Nutrition-Are All Calories the Same

Welcome again to the INTRAFITT Individualized Nutrition and Exercise Program updates! You can always find us on the web at

I wanted to continue on today talking about Nutrition in the Simplest Form. Basically, there are six essential nutrients that the human body requires to keep it nourished and healthy. These include Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals and Walter. The term “essential” is used to describe these nutrients because they must be provided to the body in order to sustain life and to prevent a deficient or diseased state. Of the six nutrients listed, only three provide energy to the body, while the other three help to release energy inside the cells. Typically, these two categories of essential nutrients are referred to as the Macro-Nutrients (energy providing nutrients needed by the body in larger amounts)and Micro-Nutrients (energy releasing nutrients needed by the body in smaller amounts).

 The Macro-Nutrients, when metabolized provide energy and heat, which are used to support all of the metabolic functions (heart beat, digestion, muscle contraction, concentration and comprehension) of the body and mind. The fuel potential of the energy nutrients is expressed in calories. Just as a meter is a measure of distance, a calorie is a measure of energy and is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise one milliliter of water one degree centigrade. Therefore foods that are high in calories (dried fruits and nuts) are also high in energy, whereas foods that are low in calories (strawberries, melons and vegetables) are low in energy as well. Perhaps this is one reason why people who eat low-calorie foods to lose weight have little to no energy to exercise in the course of their day.

You might wonder where calories are derived from. If you look at this question from the standpoint that a calorie is defined as the total amount of heat energy needed to raise one milliliter of water one degree Celsius, then YES all calories when oxidized yield the same amount of heat energy. Perhaps the question should be “are all calorie sources the same?”

Take for example the two individuals illustrated below. Each individual has a recommended calorie intake of 520 calories per meal and both eat the exact same foods within the meal. The difference however, is that they each eat varying amounts of the food items listed and as a result end up producing a very different endocrinological response. In other words, the regulatory effect associated with the different amount and types of food eaten can have a favorable or unfavorable influence on the metabolic process and can last for three to six hours after a meal.

 Individual #1 (500 Calories per meal)

 6 oz Chicken breast: 186

7 oz Yams: 210

1 Tbs Peanut butter: 100

3 oz Broccoli 24

Total: 520 
 Individual #1 (500 Calories per meal)

 8 oz Chicken breast: 248

2oz Yams: 60

2 Tbs Peanut butter: 200

1.5 oz Broccoli 12

Total: 520 
Now lets assume that the same two individuals perform cardiovascular exercise for thirty minutes later that evening. As illustrated below, Individual #1 exercises within his/her target heart rate while Individual #2 exercises above his/her target heart rate. Although Individual #2 likely burned more total calories than Individual #1 at the end of the thirty minute session, they both theoretically burned the same amount of fat calories.

Some would argue that exercising at an intensity that is above the recommended training sensitive zone (for fat burning) is more beneficial because a higher number of calories are burned at the end of an equivalent exercise duration. This is perhaps true, however, exercising at high intensity, although may burn more calories, will more than likely train the body to become more efficient at burning sugar than fat and may very well promote hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) symptoms that can ensue for up to twelve hours after the exercise session has ended. That is one of the reasons I always recommend wearing a heart rate monitor when exercising.

Individual #1

Calories Burned: 1000

Fat Burned: 60% @600/cal

Sugar Burned: 40% @400/cal

 Individual #2

Calories Burned: 1500

Fat Burned: 40% @ 600/cal

Sugar Burned: 60% @900/cal


Next time we will begin discussing carbohydrates in your diet!

 For your own Individualized Nutrition and Exercise Program, please visit us at

In good health,

William Smith

William Smith is the President / CEO and Founder of the INTRAFITT Corporation which was established in California in 1992. Will has won more than twenty-eight bodybuilding championships and is also known for his role as “THUNDER” on television’s American Gladiator between 1990 – 1992. He is a National and International Speaker on Performance Nutrition and Exercise Science.



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