Good Calories, Bad Calories.

There is a persistent myth, mainly perpetuated by those who would sell you something – a book, a product, a plan, a “superfood” – that there are good calories and bad calories. Honey = good Calories, white sugar = Bad, for example. The fact is they are all the same, a unit of energy. How “good” or how “bad” they are depends entirely on how many of them are consumed.

The myth is partially validated by the fact that certain foods are heavily laden with some forms of energy. These are often the foods we crave because from an evolutionary perspective they are the foods or forms of energy that were most difficult to obtain in the hunter-gatherer society. Sweet foods, fatty foods. Because of their relative scarceness those same foods are the more easily converted to fat and stored if not actually burned up in the daily metabolism needs of the body. Back when we hunted and gathered excess energy was scarce and we evolved to take maximum advantage of it when we got it. Now the energy we expend to obtain our food is minimal for most of us. And modern processed food has been refined to concentrate those nutrients we favour and remove the others, often to the point we end up eating almost pure sugar and concentrated fat. The point is, that if there is no excess, there will be nothing to store. Balance is the key.

Although it is important to balance the energy equation at the end of the week so that income does not exceed expenditure, it is also important to ensure that other nutritional requirements are also met. The body needs a certain amount of sugar, fat or carbohydrate, protein, fibre, micronutrients etc to fuel, maintain and repair itself. Some foods also contribute to a feeling of wellbeing and satiety. It is important to have some of that type of food in the daily diet. Without it, the body will feel as if it is being starved and the mind will develop cravings that can threaten the will to keep to a healthier regimen.

That is why it is important to allow for so-called Bad Calories now and then. Ice cream, pastry, pizza, whatever floats your contentedness boat.

Just be aware that if you don’t want to carry it around your waist, you will need to burn it off. And if the equation does not balance, that may take longer than it took to eat or drink it.

Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

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