Not all calories are created equal, a new paper has warned.
Some calories, especially those from sugar-sweetened beverages, could be more harmful to our health than others, researchers advise.
The same amount of calories are found in one 12-ounce can of soda as in a medium-size potato full of starch, but the latter provides you with fiber, vitamins and potassium.
Additionally, not all fats and sugars are the same and the different types found in various foods can either benefit or harm your health, the researchers, who hail from different universities and institutions such as the University of California, Davis; Touro University and Stanford University School of Medicine.
Some calories, especially those from sugar-sweetened beverages, could be more harmful to our health than others and raise our risk of disease, researchers advise in a new paper
The team of 22 nutrition researchers, who published the paper in Obesity Reviews, highlighted that most Americans consume too many calories.
About 69 percent of US adults are overweight while newly released figures indicate that almost 40 percent are obese.
While consuming too many calories of any food can increase the risk of obesity and other diseases, sugar-sweetened beverages play a unique role even compared with calorically-equal amounts of starch.
The increase in risk factors could lead to chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
A medium-size potato is high in starch and has the same amount of calories as a 12-ounce can of soda, but it contains fiber, B vitamins and potassium, giving you energy and not a sugar crash like soda does.
The paper comes after a 9th Circuit court in San Francisco in September 2017 struck down a former ordinance requiring soda companies to warn consumers against the risks of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay on soda labels.
A medium-size potato (right) has the same amount of calories as a 12-ounce soda (left). But the soda increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes while the potato provides you with fiber, B vitamins and potassium
The research also compared the contrast that comes with eating foods with equal amounts but different types of fat.
Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats found in nuts such as pine nuts and walnuts, seeds such as flaxseed and chia seeds, and vegetable oils like sunflower and canola oil actually lower your risk of disease.
Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and oils rich in these fats can add more vitamin E to the diet, according to the American Heart Association.
The same amount of saturated fat, such as found in red meats, fish and poultry can raise levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood, therefore increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
However, dairy products such as yogurts and cheese, which often contain saturated fats, were linked with a lower risk of developing cardiometabolic conditions, according to the researchers.
Eating the same amount of polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats also provide you with different health benefits. Polyunsaturated fats such as found in nuts (left) lower bad cholesterol levels while saturated fats in red meats (right) raise the risk of heart disease
While drinking one glass of fruit juice per day won’t produce detrimental effects to the body, there is no doubt that whole fruit is healthier to consume.
Fruit juice has lost most the fiber and the broad range of nutrients contained in the whole fruit and has concentrated the sugar immensely, which raises your blood sugar levels and can promote teeth decay.
But because a whole piece of fruit contains fiber, blood sugar levels won’t be raised and it will keep you fuller longer while supplying you with vitamins and antioxidants.
Lead author Dr Kimber Stanhope, a research nutritional biologist at the University of California, Davis, says studies have not been conducted directly comparing sugar-sweetened beverages and naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, but she expects the fiber and the beneficial bioactive compounds in fruit would have beneficial health effects compared with sugar-sweetened beverages.
The researchers agree that the sugar substitute aspartame does not promote weight gain in adults, which Dr Stanhope says might come as a surprise to most people.
‘There are more than ten dietary intervention studies that show that consumption of aspartame does not promote weight gain,’ she told Daily Mail Online. ‘The long and short of it is that there are no human dietary intervention studies on noncaloric sweeteners that show weight gain.’
Fruit juice (left) does not have fiber and the sugar is concentrated source immensely, raising your blood sugar levels and can promote tooth decay. A whole fruit (right) is full of fiber and vitamins which will keep you fuller longer