Quality Verses Quantity – calories in calories out?

The dogma of calories in and calories out has plagued the health and weight loss industry for years but more and more research is showing that its just not true. Quality has a greater part in health and weight then quantity. In this blog I will share with you some facts that can help you to choose your food more consciously. 

Let’s start with the basics – Calories. We hear about them all the time but what actually is a calorie? A calorie is essentially a measure of energy. Stay with me on this bit calories in food are measured by bomb calorimetry. A portion of the food is put in to the “bomb”, the “bomb” is then filled with oxygen and surrounded by water. The food is then ignited, as the food burns the temperature of the water raises. The raise in temperature is then calculated to an equivalent in calories. This is all well and good, but we are not “bombs”. The way the human body processes calories isn’t that simple – your ages, health status, amount of body fat versus lean tissue and how well your digestive system works has an impact on how many calories you can extract from your food. So that 228 calorie mars bar might give you 250 calories, or it might give you 150 calories. If you have ever been on a calorie counting diet and not lost weight this could be the reason why.  

The way you extract the nutrients and energy from your food is extremely unique in part because our microbiome – the bacteria within our intestines and digestive tract. Within our microbiome we host 40trillion bacteria from up to 1000 different species. 10-20% of our energy comes from the bacterial breakdown of food. The balance of these bacteria is key in optimal energy extraction from food. Studies using fecal transplant (yuck) of bacteria such as Akkermansia family of bacteria have been shown to support weight loss in people that are over-weight or obese. In order to support optimal bacterial colonisation a diet filled with nutrients and fibre is essential. 

So your body may be doing different things with your calories but even if the calculations were right look at it this way a 45g bar of dairy milk has 240calories and whole medium avocado has 250. 

Avocados contain – 

vitamin A

vitamin K

vitamin C

vitamin E





B vitamins (except B-12)








The dairy milk contains calcium.

So these 2 foods are not made equal choosing the avocado will increase your nutrient intake and the fat and fibre content will help you to feel fuller for longer while the dairy milk will just leave you wanting more. 

In order to be health and maintain a healthy body weight we need to choose foods that are nutrient dense, rich in fibre and will support healthy colonisation of our microbiome. The foods that help use do this are generally plant based – fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, pulses and legumes (if you tolerate them). This doesn’t mean you need to be vegan or vegetarian you just need to be proactive in your choices. 

If you are ready to choose health please get in touch – [email protected]

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