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Study: Not All Calories Are Created Equal

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Remember when we discussed how calories aren’t all created equal?

women standing on a scale[source]

Well, now there’s a new study to prove it.

This study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, studied participants following either a low-carb, a low-fat or a low-glycemic approach, with all participants consuming the same number of calories. According to the results, participants following a low-fat diet burned fewer calories, making it harder to lose weight. The low-carb diet proved to burn more calories, but also increased cortisol, the stress hormone that may increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The low-glycemic approach seemed to offer the most balanced results–> moderate calorie burn with little risk of side effects.

The researcher who led the study, Dr. David Ludwig, of Boston’s Children Hospital, explained on “CBS This Morning,” “These findings suggest, from a metabolic perspective, all calories are not alike. And for the best long-term outcomes, avoid restricting any major nutrients, either fat or carbohydrate, and focus on reducing refined carbs like white bread, white rice, potato products and sugary foods.” [source]

So, just in case you still find yourself counting calories, this is a good reminder that it’s the quality of food that matters, not just the number of calories!

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Good reminder…I use to count calories in high school and just eat mainly bars…yuck! Now, it is whole foods, and primarily a plant based much more satisfying!


I used to go on the 80/20 rule – but did that with the goal of changing that ratio. It took a few years, but now we aren’t attracted AT ALL by junk.

Our friends are pretty darn good, so I’d say it’s visiting certain family members during holidays that keeps it from being 100/100! You just know the pumpkin pie’s full of canned condensed milk and white sugar, and then the poor pumpkin’s further insulted with great slatherings of, ugh,cool whip!


Thank goodness I’m way over the restricting fat or carbs thing, but this is such good info to share with others.


I definitely still count calories so this is a great reminder! I read that study, and definitely agreed with the points. I think its pretty clear to eat that way among most healthy living bloggers, but its helpful to know there is research to back it up. I hope people don’t just start going for the low carb diet just because it burns the most calories, but I have a feeling this information will get printed in magazines and people will run with it and most likely not know the damage it could do in the long run.


Wow, I’m not surprised at all that they found low carb increases cortisol stress hormones! I briefly tried a “whole 30” paleo diet that was low to moderate carb…the honeymoon was great but then the stress over what to eat, food obsession and cravings was insane for me. Glad to see science back that up!

I love the nut based desserts and protein dishes, but I think deep down I will always be a carbie 🙂


A bit of topic, but I wanted to say thank you for the sweet potato noodle recipe. YUM!!!!!
Oh and my wife LOVES your paleo dessert recipes 🙂


Lauren @ Fun, Fit and Fabulous!

Such a great reminer!! I try to explain this to my clients all the time and I love having great research to back it up! Thanks for sharing!

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