Studies Show It’s InSANE To Claim “A Calorie Is A Calorie”


A few posts ago we covered the four factors that prove a calorie isn’t a calorie when it comes to how much they help us burn fat and boost our health:Satiety, Aggression, Nutrition, and Efficiency.  Satiety is how quickly calories fill us up. Aggression is how likely calories are to be stored as body fat. Nutrition is how many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, etc., calories provide. Efficiency is how easily calories are converted into body fat. Whether a calorie is high-quality or low-quality depends on where it fits on the SANEity spectrum.

High-quality calories are on the healthy end of the SANEity spectrum. They are Satisfying, unAggressive, Nutritious, and inEfficient. They fill us up quickly and keep us full for a long time. They provide a lot of nutrients, and few of them can be converted into body fat. Even better, they trigger the release of body-fat-burning hormones, clear clogs, and lower our set-point. In short, they are SANE.

Low-quality calories are just the opposite. They are on the unhealthy end of the SANEity spectrum. They are unSatisfying, Aggressive, non-Nutritious, and Efficient. They trigger the release of body-fat-storing hormones, cause clogs, and raise our set-point. In short, they are inSANE.

Why does this matter?

In all of the studies that follow, everyone ate the exact same quantityof calories, but one group’s calories were of much higher quality (were much more SANE) than the other groups’:

  • University of Florida researcher J.W. Krieger analyzed eighty-seven studies and found that those people who ate SANEcalories lost an average of twelve more pounds of body fat compared to those who ate an equal quantity of inSANEcalories.
  • C.M. Young at Cornell University split people into three groups, each eating 1,800 calories per day, but at different levels of SANEity. The most SANE group lost 86.5% more body fat than the least SANEgroup.
  • In the Annals of Internal Medicine, F.L. Benoît compared a reduced-calorie inSANE diet to a reduced-calorieSANE diet. After ten days the SANE diet burned twice as much body fat.
  • Additional studies by researchers U. Rabast (1978,1981), P. Greene (2003), N.H. Baba (1999), A. Golay (1996), M.E. Lean (1997), C.M. Young (1971), and D.K. Layman (2003) all show that people who ate SANEcalorieslost an average of 22% more weight than those who ate the exact same quantity of inSANEcalories.

In next week’s posts, we’ll begin looking at each of the four factors of SANE eating, starting with Satiety. By the way, if the word seems oddly familiar, it comes from the same root as satisfying.


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