Low calorie foods are often thought to be healthy, and people often assume the opposite is also true – that high-calorie foods are unhealthy. This article aims to dispel these myths and explain how the amount of calories in food is not necessarily linked to how healthy that food is.

Let us first understand what healthy means and what calories are.

What does healthy actually mean?

Something that is healthy will help maintain or improve your physical or mental condition.

A food source that is healthy will have good short-term and long-term effects for your mind and/or body. Conversely, something that is unhealthy will have bad short-term and long-term effects for your mind or body.

What are calories and why are they important?

Calories are a measure of energy. In terms of food they refer to the amount of energy contained in that food.

We use energy to carry out our daily routines. If you consume less calories than your body uses, then you will lose weight. Conversely, if you eat more calories than you use throughout the day, then you will gain weight. Simple, right?

Now you should understand that there’s no direct link between whether something is healthy and the number of calories in it.

Why high calorie foods can be thought to be unhealthy

There is a catch. Everyone is different, with different body types and activity levels requiring a different amount of energy each day, so a healthy amount of calories for one person may be an unhealthy amount of calories to consume for another person.

Being overweight with excessive body fat can have many long term health risks, including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Therefore, you must eat a diet with a specific caloric intake that enables you to stay at a healthy weight for your body type. In this case low calorie foods and meals must be eaten in order to be healthy.

To find out how many calories you should be eating, check out our simple Nutrition Calculator.