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Calorie Calculator Dilemma

For those of you who believe that a calorie calculator is a straight-forward guide and that "a calorie is a calorie"... I have some bad news for you.

All calories are not created equal.

Protein calories, for example, require greater body energy to process and digest. Therefore you burn about 25% of the calories you consume just on digestion and biochemical processing of protein. That's one of the many reasons a high-protein dietplan burns more bodyfat.

The other side of the coin is processed foods:  White flour, cheap breads, fast food, sugar, and so-on. It's not just the calories of the foods, which tend to be very high -- it's the fact that these foods ROB the body of nutrients that are vital to health and, at the same time, take away the body's natural ability to STOP eating.

Processed foods remove many of the natural substances that trigger the brain that the body is full. That's one of the key reasons why you tend to eat a lot more of these foods without feeling full. Some food manufacturers even put chemical in the food to trick your body into believing it is NOT full so you will eat more!

Talk about a double whammy:  You eat more calories because the food itself is higher in calories PLUS you eat more of the food all-around because of the chemicals and the missing nutrients.

By far, the best way to become leaner and healthier is to eat 75-80% of your foods from whole, unprocessed sources. Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and eggs, lots of fresh organically-grown veggies, low-sugar fruits, and a few whole grains. The other 20% can be other foods you enjoy when you go out to eat. There's no reason to be Spartan and try to be "perfect". I've proven you do not have to do this in order to be lean and healthy.

But just remember:  When you eat processed foods, you're getting a double whammy: More calories, and the food itself makes you want to eat more than you should.

Time to rethink the way you use your calorie calculator? Think about it.

- Jon Benson