Food|Weight Loss

Are All Calories the Same?

There’s a lot of confusing messaging when it comes to health, nutrition, and weight loss. Imagine my surprise when I read that several foods listed under the headline “30 Foods Never to Eat After Age 30” were also in a story called “10 Foods to Boost Libido.” As a thirty something woman, I really wondered if the wellness industry was trying to tell me something.

(Whatever it is, you can tell it to my medicine cabinet full of antiaging skin-care products and my armoire of sex toys. Yes, I have a literal armoire. Who needs a list of libido boosters anyway?)

With all the conflicting information floating around the Internet, it’s no wonder we have so much confusion about what we should eat, how much of it, and how to stay healthy—and why we’re convinced that some foods are good, some are bad, and some you absolutely shouldn’t eat.

The easy answer is that you shouldn’t eat raw chicken, anything that you have a diagnosed allergy to, and any overpriced magical brew claiming it will “detox” you. Other than that, if you want to know how and what to eat for health, you can learn about the basics and figure out from there what works for you.

Let’s start with a fundamental question: What is a calorie?

In the scientific sense, a calorie is the unit of energy needed to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. When you think of calories, think of them like that: as energy. The stuff that keeps you going. Don’t overfill your tank and flood the engine, but you’re going to have a lot of problems trying to run on empty.

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