Eat Less Move More: If this sounds like the title of a horror movie to you, then we have something in common!

In my nutrition practice, it’s the single, most challenging mindset shift my clients have to make. That is; to eat MORE!

Before you start singing hallelujah and grabbing the nearest family size chocolate bar, let me explain. Eat more whole foods, mainly whole vegetables. It brings us to the topic of calories…are all calories from food created equal?

Scientifically, the answer is YES. A calorie is a unit of measure, it is, the energy needed to raise 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. Measuring energy using calories is great for comparing food out side the body, but when it enters the human body for digestion, the eventual usable energy can be very different from its food origin.

The science of nutrition is very helpful in explaining how different foods are used to nourish the body and why it is so important to eat predominately wholefoods.

Calories are like chalk and cheese

I won’t get too carried away in explaining the nutritional value of cheese over chalk other than to say they both have an energy rating, they both can be digested by the human body and are a source of calcium. However, one promotes the repair and regeneration of the body, and other can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Can you guess which one is the healthy choice?

Nutrition as a science is brilliant because it can be simplified back to mother nature, for example, generally; If you can see it growing then it’s good for your body’s health.

When we count calories rather than whole foods our body can become “stuffed” with energy that it can’t necessarily use.  To illustrate; energy from a few squares of chocolate (11g) and an apple (110g) have the same caloric value, but are processed differently in the body.

Energy from chocolate comes from fats and sugars (carbohydrate) with little other nutrients to measure and use. Chocolate is wholly digestible and easily stored by the body. Energy from an apple comes mainly from sugars (carbohydrate). However, apples need a significant amount of energy to process. Firstly, they need to be chewed, digested in the stomach,  then the indigestible waste (fiber) needs to be removed from the body.

Apples have other nutrients that the body is able to use; Vitamin B complex, Vitamin: C, A and K, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, etc. Therefore the energy available for storage from an apple after it has been processed by the body will be significantly less than its original caloric value.

Keep it in perspective: Eat more, not less

It is much easier to over eat processed foods, because they don’t need to be processed by the body for digestion. For example, it is very easy to eat 500 calories (1 cup)  or more of ice cream, but it will be very hard to eat 500 calories (1.5kg) of broccoli!

This is a key example of how the food choices you make can have a huge impact on how much you eat and the calories you end up storing as fat for later use.

If we get back to our chocolate…with the same calories as a few squares of chocolate (11g), you can eat 10 times more apple, store 50% less of its calories and nourish your body 50% better.

Apples are not necessarily better than chocolate always – I love chocolate! And I don’t believe chocolate should be removed from a healthy diet. Eating predominately simple natural whole foods is the best way to ensure your body is nourished safely and adequately.

No food should be off limits, but processed foods should be limited. However, true health begins with exercise and is fueled by nutrition. That is not to say we live for exercise, but rather, we live by moving.

Start moving more today by  downloading  your beginner 9 minute, Cardio, Core and Strength workout with the link below.

Live well with Health and WELLth!  

Written by Anna: Nutritionist and Exercise Coach