If you are mindful about the calories you consume daly, you will be interested to know that a calorie is not just a calorie. In fact, calories from different sources have differing nutritional value. For example, a gram of alcohol has 7 kcal but it is considered an ‘empty’ source of calories as it does not provide the body with any additional nutrients, vitamins or minerals.
On the other hand, the 3 types of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) where we typically get our energy from contain many additional substances that the body requires. Some of these additional nutrients like vitamins can be either water or fat soluble and need these macronutrients to transport them into our bodies. Fruits, vegetables and some select sources of carbohydrates also contain dietary fibre which is necessary for smooth passage of substances through the gut.
A given amount of high-GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates will cause a dramatic and sudden increase in our blood sugar followed by an equally sudden drop which will leave us feeling lethargic. However, the same amount of low-GI carbohydrates will elicit a slow and steady increase in our blood sugar instead. As such, one needs to know how to make prudent nutritional choices as they can affect us in more ways than one. Remember, a calorie is not just a calorie!