If I eat a Snickers with 250 calories I will gain more fat than 250 calories of chicken, avocado, and sweet potatoes. Right?
Short answer: No
Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooo
Haha, I love that.
Back to topic now... So how can that be possible? Snickers is candy, its full of sugar, and it's candy! It must make me gain more fat!
Nope. A calorie is a calorie, well sorta. There are some differences in the thermic effect of food.
You've probably heard me discuss this before about how protein requires 25-35% of it's own energy just to be digested and used in the body. Carbs are 5-15% and fats are 0-5%. So if you ate a bunch of fat instead of a bunch of protein it wouldn't quite be the same, but assuming the macros are pretty similar between our junk food and our healthy food then Snickers or Healthy food: it makes no difference for fat loss.
So why don't I just say to eat Snickers all the time?? One issue is that Snickers is calorie dense. Put it next to 250 calories of the potatoes, chicken, and avocado and it would look tiny. This is because there is a lot of water and fiber in the healthy stuff.
These provide volume. Volume is filling and this sends a message to our brain that we've eaten a lot and are, therefore, less hungry. Second, fiber is satiating and slows down absorption of nutrients (it does lots of other beneficial stuff too, but that's for a later post!). This keeps us feeling fuller longer. Finally, the micronutrients in the healthy stuff give us better health, energy, and vibrancy. I like that word. Vibrancy. :-) When we feel better, we have less desire to eat more junky food.
So eat a Snickers or eat some healthy food, the results to fat loss are technically the same when held in a controlled environment. But in practice, the Snickers can lead to eating more in the long run because we feel hungrier.
People have gone on diets of pure McDonalds or Twinkies or ice cream. Yes they lose weight and their blood profiles improve, but they still feel like crap and they all say they would NEVER do it again and that it was miserable. I'll go with the vibrancy instead.