A recent posting in Harvard Chan’s School of Public Health’s e-newsletter brings up some important points regarding calories vs. quality. The article states that rather than focusing on calories alone, food quality is also key in determining what we should eat and what to avoid in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.” Instead of choosing foods based solely on the caloric value, think about choosing high-quality, healthy foods, and minimizing your intake of low-quality foods.
What is high-quality vs. low-quality?
- High-quality foods are unrefined, minimally processed foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and healthy sources of protein.
- Lower-quality foods are highly processed snack foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined (white) grains, refined sugar, fried foods, foods high in saturated and trans fats, and high-glycemic foods
Researchers emphasize that there isn’t one “perfect” diet for everyone, due to individual differences in genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors. Researchers did not discount the importance of calories, instead suggesting that choosing high-quality foods (and reducing lower-quality foods) is important in helping individuals consume fewer calories overall. This is helpful advice to follow whether eating at home or dining out – look for restaurants that offer menu items made with fresh and high-quality foods.