Think a calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie?
In this article I am going try and explain and graphically show you how not all calories are created equal.
IIFIYM – If It Fits In Your Macros = Basically eat anything you want as long as your macronutrient goals are met. This is rather hard to do with consistency, but there are some that can manage it.
I used to think about my nutrition this way….And to be honest there are some days where I still do, but not in the manner that I will explain below. For me, that may mean an extra scoop of whole wheat noodles for my chicken parmesan dish or a couple of additional slices of avocado on my Body Beast Fajitas!
I’ll be completely honest with you, there are some days where I don’t plan ahead very well and I can myself stuck by the time dinner rolls around and I have to play the “What can I eat and still be within my daily calorie/macronutrient goals?” That doesn’t happen too often and even when it does, I try not to get too bent out of shape about it since for the most part I am consistent with my nutrition. Perfect? No, but consistent enough with my nutrition and my workouts, that a single meal on a single day out of the week that puts me outside of my goals won’t wreak my progress. This should not be confused with a CHEAT MEAL.
Some Basic Examples
Let’s assume you are like me and rushed in the AM due to waking up a bit late, trying to rush your kiddos out the door on their way to school or just from getting in some extra reps in the workout you had earlier that morning. Because you are running late, you decide to pick up something at the gas station on your commute to work.
You decide on a Snickers candy bar. You have been sold on the idea that a Snickers bar is “good for you” and it will satisfy your hunger. The marketing machine of the Mars corporation has done it job. In reality a Snickers bar isn’t the worst option you could have gone with and I am not trying to bad-mouth Mars or the Snickers brand either, but let’s dig a bit deeper.
Here is a screen shot from the Snickers website that shows the nutrition info for your standard sized candy bar. Most food product websites now detail the nutritional information and make them readily available for consumers.
(click on photo to enlarge)
Let’s just focus on the macronutrients, meaning the Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat found in this 250 calorie Snickers bar.
- Protein = 4 grams
- Carbohydrates = 33 grams (27 grams – Sugar)
- Fat = 12 grams ( 4.5 grams – Saturated )
Ugh…Not that great of way to start your day!
(click on photo to enlarge)
Looking at the ingredients of this Snickers bar, there aren’t too many of those crazy-long, hard to pronounced, lab created ingredients that you probably find with other candy bars. Though there are a couple of notables; Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup and of course…Sugar.
The Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil is where most if not all of the Saturated Fats come from and has numerous research data that would point to it as being a contributing factor with Diabetes, Cancer, Decreased Immune Functionality. Bad stuff… Some form of Partially Hydrogenated Oil is commonly found in processed foods, which the Snickers bar would be considered, so it isn’t just found in Snickers.
Compared to Shakeology
Shakeology can be a snack or a meal replacement, it really depends on your weight loss goals. If you are trying to lose weight, the meal replacement option is best, if not, it makes a great snack option! I currently have my Shakeology as a post workout “meal” and combine it with some additional whey protein since I am currently trying to add some lean muscle mass.
There are many benefits of Shakeology and it’s “Healthiest Meal of the Day” tagline rings true! I drink it EVERYDAY and have for the past 18 months. You can learn more Shakeology and how it can benefit you here: Shakeology
Here is a recipe that I have used in the past, it’s a Butterfinger “Copy Cat” recipe and it amazing! This may take a little longer than grabbing that Snickers bar and ripping open the wrapper, but in the long run, the extra 5 minutes it would take to prepare this incredible shake is worth it. Not only that, but WAY better for your body and helping you reach your health and fitness goals.
Again, looking at the macronutrients, we find the following in this 260 calorie snack, which is just 10 more calories than the Snickers bar from above;
- Protein = 23 grams
- Carbohydrates = 29 grams (7 grams – Sugar)
- Fat = 5 grams ( 1 gram – Saturated )
Definitely more protein here (a good thing)! There are slightly less carbs, but WAY less sugar! The number of grams of fat are less than half than that found in the Snickers.
This is where some significant differences will be found in the two, otherwise pretty comparable snacks that we have looked at here.
Here is an image of label found on a bag of Chocolate Shakeology. I also have a link below to the full label for your review.
As you can see there are A TON of ingredients in Shakeology! Notice anything in particular about them? They are all natural whole foods! You might say; “What about those long names? Aren’t those what you were talking about above?”. Those actually the scientific names for each of the plant-based food items that the Shakeology formula is based on. Crazy right?
Ready to give Shakeology a try yourself?
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In the end, the decision is yours as to how you plan to either count calories or not, use the IIFIYM mindset or track every macronutrient that you put into your body. Regardless of your approach, if you aren’t considering your overall health and fitness goals, if all you consider is the total calories that are on the product label, you are going to have a tough time reaching those goals.
The examples provided above should have given you a good indication that there is much more to the food that you put in your body than calorie count. You should be looking at the macronutrients AND the ingredients when choosing your food sources. Processed foods typically have more synthetic or lab created ingredients that whole food ingredients. Shakeology is something that provides you with a slew of whole food ingredients in a simple and convenient powder that you can mix up with little to few additional adders add have an unbelievable daily dose of dense nutrition.
Single ingredient foods (Apples, Sweet Potatoes, Rice, Chicken, Fish, etc…) are what you should be looking to fuel your body with, not a Snickers bar. You will ultimately get more food and more out of your food with these types of foods and the positive effect that they will have on your overall health will be worth the little extra effort you make to utilize them consistently.
Need a Coach?
If you need to find someone that will hold you accountable, answer your questions, help you, and PUSH YOU for the entire duration of your workout! Luckily for you, that’s what me and my team are here for. If you don’t have a coach yet and want one, I’d love to be your coach and help you through a fitness program. I am available to help you reach your goals!