Weight Loss

Good Calories vs. Bad Calories

As a qualified nutritonists and personal trainer, I’ve been working with clients one-on-one for the last 10 years and I’ve helped thousands of people lose weight and achieve their ideal body. I have clients and people ask me all the time about nutrition and good and bad calories.

The truth is that there are two parts to this question. It’s not just about good or bad, it’s about quantity and quality. Having good calories vs bad calories is just as important as how many calories you get.


The Importance of Calorie Quantity

Trainer Zac portioning food for healthy tacos.

Weight loss is like an equation.

In order to lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than you body burns. This forces your body to start burning fat. We call this a calorie deficit. Each person is going to have a different calorie goal but a good place to start is by counting your food for a few days.

There’s always been some controversy over counting calories. Some experts are religious about it and think it’s the only method that works. Others avoid it completely saying it’s not realistic or sustainable. In the end what really matters is having an idea of how many calories you’re eating and sticking to that.

When you take a few days to count your calories, you might be shocked at how many calories you’re eating. Make sure you count everything. If you leave something out during this test period the only person you’ll hurt is yourself because you won’t know how many calories you’re actually eating.

This will help you be more calorie conscious. You’ll probably think twice about your food choices when you have to look at the nutrition label first!

Personally I don’t count my calories on a daily basis. Instead I use a meal plan that I designed and I use proper portioning. This way I don’t have to log and count everything I eat every day. If you want to get your hands on my weight loss meal plan, here’s a link to my free program: https://www.idealshape.com/idealshape-for-life.list

Meal replacement shakes are a great tool to help you stay flexible in your nutrition while cutting calories. I use IdealShake and recommend it to my clients as well. Most flavors are only about 100 calories so cutting calories to meet your goal is super easy and really tasty too.

Here’s a link to learn more about IdealShake: https://www.idealshape.com/meal-replacement-shakes.list

The Difference between Good Calories and Bad Calories

When you’re eating the right amount of calories for you and your goals, you can lose weight. But even if you’re eating the right amount of “bad” calories weight loss is going to be a lot more difficult.

And just because you’re eating “good” calories doesn’t give you free reign to eat whatever you want. Those calories still count. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had that think they’re doing great and eating well, only to put on weight because they’re eating too much of these good foods.

Good calories aren’t necessarily made up of low-calorie foods. Many good calories come from high-calorie and even high-fat foods. The key is the ratio of calorie count to nutritional value.

Good calories are those that provide lean-protein, healthy-fats and complex carbs from fresh whole foods and quality meal replacements and supplements.

Bad calories are those that don’t provide your body with good nutrition. These come from things like processed foods, sugar, refined flours, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients.


Why Bad Calories Count Twice

Most bad-calorie foods are also high calorie foods, but that’s not the only way they derail your weight loss. Processed, refined and high-sugar foods wreak havoc on the hormones that control weight loss, weight gain, fat metabolism, mood and hunger.

Because of this, you can eat a 1000-calorie diet and not only not lose weight but gain it if most of those 1,000 calories are bad calories. Not only are these foods unhealthy, they make it hard to stick to your calorie goal for the day.

That’s because most “good” calorie foods give you more bang for your buck. A 200 calorie serving of fresh vegetables is a lot more food than a 200 calorie serving of chips. More food in your stomach means you feel fuller, longer and you can stay on track.

Make sense? For a more in depth explanation and to see exactly what 200 calories looks like, check out the video below:

Bad calorie foods will leave you feeling hungry soon after forcing you to either go hungry and eventually quit your diet or overeat in order to get your fill. Either way, you’re not going to see the results you want.

Where to Get Your Good Calories


Focus on eating lean protein (like chicken or fish), healthy fats (like olive oil or coconut oil), and complex carbs (like brown rice or quinoa).

If you’re looking for a “good” calorie food to help you lose weight, IdealShake is great. It has protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also delicious and will help you feel full for up to three hours.

IdealShake is everything we look for in a good calorie food, but it tastes like a dessert!


What Kind of Calories are You Eating?

When you think in terms of good calories vs bad calories things can get confusing. You might also feel guilty about the “bad” foods you’re eating. I don’t want that.

I eat pizza every Friday night with my wife and kids. Not gluten-free, all organic, vegan pizza that’s been blessed by the good-calorie gods. Just regular pizza. I like real food, who doesn’t?

But I don’t eat this way all the time. Most of the time I eat the “good” calories, but they’re delicious! One of my favorite foods is salted caramel and I get to enjoy a healthy salted caramel shake every day!

So what I want you to take away from this is that good calorie foods aren’t “calorie free.” You still need to be calorie aware to lose weight. Those good calorie foods can also taste amazing! I also don’t want you to feel guilty when you eat normal food. That’s not good either.

A great place to start is with IdealShake. We just launched our newest flavor, Mint Chocolate Chip, and it is so good you guys! Get yours today and you’ll start seeing the amazing weight loss results that come from focusing on good calories!

Click HERE to Learn More!

andy haigh

andy haigh

Writer and expert

Start your weight loss journey today! 🔥SHOP NOW🔥