Beth Warren Nutrition Blog

5 Reasons to Focus on QUALITY foods vs Quantity

by Beth Warren January 9, 2022

Of course, calories matter. Ultimately, there's a science behind weight loss re: calories in<calories out.


And that's a BIG BUT...

You NEED to focus on the quality of calories BEFORE the quantity. 

Here’s QUALITY of food MATTERS!


  1. Food is meant to both keep you FULL and SATISFIED. By achieving BOTH aspects, you will moderate your calories naturally. If you ONLY focus on calories, you'd likely focus on empty carbs, because they are the macronutrient with the "least calories" and miss the satisfaction factor of higher calorie foods like nuts and seeds. Your body will overeat your total calories in the day because you may be full but NOT SATISFIED!
  2. The quality of the calories we consume is what influences our weight and how we feel in the long run. Ultimately, when we feel better, we eat better and make more healthful habits overall.
  3.  You could be consuming the same amount of calories by eating nutrient-dense whole foods such as vegetables or empty calorie foods like pizza and ice cream that have limited nutritional value. Only focusing on calories tells you nothing about what's INSIDE the food which will affect, cravings, bloating, heartburn etc.
  4. By focusing on the quality of calories first, you are more flexible in your approach towards what you truly want to eat, honoring your intuition more, leading to a healthier relationship with food. The openness will allow the changes to be more lifestyle vs diet focused and last long term.
  5. You are more likely to keep the weight off if you focus on food quality. Putting all the above points together, you'll ultimately achieve the weight loss you want AND keep it off.


Here's a fun snippet of research to support quality over quantity:


According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the best diet comes from quality food. Research is recognizing the relevance of calories but indicates the strongest evidence to attaining optimal weight and health is when the focus is on food quality. The Harvard department of nutrition conducted a study including 120,000 healthy men and women over a 20-year period to debunk the theory “a calorie is a calorie.” Weight gain occurring during this time was attributed to participants eating potato chips, processed foods, fatty meats and drinking soda. Weight loss was reported in the subjects who consumed vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt. 


Researchers also implied one-size-fits-all diets don't exist due to differing genetics and lifestyles. However, individuals can follow the Harvard School of Public Health Healthy Eating Plate for successful planning. The Healthy Eating Plate” focuses on food quality and divides plated food portions into ½ vegetable, ¼ whole grains, and ¼ lean meat.   

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