The number one thing everybody always asks me about my diet is how many calories? I have to say, there's a really big misunderstanding about calories: there are so many different kinds.
Let's go back to the definition of a “calorie”: a unit equivalent to the large calorie expressing heat-producing or energy-producing value in food when oxidized in the body or an amount of food having an energy-producing value of one large calorie.
So a “calorie” is a measurement of heat energy, the amount of energy that is needed to spend that one calorie. The problem is if you're eating calories that are not able to be expended, then they're stored. Arg! Who wants to store calories? We want to burn them off right? Well, no matter how hard you try, a calorie that cannot be used is going to remain stored. We store it in our adipose tissue: adipose tissue is in our hips, thighs, and belly.
Let me explain this a little further: a raw calorie is a very usable calorie. Raw fats (essential fatty acids) and proteins (essential amino acids) are building blocks of our body - hence the word "essential" - and can always be used to rebuild, rejuvenate, and repair the body. That's a good thing!
So say I eat a raw food which the enzymes break down to these essential fats and proteins, they then are broken down easily into their component parts. The body then looks at this and says, "Ah-ha! Building material!" It utilizes this very clean resource; kind of like the best grade gasoline in your engine. There is no muck to dirty your engine.
When you eat cooked fat it becomes a trans fatty acid. What this means is that something is traveling: "trans" means traveling, usually referring to the molecules that make up that fat. So now that cooked food that you're eating is an incomplete food. Then the body needs to use its own enzymes - because cooking food destroys the food’s naturally present enzymes - to break down the fats. Now you're losing vital building blocks the body needs to build enzymes (in the form of vitamins and minerals) to instead digest food that has no building blocks in it. Insanity!
Then, once it does break everything down, it utilizes what it can; but because there are pieces missing it can't fully make nutrition out of it. So it stores what it doesn't recognize. Once it stores it, it's very hard to get it out. And you can't get it out because the body doesn't recognize a use for it. So it just sits there accumulating and accumulating.
So when we talk about calories, we need to talk about if they are raw and useful calories that bring no stress to the body and don't take necessary nutrients out of the body to break down and utilize, or are they cooked calories that pull vitamins and minerals from the body (thereby breaking down the body and aging it) in order to make enzymes to break down food, only to find that you cannot use some of the nutrients in that food to rebuild and rejuvenate the body, and then storing the unusable parts in our adipose tissue adding to our weight problem!
Seems like it's a very simple choice: eat clean calories that the body can use and that it easily breaks down and rebuilds with, leaving no leftovers; or eat cooked food that drains the body, stresses it, and ends with partial use and partial storage of unnecessary calories. No brainer, right?
By the way, just a little hint: raw fats actually do a preferential exchange with stored gunk in adipose tissue. So when your body calls for raw fats because it's cold, tired, looking old, or needing energy, feed it. Because the extra fats will do a preferential exchange and replace gunk in the adipose tissue. This means that you’ll have actual STORED energy available in adipose tissues to be burned off AND exercise will actually do you some good.