Not all calories are created equal. This is true. In fact, there are a couple of components to this statement. Is the calorie coming from a necessary macronutrient, lipid, carbohydrate or protein? And if so, is that source a "real food" source?
Let's begin with the macronutrients. Macro- because we need these in large quantities during the day. They also provide calories, energy, whereas micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) do not. You need a certain quantity of macronutrients each day, and a balance between the three types. Right now, the idea of how much of each group is in fluctuation. You have many camps that favor one over the other. The most important take away is that you need all of them. Sacrificing one is sacrificing your life. Let's take a quick look at each in relation to calories.
Lipids. Poor lipids have such a bad reputation. Lipids are fats, and there are many different types. Some are better for you than others, and some you want to avoid at all costs. It may not be what you think, either. Lipids to avoid are oxidized fatty acids, trans fats. Examples include: polyunsaturated oils (canola, corn, cottonseed, etc), oils in transparent plastic bottles, hydrolyzed, modified and of course those in fried foods. Good oils include: coconut, hemp, flaxseed, olive oil, salmon and cultured organic grass-fed butter. Lipids are nutrient dense. You receive 9 calories per gram of lipid. What type of lipid is important when it comes to the state of your health and your waistline. They should not be avoided - your brain is made of fats, we need fats. Choose healthier oils, avocados, walnuts, chia seed, fatty fish to get your fats in during your day. Read food labels to avoid the oils mentioned as unhealthy choices.
Carbohydrates. Carbs, avoid carbs!! No, don't listen to them. Carbohydrates are where we get so many of vital micronutrients as well as fiber and water. The problem we have with carbohydrates is that we think about the wrong ones, but just lump them all together when discussing them. You should limit your flour, wheat, grain and SUGAR consumption, but eat as many vegetables as you like. Even fruit should be limited to a couple of servings per day and in it's whole form, not juice on the grocery shelves. Making your own juice at home from mostly vegetables with just a little fruit is a great option to getting your vegetables in during the day. For every gram of carbohydrate you consume 4 calories. A little aside, you should limit sugar consumption to under 25 grams per day. Sugar is a major culprit in underlying health issues, primarily the inflammation that leads to many healthy issues. You must read your food labels, sugar is in everything from marinara sauce, salsa to frozen vegetables and yogurt.
Protein. Somehow this one gets the reputation that you can not live without it. True, but the same is true for the others as well. Again, where it comes from is important. Here is something different about protein, we don't store it as protein. If it is stored it, too, is stored in our adipose tissue. We do not store it in our muscles, therefore, too much protein also leads to obesity. Most people should consume approximately 1.0g/kg of body weight. To convert your pounds to kilograms you will divide your weight by 2.2, so let's say you weigh 150 lbs, your body weight in kilograms will be 68kg, this is also the approximate amount of protein, in grams, you should consume in a day. Where should this protein come from? Well, vegan sources are quinoa, and legumes (peas, beans, lentils) and nuts. Other options are hormone, antibiotic, grass-fed (not grain fed) meats and fish. You also get 4 calories per every gram of protein you consume.
Anything you consume over what you your body needs will be stored in adipose tissue. This is why exercise is always discussed with eating. We have so much food and food - like products, that we consume more than we need. Exercise is important anyway, but the better quality of food and balancing the quantity will allow you to maintain a healthy waistline and have the energy you desire every day.
What you think plays a big role in your health and your weight. Begin to flip your thoughts and comments about calories being bad or making you fat, to ones of gratitude for the energy they provide you and watch your life begin to transform into something better.