Back to Back Issues Page
HWLH News Letter for February 2020 - Issue #0075 - Why All Calories are not Equal
February 01, 2020
Welcome to HWLH News Letter

February 2020 - Issue # 075 - Why All Calories Are Not Equal

I keep hearing that a calorie is a calorie no matter what its source, but wouldn’t 100 calories of black beans be processed differently than 100 calories of sweets?

The answer is YES.

Yes, the body would process and use these two different sources of calories very differently because sources of calories DO matter.

So scientifically speaking a calorie is a calorie because all dietary calories provide 4.186 kilo joules of energy, but how our body’s process each calorie can make important changes within our bodies.

Though each calorie may offer the same amount of kilo joules some healthier sources can offer much needed vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber that increases our health, prevents weight gain, improves our immune system and helps the body fight and prevent disease.

Let’s compare the difference between eating 114 calories worth of cooked black beans and 114 calories of a glazed doughnut.

114 Calories of Cooked Black Beans Contains:

According to the National Nutrient Database one-half cup (86 g) of cooked black beans contains approximately:

Energy: 114 kilo calories

Protein: 7.62 g

Fat: 0.46 g

Carbohydrate: 20.39 g

Fiber: 7.5 g

Sugars: 0.28 g

Calcium: 23 milligrams (mg)

Iron: 1.81 mg

Magnesium: 60 mg

Phosphorus: 120 mg

Potassium: 305 mg

Sodium: 1 mg

Zinc: 0.96 mg

Thiamin: 0.21 mg

Niacin: 0.434 mg

Folate: 128 msg

Vitamin K: 2.8 mg

So when you look at the nutritional information on black beans you can see with a quick glance that they are high in fiber, rich in protein, but are low in fat, sodium and sugar.

So we know that black beans are a healthy choice.

They also contain many vitamins and minerals that the human body needs to stay healthy.

Without getting into too much detail I will list just a few things that each of the following have to offer:

Eating Fiber is known to help:

Prevent constipation

Lower cholesterol levels

Control blood sugar levels

Aids in weight loss

Protein helps with:

Weight Loss by increasing metabolism and burning fat

Maintains healthy muscle mass and strength

May help lower blood pressure

Curbs the appetite

Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Thiamin, Niacin, Folate, Vitamin K:

All of these vitamins and minerals are essential to maintain good health


In addition recent studies now reveal that black beans are also a source of antioxidants that help detox the body which helps prevent disease.

114 Calories (about 1/2) of a Simple Glazed Doughnut Contains:

Energy: 114 kilo calories

Total Fat: 5.5 g

Saturated Fat: 2.25 g

Sodium: 135 mg

Carbohydrates: 16.5 g

Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g

Sugars: 6.5 g

Calcium: 60 mg

Potassium: 28 mg

Iron: 1 mg

Vitamin A: 100 mg

When looking at the ingredients in a glazed doughnut you can quickly see that the bad ingredients outweigh the good ones.

Doughnuts are high in fats, sugar and sodium which can all have a negative impact on our bodies if not eaten in moderation.

But at least the doughnut does contain some small amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin A, but it contains almost no fiber.

This sweet treat sure contains a good share of carbohydrates and we need to learn which carbs are good and which ones we should try to avoid.

About Carbohydrates:

Even though carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap through the years, the truth is we need carbohydrates to supply our bodies and brain with fuel to function properly.

Now without sounding too scientific, carbs are the sugars (glucose), starches and fibers that are found in fruits, grains, vegetables, milk products and many processed foods that use those ingredients.

Carbs are almost exclusively found in plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains and beans.

They are also found in milk products which are the only foods derived from an animal source that has carbohydrates in them.

Carbohydrates are divided into two groups, which are simple and complex.

What are simple carbohydrates?

Simple forms of carbs consist of simple sugars such as fructose (derived from fruit), sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (derived from milk) along with a few other sugar sources, such as honey and fruit juice.

Not all simple carbs are bad for you. Fresh fruit is a healthy source of simple carbohydrates that not only offers energy, but also offers a plethora of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.

What are complex carbohydrates?

Yes, complex carbs contain sugar too, but the sugar molecules are longer and more complex, hence the name.

Complex carbs include starches and fiber, foods such as vegetables, beans and whole grains.

Complex carbohydrates that are found in whole grains, legumes, vegetables are a healthy choice of carbs to eat because they provide a steady source of energy, not a spiked sugary energy that drops quickly that fluctuate your glucose levels.

Though we must be careful as some complex carbs are often refined depleting them of nutritional value.

What are refined carbohydrates?

This is when certain foods are processed, removing much of their nutritional value and fiber content. These are the foods that offer us little or no nutrition, but they do offer many empty calories.

White pasta, sugary cereals, white bread, white flour (anything made with white flour) is all considered refined carbohydrates.

Limiting (or avoiding) refined carbs (along with sugar) always helps with weight loss and improved health.

Good Carbs include:

Vegetables, beans (legumes) and whole grain items

High fiber carbohydrates such as beans and legumes are wonderful as they add roughage to your diet, prevent constipation, helps control blood sugar levels and aids in weight loss.

High fiber foods also help lower blood cholesterol levels which help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Bad Carbs include:

(Refined processed foods such as)

Desserts, sugary drinks and candy

Eating large amounts of sugary refined carbs can lead to health problems such as diabetes and obesity.

Foods high in refined simple sugars is often high in fats (cakes, cookies) which can lead to elevated cholesterol and other heart risks.

How many carbohydrates should we be eating?

It is recommended that about 60 percent of your daily calories come from healthy carbohydrates.

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

In a nutshell, the simpler and less processed a food is the better. Like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole wheat products, most legumes, nuts and seeds and also dairy products that have no added sugar or fat.


The human body is meant to eat foods that offer nutrition to fuel, feed and protect our cells to maintain a healthy life which in return gives us high energy levels.

Every time we eat something that is high in fat, sugar or sodium our bodies pay a heavy price.

Just think of all that energy that is wasted on processing food that actually hinders our health, lowers our energy levels, weakens our immune system and leaves us more vulnerable to disease.

The Reality

I know when most of us sit down to indulge in a piece of cake that these thoughts do not run through our minds, but we need to think about this a little more.

We don’t need to totally eliminate junk food; perhaps the focus should be to limit our sweets and other bad carbs as an occasional treat.

But in moderation a healthy body has the extra energy to process some bad fats and extra sugar.

Moderation is Key.

Your Opinion Counts:

If you have an opinion or would like to share a story with us we would love to hear from you.

Use our Contact Us page - or our Weight Loss News page (Your Story Counts).

Wishing you health and happiness
Until next time
Catherine :)

Back to Back Issues Page