What Even is “The Right Type of Calorie”?

Ok, so, there’s an article on the BBC website today that got me thinking. Specifically, “Making sure you get the right type of calorie.”

Calories are such a hot topic – have been for a while and will likely continue to be for a long time to come. But here’s the thing: what even is “the right type of calorie”?

Well, quite literally, it’s a unit of measurement. And that’s all it is - the same way you can measure food in grams. Except a calorie is a unit of energy.

If a calorie is just a unit of energy, how on earth can you get a ‘quality calorie’ vs a ‘bad calorie’? You can’t, basically. What the article is talking about is everything else that comes with your food – your macros (protein, carbohydrates, fat) and micros (vitamins, minerals, etc). And don’t get me wrong, that’s all mentioned in the BBC article, but the wording is dangerous.

Limiting the conversation to calories and assuming they can either be good or bad is not going to help anyone. I certainly would not encourage people to focus all of their nutritional information around calories.

Here are some basics you need to know:

Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of calories you need to consume on a daily basis in order to survive. If you were in a coma, you would still need this amount of calories. Consider anyone you know who goes on a crash diet with a super low calorie intake – do you think they look healthy? Maybe at first, but certainly not long term. Starving yourself is actually scientifically proven to be bad for you, would you believe. As a general tip, if anyone suggests you go under 1000 calories on any one day, avoid. Avoid avoid avoid.

I’ll make it super easy for you – you can calculate your BMR here: www.active.com/fitness/calculators/bmr

But make no mistake, a calorie is a calorie. Just make sure you eat a balanced diet as well.

One thing I NEVER do to my clients is be super strict about what they shouldn’t eat. I make suggestions on how they can further their progress, but I want you to live a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle. Strict intake is appropriate in certain situations – training for a competition? 100% relevant. Got a photoshoot coming up? Important there too. But for everyone else, listen to your body. If you react badly to something, then cut it out of your diet. If you don’t, then it’s up to you.

And BMI? Well, that’s a whole other feature to write. I have opinions. Many. But if anyone has any queries, feel free to send me a message! Always happy to discuss things further.

Has anyone else read the BBC article? Any thoughts to share? Do you care about calories when picking what to eat?

There were a lot of calories in this meal. But so much nutrition as well! (The Pump Rooms, Bath)

There were a lot of calories in this meal. But so much nutrition as well! (The Pump Rooms, Bath)

Ben GilbertComment