Calories Created Equal?

August 10, 2016

Need some tips to optimize digestion? Wondering about calories from different foods – SupermarketGuru sets the record straight.

Digestion is a fairly complicated process that begins the moment we start thinking about food and anticipating a meal. And although everyone’s digestion uses the same chemicals and enzymes, we all vary in our digestive capability – some of us experience few if any digestive issues, and others, frequent uncomfortable problems. SupermarketGuru wants to help you understand how to optimize your digestive capabilities, as well as the idea that all calories are not equal. 

Tips for optimizing digestion:

Before you begin eating, carve out a space where you can eat and focus on your food.  Whether it’s a corner of your desk (not facing your computer), a relaxing park bench, or a quiet dining table at home or in a restaurant, it’s important to make time and a place to eat where you can focus on your food.  Focusing on your food sends your brain the message to fire up the digestive juices – something we all want to maximize, rather than multitasking and not focusing entirely on the meal or snack.

Chew thoroughly! Most of us are in such a rush we don’t even realize that we practically inhale our food. If we set a time a place to focus on our food, chewing thoroughly will follow.  Chew your food to a pulp (literally)… remember your stomach doesn’t have teeth!

Don’t drink too much water with your food. A sip here and there is fine but guzzling a bottle of water with each bite can significantly dilute your digestive juices; you’ll be left feeling full and uncomfortable for hours.  Make sure to drink plenty of hydrating fluids between meals and not necessarily with your food.

All calories are not created equal! That’s right, not all foods are fully digested as they pass through our digestive system.  For example, the more fiber they contain the less calories our bodies can extract and absorb.  Not to mention eating more fiber rich whole grains and especially vegetables will keep you feeling full and satisfied, most likely reducing your total calorie consumption while increasing the nutrient density of your diet. 

Protein rich foods, which contain 4 calories per gram, are generally known to keep us feeling satisfied longer, reducing appetite and fueling our bodies well.  Including more protein rich foods at every meal and snack (along with a very generous helping of non starchy veggies) will most likely keep us fueled on fewer calories overall, without much effort.  So calories from proteins can take us further, thus a calorie isn’t just a calorie!

Of course it’s important to keep in mind that everybody is different and the best way to find out about your body is to take the time to listen to it!