T Nation

Are All Calories Really the Same?


#1

Due to some digestive issues, I recently elected to pay a little more and make the switch from 500 calories of cheap bulking “filler foods” like milk and peanut butter to real food like like chicken and rice
I feel way more full throughout the day now and have to force myself to get down all the food I need to eat each day. My caloric intake is technically the same but I feel way different since the switch.
So, to my point, are all calories really the same? I feel like I could actually eat much less now and not lose any strength. Has anyone else noticed this?


#2

There are different qualities, but generally 1g of protein is 1g of protein no matter what food it is, 1g of carbs is 1g of carbs, and 1g of fat is 1g of fat. I am with you though that there are some foods that fill you up more than others. Remember that grains swell so that is why rice fills you up more than milk. Picture this…most pasta is relatively small when it is dry, but when you boil it, it swells and becomes roughly 2x larger. Its the same principle with grains in your body. Milk is a great source of carbs and protein and peanut butter is a good source of fat so you shouldn’t write them off.

You shouldn’t force feed yourself though. I have done that in the past and it was usually a mistake. Check to see if you aren’t eating too many calories and if you aren’t then thats good and try breaking the meals up into more meals. Also, remember to eat your fruits and vegetables. Not just because they are healthy, but also because you can count them toward your carbs.


#3

It’s extremely unlikely that you are consuming the same number of calories. As you are choosing whole foods now, it’s extremely likely that your body isn’t able to extract the same quantity of energy from the two food sources.


#4

Milk Is REAL Food

Milk is a good quality “Real Food”.

While chicken is a good source of protein, milk supersedes it.

  1. Milk is composed of whey and caseinate protein.

a) Whey is considered to be a “Anabolic Protein”. It is quickly absorbed and contains a high percentage of Leucine, an amino acid.

Research shows that Leucine is one of the main triggers for building muscle.

b) Caseinate is noted as the “Anti-Catabolic Protein”. Essentially, it is a "Time Released Protein that trickles into your system slowly, continuing to feed your muscle.

It is also high in Glutamine. This amino acids enhances recovery.

Yes and NO

A gram of protein and a gram of carbohydrate provide 4 calories. A gram of most fat provide 9 calories.

However, different sources of protein, carbohydrates and fat trigger a different response when consumed.

Kenny Croxdale


#5

No, they’re not. There have been a bunch of articles discussing it. Dr. Jade Teta has a bunch of them, including one called, obvious enough, A Calorie is Sometimes Not a Calorie.

Long story short: 500 calories from a combo of fat and carbs are different than 500 calories from just carbs are different from 500 calories from a combo of fat and protein, etc.

If you’re eating more whole foods than usual, you’re likely eating a high volume of food. More stuff, even if it’s not necessarily more calories. The way 500 calories of rice takes up more space in your stomach than 500 calories of milk. That would be the simplest reason.

More details would help narrow things down. What’s your height, weight, and general body fat?

What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

What was a typical day’s eating a month ago before you changed things?


#6

Chris, I love how this is your go to question.


#7

I stole it from Dan John. Now, if people would actually answer it correctly, but that’s a whole 'nother thing.