My checking account balance doesn’t care about me.
It has no feelings. My checking account doesn’t pay attention to how I spend my money each month.
I’m proud of the fact that during our professional careers, my wife and I have given a significant amount of contributions to charity.
But my checking account doesn’t have feelings. It doesn’t care if I have given a lot of money to charity (which I have) or if spend that same amount of money on cocaine and hookers (which I haven’t.)
Because at the end of the month all that matters is the amount of money I have in my balance.
The same is true for calories when losing weight. If you are trying to lose weight, a calorie is a calorie.
Your body doesn’t care if you ingesting calories from one type of food or another. Instead of drinking a 200 calorie cup of sweet tea, do you now ingest 200 calories of organic, lactose-free, fair trade, Greek yogurt? Your body doesn’t care. The calories are the same.
During the past week of patient consultations, two separate patients told me about similar changes in food choices. They were both proud of the fact that they were consuming olive oil instead of regular oil.
Somewhere along the way they heard that olive oil was healthy. Among fats, it is true that the type of fat that olive oil contains, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are healthier than saturated fats.
From a chemical standpoint, saturated fat refers to those in which the molecules in which the carbon is fully bound to hydrogen atoms. Said another way, they are saturated with hydrogen atoms.
Unsaturated fats have molecules of fatty acids with at least one double bonded carbon. There is no room for all the carbon atoms to have a hydrogen atom attached. Those fats are not full of hydrogen, that is to say they are unsaturated.
Is olive oil healthy?
It is preferable to intake a higher ratio of unsaturated fats than saturated fats in our dietary intake.
So over the course of a lifetime it is preferable to have unsaturated fats such as olive oil over other oils that are primarily saturated fat.
But from a weight loss standpoint olive oil has the same calories as other oils.
Olive oil has 119 calories per tablespoon. Butter has 100 calories per tablespoon. Canola oil has 120 calories per tablespoon. Vegetable oil has 124 calories per tablespoon.
Substituting olive oil for butter, canola oil, or vegetable oil will not decrease the calorie count. So these patients I am seeing are not helping themselves lose weight if they change their food intake to substitute olive oil for another oil or butter.
I previously touched on this on a previous post “Health foods might be keeping you overweight.”
Just as my checking account balance doesn’t care if I spend money on a good cause or if I blow it on a frivolous purchase, when trying to lose weight, 100 calories from olive oil is the same as 100 calories from butter or any other source.
Don’t fall for the healthy food trap. Calories are king when it comes to weight loss.