Is a Calorie really JUST a Calorie
Many people find success by utilising the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) methodology for dieting - and I would personally vouch for its effectiveness too. It allows you to very easily manipulate your macronutrient and calorie intake all whilst enjoying a variety of foods which otherwise would likely be classed as ‘off limits’.
The reason being is that it works off the premise that a calorie is a calorie, and as long as your targets are all hit, the foods you’ve used to do so are not so important. But can that really be true? Or is there more to it than that? The answer is both yes and n
Yes, mathematically 1 calorie = 1 calorie, regardless of the source. However, if we’re talking absorption rates, effects on insulin, nutrient content, digestive inflammation etc. then no, all calories are most definitely not equal. While it’s great to have that flexibility when following an IIFYM protocol, we need to remember that our body will only perform at an optimal level if it’s fuelled by optimal nutrients.
My advice would be to work towards an 80/20 split. Aim for 80% of your caloric intake to come from unprocessed food sources utilising a variety of meats, veggies, nuts, grains and so on. Use the other 20% on foods that will help to ease cravings and ensure continued adherence. Food for the body and food for the mind.