Will I lose weight if I am eating healthy ‘clean’ food, but going over my daily calorie count?

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question-answer-color-v-2 We know that the calories from an apple aren’t the same as the calories from a fun-size Snickers bar.  So how do I factor that in when I’m reviewing my overall daily calorie counts?  Should I be concerned that my calories are exceeding 2,000 even if I review the foods consumed and see whole foods rather than processed and healthy choices rather than desperate ones? –Candice M.


A Calorie is a Calorie is a Calorie, scientifically.  So, if you are trying to lose weight, then YES, you should be concerned if you are going over your daily target.

However, your body processes and responds to them differently, which is what I think you’re referring to as not being the same.  Digestive and metabolic responses vary with the source and content of fat, carbohydrate, and protein; though these differences are small.  Your intake would need to be extreme to really observe separate outcomes.

For example, exclusive daily intake of only a micronized protein, short chain fat and simple carbohydrate drink might cause a gain, versus the same Calories from whole foods.   The reason for this is that it has easily digested and absorbed components which can mean a faster rise in blood sugar and perhaps insulin response, and this is a stimulus for fat deposition. Again, this would have to be the only thing that you consumed all day, every day and over a long period of time. This is not healthy, and most certainly not recommended.

So to answer your questions:

A) My suggestion as to how you can factor the difference between wholesome foods and junk into your Calorie counts is this:  assume you’ve taken in 5% fewer Calories if you’ve consumed over 25 grams Dietary Fiber for the day.  Since fiber is non-caloric, that’s approximately 100 Calories (4 Calories per gram for other carbohydrates) you’ve freed up.

B) If you’re surpassing your goal with great choices, I’d still keep an eye on the scale every now and then.  It seems a specific Calorie target may be arbitrary anyway.  One’s actual metabolic rate is rarely measured (by indirect calorimetry test), thus equations predicting how much energy you need are just an estimate, anyway.

  – Debbie J., MS, RD

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Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.

Posted on February 11, 2014, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. virginia johnson

    HI! Im new to the excerise world and would like some input on my eating habits. I normally try to eat in the morning but most of the time i get cult Up with what im doing and wide up not eating lunch and then supper. Is that health? How many hours before bedtime should i eat. I am 36 i weigh 174 and im 5′-6″. I would like to weigh around 145-150. What kind of foods should i be eating and how many calories shound i intake in a day?

    • You’re asking for details and times but skipping meals… so first things first!

      If you are too busy or distracted for lunch, then you need to rely on a larger breakfast and have some snacks with you during the day. Consider egg whites, oatmeal, nuts, berries, and milk in the AM. Snacks may be protein bars or trail mix. Better yet if you have refrigeration available: tuna packs, hard cooked eggs, Greek yogurt or cheese to go with whole grain crackers or fruit.

      Supper should be light and eaten 3-4 hours before bedtime. Mixed green salad with chicken, a bean soup, or a veggie-filled sandwich are good options. You can always default to a grilled salmon with a green vegetable. Once you are eating throughout the day consistently, then looking at calories is the next step. Target 1500 Calories for weight loss, (versus 1800-2000 Calories per day for maintenance) depending on your activity level.

  2. demrtre ellison

    Appreciate it, Ample knowledge.

  1. Pingback: Will I lose weight if I am eating healthy 'clean' food, but going over … | Fast Ways to Lose Thigh Fat

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