Are All Calories the Same?

By Will Llamas and the TLS Team

Is a calorie a calorie? The simple answer is yes. A calorie is a unit of energy measuring the energy benefit your body gets from consumption. So, a calorie from one food should equal the same amount of energy as another. But, although the simple answer, new research shows this may only tell half the story.

The calorie burning ability of people on three different diets was tested. Participants in the study were divided and put on low-fat, very-low-carb, and low-glycemic-index diets for 30 days. All participants ate the same amount of calories but, the study participants burned about 300 calories a day less on the low-fat eating plan the others.

The results of the study suggest that not all calories have the same effect on the body. In the case of the low-fat diet, it seems as if the low-fat calories actually slowed down and hindered the metabolism from digesting correctly.
“From a metabolic perspective our study suggests that all calories are not alike,” David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD tells WebMD. “The quality of the calories going in is going to affect the number of calories going out.”

This research is the first of its kind and its intriguing results will likely spark future studies.