Posted by: Tayla | 2009-04-03

Calorie confusion

Like the other reader, I have also cut my red meat intake and now eat more fish, skinless chicken etc or pasta. but am very confused. If I am following a kilojoule restricted diet, how is eating no meat for dinner one night and replacing it with pasta any different. I mean if 100g of meat is equal to 300 calaries, but there is 10g of fat and 250g of pasta = the same calories, but has 2g fat, where is the benefit if the calories = the same. (not sure if my assumption of the above calaories is correct though. Could you shed some light and do a proper calculation/comparison for me?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Tayla
If you eat 100g of grilled steak with all the fat trimmed off, it will contain 6.2 g of fat and provide 191 kcal of energy. If you eat 135 g of cooked pasta (without any sauce) it will also provide 191 kcal, but it will only contain 0,7 g of fat. There is evidence that not all kilocalories are equal. In the human body carbohydrates are preferentially used as fuel and proteins are used to repair body tissues. Fat in foods on the other hand is preferentially stored for lean times. So eating foods with the same kcal content but with different fat contents will tend to be different. The foods with the higher fat content will promote more fat deposition than the foods with the higher carb ad/or protein contents. To lose weight you basically need to reduce your total energy intake and because fat provides 9 kcal per gram compared to 4 kcal per gram for proteins and carbs, the easiest way of reducing your energy intake is to reduce how much fat you eat. For each gram of fat you cut out of your diet, you save 9 kcal.
Hope this helps

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