevention of disease to eat more calories from some foods than others. Stick with a low carb, low saturated fat and non-processed totally organic whole foods diet.

The JWM menus and recipes teach you how to eat according to these guidelines with vegetables, fruit, protein, whole grains and some dairy as the mainstay of your diet while leaving behind simple carbs, refined sugar, processed foods, and saturated fat. Check out the JWM menus and recipes here by signing up for your free 1-week trial. Then, become a JWM official member so that you can make your new lifestyle last!