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Functional Medicine®

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Functional Medicine Explained

Good Calories vs Bad Calories Overview


Calories are defined as a measurement of the energy our body produces from the foods we eat. However, not all calories are created equal. If we were to eat nothing but spoonfuls of sugar all-day, by way of instance, our health would tremendously deteriorate because there simply aren’t enough nutrients in those calories from sugar. The human body needs a variety of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and many other compounds in order to function properly.

The foods we eat are made up of calories as well as complex mixtures of nutrients, fiber, and additives. This can ultimately affect the hormones that regulate our hunger, known as leptin, and those that manage how we burn or store calories to be used for energy, known as insulin. Our bodies are naturally programmed to protect us against long-term starvation by storing excess calories as fat. Eating “bad” calories in excess amounts can ultimately lead to obesity.

In a research study, a group of people was given the same amount of calories but from different food sources. The participants had no significant weight gain, regardless of whether the calories were from carbohydrates, proteins, fats, or any other combination of nutrients. However, environmental factors, such as an individual’s hormonal balance, emotions, and cravings were not taken into consideration. It’s important to understand how calories can affect your health.

Good Calories vs Bad Calories

Excess calories from processed foods are stored as fat which can lead to obesity. In the United States, obesity is the main cause of health issues like insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. It is naturally produced in the pancreas and helps move excess glucose from the bloodstream into the cells to be used for energy. When the pancreas recognizes high blood sugar levels, it creates more insulin to reduce glucose.

However, this can diminish the pancreas of insulin-producing cells which can eventually cause insulin resistance or impaired insulin sensitivity. If the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, it can lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Excess calories from sugar and processed foods can also cause inflammation which may also lead to chronic pain. So what can we do to prevent these health issues? The answer is simple: eat complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Replace highly processed carbohydrates that can increase blood sugar levels and insulin, with vegetables, beans, and whole grains. When it comes to eating complex carbohydrates like whole grains, the less processed the better! Consider eating stone-ground whole wheat, quinoa, oats, and brown rice. Then, choose lean proteins, such as fish and chicken. as well as healthy fats that come from plant sources, such as nuts, olive oil, and avocado, among others.

Below, we will compare the calories in common foods and drinks to demonstrate the differences and similarities in good calories vs bad calories:

Can you tell which are the good calories and which are the bad calories? It’s important to follow the principle of ”clean eating” and choose unprocessed foods in the purest forms instead of processed foods. This includes foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, or eggs. You can eat these foods without worrying too much about your daily caloric intake limit. Eating a variety of these is essential in order to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Bad calories include processed foods which follow exactly the opposite principle of “clean eating”. Foods with high amounts of sugar and fast food offers you almost no nutrients but a lot of what we call “empty calories”. If you’re trying to lose weight to manage insulin resistance associated with type 2 diabetes, you’ll have to pay attention to your “bad” calorie intake.

For more information regarding the effects of good calories vs bad calories on obesity, please review this article:

Is the calorie concept a real solution to the obesity epidemic?

Our body needs nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and many other compounds from calories in order to function properly. Calories are a measurement of the energy our body produces from the foods we eat. But, not all calories are created equal. Eating bad calories vs good calories can affect the hormones that regulate our hunger and those that manage how we burn or store calories to be used for energy. Moreover, eating “bad” calories in excess amounts can cause obesity. It’s important to understand how calories can affect your health. In the United States, obesity is the main cause of health issues like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Excess bad calories can also cause inflammation which may cause chronic pain. Eating complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats can help people lose weight and prevent as well as control health issues like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Learning to identify good calories and bad calories is a helpful strategy for people who want to improve their overall health. Adding healthy foods to a smoothie can also be a fast and easy way to include good calories into your diet. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insights

Zesty Beet Juice

Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes

• 1 grapefruit, peeled and sliced
• 1 apple, washed and sliced
• 1 whole beet, and leaves if you have them, washed and sliced
• 1-inch knob of ginger, rinsed, peeled and chopped

Juice all ingredients in a high-quality juicer. Best served immediately.

Add Nasturtium to Your Smoothies

Adding nasturtium flowers and leaves to any smoothie can add extra nutrients. These lovely plants are easy to grow and the entire plant is edible. Nasturtium leaves are high in vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system, and they also contain calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and iron. According to healthcare professionals, the extract from the flowers and leaves have antimicrobial, antifungal, hypotensive, expectorant, and anticancer effects. Antioxidants in garden nasturtium occur due to its high content of compounds such as anthocyanins, polyphenols, and vitamin C. Due to its rich phytochemical content and unique elemental composition, the garden nasturtium may be used in the treatment of a variety of health issues, including respiratory and digestive problems. Not to mention, the flowers and leaves look absolutely lovely in smoothies.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require additional explanation as how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas*& New Mexico*

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T.


  • Glassman, Keri. “The Difference Between Good and Bad Calories.” Women’s Health, Women’s Health Media, 11 June 2019, www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a19930112/the-difference-between-good-and-bad-calories/.
  • Denner, Julia. “Good Calories Vs. Bad Calories >> The Difference Matters.” Adidas Runtastic Blog, Adidas Runtastic Blog Media, 9 Sept. 2019, www.runtastic.com/blog/en/good-calories-vs-bad-calories/.
  • Taubes, Gary. “Good Calories Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health.” CrossFit, CrossFit Media, 31 Jan. 2020, www.crossfit.com/health/good-calories-bad-calories.

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T

Welcome-Bienvenido's to our blog. We focus on treating severe spinal disabilities and injuries. We also treat Sciatica, Neck and Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sport Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, health, fitness, and structural conditioning. We use Individualized Diet Plans, Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Adapted Cross-Fit Protocols and the "PUSH System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. If you would like to learn more about a Doctor of Chiropractic who uses advanced progressive techniques to facilitate complete physical health, please connect with me. We a focus on simplicity to help restore mobility and recovery. I'd love to see you. Connect!

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