Ingredients vs. Calories: The Benefits of Eating Real Food

In my experience, the easiest way to lose weight and obtain optimal health is by eating real food. Forget about the mathematics of the almighty calorie and just focus on eating real foods with healthy ingredients.

What do I mean by real foods? Allow me to provide an example:

Nearly every morning for breakfast, I eat an egg white and spinach scramble, with a side of berries, whole wheat English muffin and almond butter. I have no idea what the calorie count is on this breakfast, but it is what I consider a perfect balance of protein (egg whites), carbohydrates (whole wheat english muffin), fats (almond butter), fiber (spinach) and antioxidants (berries).

A common thread in the foods I eat is that they contain ingredients I am familiar with AND can pronounce. For instance, the ingredients in the almond butter I eat are “Dry Roasted Almonds”. That’s it. Some of you may argue that almond butter (or nuts in general) is high in fat. I would not disagree with you! But it’s important to realize that it is dietary (unsaturated) fat that is actually heart healthy and good for you. Others may make the argument that almond butter is a high-calorie food. Again, I have no argument to the contrary. But I have been eating a table spoon or two each day for the past 2 years and have never gained weight as a result.

Another example of a food I eat nearly every day for a snack is LARABAR Peanut Butter Cookie flavor. The ingredients of this bar are as follows: Dates, Peanuts & Sea Salt. Many people have argued that this mid-meal snack is too high in calories, high in sugar, lacking protein, etc. My counterpoint is that I’d rather eat something like this than some ubiquitous “protein bar” that has numerous unfamiliar and hard to pronounce ingredients.

What it really all boils down to is the way we read food labels. Further to one of my earliest posts “Is it Food?“, the best foods are those that do not contain a label at all. But when there is a label, what do you primarily look at? The amount of servings? calories per serving? grams of fat, protein and carbs? I used to do this….I think most people who read labels do this. I’m not saying this is a bad practice necessarily, but in my experience, the most critically important information can be found in the “ingredients” section. In other words, “what are the substances that I am about to purposely put into my body?” That is where it’s at.


Filed under Food

10 responses to “Ingredients vs. Calories: The Benefits of Eating Real Food

  1. Great post! One of my health-heroes Jack Lalane used to say “If Man made it, don’t eat it!” In the end, simple and “real” will always win if your trying to eat healthy. Keep it up!

  2. Reblogged this on Small Steps 2 Health and commented:
    Simple and “real” is always better. Great post from!

  3. It is good to see this place is finally getting the attention it deserves!
    Keep up the great work.

  4. Reblogged this on Transforming Flab to Fab and commented:
    This is pretty much how I think these days. While you need to watch the calories… it’s very easy to do when you know you’re eating REAL food. Look at the INGREDIENTS in what you’re eating!

  5. emmalaw

    I agree with much of this, I can’t stand foods which are marketed as sugar free or low in fat – sugar and fat aren’t bad for you, only the wrong quantities are bad for you.

  6. I pretty much try to avoid all foods that make bold-face product claims on the package. That’s a red flag for me! Thanks for visiting. I appreciate your comment!

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