When you hear that something is high in calories, you immediately associate it with being unhealthy and fattening. Although this is mostly true, you should also keep in mind that there are two categories of calories. The first category is food high in harmful calories that you should avoid. The second is food that, despite its high-calorie content, provides many nutrients. Therefore, you should know what food will make you gain weight, and what is actually good for your health, by looking at this food calories list.
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What food makes you gain weight?
Processed Savory Snacks
Some of them look so innocent. Let’s take nuts, for example. Pistachios and peanuts contain healthy fat, so it’s good to eat them, right? Yes, but only in the condition Mother Nature created them i.e. not baked and salted. Unfortunately, they are often very salty, putting you at risk of hypertension and kidney stones, and also roasted in trans fat, putting you at risk of obesity.
Potato chips are something else that seem harmless but aren’t.
But they’re just potatoes, and potatoes are vegetables, and vegetables are healthy, right?
Not when these vegetables have been deep-fried.
A packet of potato chips (150g) can contain up to 850kcal: the equivalent of 2 meals. Yes, they’re delicious, but they’re full of unhealthy trans fat. Whilst it’s that trans fat that makes them tasty and crunchy, that texture and flavor come at the cost of putting you at risk of developing diseases such as cancer.
It comes as no surprise that fast food is on this list. But aren’t kebabs and hamburgers just sliced lamb, ground beef, served with healthy vegetables?
Technically, you’re right. But, there is a catch.
This type of food is very high in calories not just because it’s fried in fat. Calories also come from sauces such as mayonnaise and ketchup.
What’s more, the meat is often far from fresh. Food loses its nutritional value over time. So, the less fresh it is, the fewer health benefits you’ll gain from eating it. We’re not just talking about the meat either. How long do you think that shredded lettuce and sliced tomato have been sitting around for?
But, don’t put all the blame on the meat. Despite it being fried in fat and not too fresh, it can contain a relatively low 255kcal. But when you included a side of fries, the calorie total can be in excess of 700kcal.
It’s also sad news for fans of Italian fast food icon: pizza. 1 standard slice of pizza with cheese, ham, and mushroom topping has 365kcal. That doesn’t sound like a lot. But let’s face it, the problem isn’t the number of calories in just 1 slice. It’s that 1 piece is usually not the last.
When it comes to sweets, this list could go on forever. But let’s take 1 of the most obvious items: a slice of chocolate cake. This can have more than 600kcal.
But why is this? It’s not fried like burgers.
Cake contains a lot of trans fat in the form of butter. This contributes to the bulk of a chocolate cake’s calories. 1 block of butter has 735kcal and 1 whole cake will use up to a full block.
Another surprising source of calories is dairy products. One scoop of dairy ice cream (100g) contains 160kcal. Compare this to a sorbet, which has about 50 kcal: almost zero calories! The difference really is noticeable.
So where do the calories come from?
Milk, unless the skimmed variety, has a surprising amount of fat in it. So, if you’re looking to lose weight, you might want to steer clear of the cow juice. Don’t even think drinking about chocolate milk, which has extra added sugar in it. 1 cup has 209kcal.
But bovines aren’t solely to blame.
Sugar is a massive source of bad calories, too.
The large amount of sugar contained in a lot of sweet food contributes to you putting on weight. Refined sugar stimulates the release of insulin which turns it into glucose. But muscles pick up glucose more slowly than other energy sources, so they burn it less. Ultimately, unused glucose gets turned into fat and stored in your body.
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We probably think about the calorie content of our drinks the least. But, these are another source of bad calories that can make us pile on the pounds.
The sad truth is that a small glass of sweet wine has 150kcal. But, what about more popular drinks? Well, they’re even worse. A Cuba Libre has 160kcal, a Pinacolada has 180kcal, and a Mojito has 190kcal. 1 pale ale contains a whopping 245kcal.
But how can liquid be so high in calories?
The blame, once more, is on sugar: alcohol contains large amounts of it. This is because alcohol is made by yeast turning sugar into the intoxicating chemical. But, it usually never uses up all the sugar in the brewing or distilling process. What’s left in the liquid is then turned into glucose after we drink it.
So, is it the residual sugar or the alcohol that’s bad for you?
The body gets to work on digesting alcohol first and actually stops your metabolism process until it’s out of your system. This means there’s no time to break down and use up the glucous all that sugar gets turns into. This is then turned into fat and stored in the body.
To make things worse, if you prepare a drink using a fruit juice or soda mixer, its calorie value increases because you’re adding even more sugar to your drink.
Don’t forget, alcohol usually makes us hungry, and we rarely drink it without having some sort of food with it. So, the total calorie count as a consequence of drinking alcohol is suddenly a lot higher than you realize.
What Foods Are High Calorie But Healthy?
Yes, we know nuts are already on the unhealthy list. But remember we said that they have healthy fat in them. It’s just that being roasted and salted makes them unhealthy for you.
Eating nuts raw (without any processing) is great for you. So, even though they’re high in calories, anything between 500 and 600kcal per 100g, you definitely should be eating them. The source of their high calorie count is that they are full of healthy unsaturated fat, not the bad saturated or trans kind.
The same can be said about products made from nuts, such as peanut butter. Provided that it consists of only nuts, and has no added sugar or oil, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter has a mere 139kcal. So, feel free to slap a good serving of it onto your morning toast.
Oil is definitely something you associate with fat and calories. But, the fat in good quality oil is usually healthy unsaturated fat. The numbers may seem high, with 1 spoon of olive oil having 82 kcal and 1 spoon of linseed oil having 90kcal, but that shouldn’t put you off. You can even drink 1 spoon of oil per day to boost your health and not worry about derailing your weight loss efforts or causing a detriment to your health. Each of them has different healthy properties, so choose the best one for yourself.
For example, linseed oil supports the digestive system and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. Black cumin oil regulates the level of sugar in the blood and soothes allergic reactions as it has anti-inflammatory properties.
Similar healthy oil can be found inside food like avocado. Because of this, the calorie count is going to be high, but the benefits are great for you.
Have you ever wondered how the French stay healthy despite their diet including a lot of fatty cheese? It’s because cheese, although high in fat and calories, is good for you.
Honestly! It’s true.
Despite its high calories count, cheese provides you with a lot of calcium and protein, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Calcium supports the nervous system, muscles, blood clotting, and bone and tooth mineralization.
Protein found in cheese can also help increase your metabolism. Protein is also a building component of muscle tissue, internal organs, skin, hair, and nails. Therefore, cheese really shouldn’t be avoided.
However, this only applies to unprocessed cheese. Some cheese, such as processed cream cheese, contain harmful ingredients, like xanthan gum, E452 polyphosphates, diphosphates (E450), and other weird-sounding components. These are preservatives that can cause cancer or other diseases. When choosing cheese, be sure to read its ingredients on the packaging to ensure you’re avoiding these additives.
Food Calories List
Food Calories List: The Good, ✅ and The Bad ❌Copy to clipboard
Food with good calories
- All kinds of nuts (not roasted and unsalted)
- Black cumin oil
- Linseed oil
- Olive oil
- Peanut butter
- Unprocessed cheese
Food with harmful calories
- Dairy ice cream
- Fast food (hamburgers, kebabs, fries)
- Potato chips
- Sweet treats