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Is one calorie equals to one calorie? 
Most experts who do the calorie counting diet believe that one calorie is one calorie. That means that if you eat 1 calorie from pasta is the same of 1 calorie from eating chicken breast. I think that it is only partially true.
Calorie is a unit of energy. If you take 1 gram of carbohydrate and burn it in a laboratory, you will see that it releases 4 calories. If you take 1 gram of protein and burn it in the same laboratory, you will also see that 4 calories is released from that protein. However, in the real life situation and inside the human body, 1 gram of carbohydrate behaves differently than that 1 gram of protein. For example, eating carbohydrate causes a rise in the blood sugar whereas the blood sugar remains the same when you eat only protein. It is a big deal when it comes to a patient suffering from diabetes. You cannot eat carbohydrate to build muscle; you need to eat protein for that purpose. Eating carbohydrate slows down your metabolic rate and eating protein increases it.
The type of carbohydrate is also very important. Eating starch and glucose will trigger the production of a satiety hormone leptin and insulin. Eating fructose from fruits will not. Hence, when people consume fruits, they do not know that they are ingesting lots of sugar and calories. They will keep on eating. I remember that I used to eat half of a big water melon when I was young after dinner.
Since fructose does not trigger insulin respond, it is mainly metabolized by the liver and it will be changed into triglycerides and very low density lipoprotein which is the bad cholesterol. The fiber and the vitamin in fruit are good for you but the fructose is not very healthy for people with weight problem or high triglycerides or diabetes.
Hence, my conclusion is one calorie from carbohydrate is not one calorie from protein
Can you gain weight by living in the wrong neighborhood?
We know that people with a lower socioeconomic class have higher BMI and high blood pressure, compared to the rest of the population. The obvious reason is that they usually eat foods that are high in carbohydrate and fat calories, because buying protein is expensive. When people donate to the food bank, they request that those foods be non-perishable such as those in cans. Most of the canned foods are high in sodium content and will contribute to the development of high blood pressure. Carbohydrate is the cheapest and most of the donated foods are carbohydrates. That causes weight gain.
A new study recently demonstrated that women, who lived closest to fast food outlets, exhibited the highest BMI and blood pressure. Conversely, BMI and blood pressure were lowest in the women who lived near grocery stores and supermarkets.
There is a pizza place next to my Brampton office, but I never order food from them. Know your limits and fight the temptations.

"I need to eat cereal to lower my cholesterol”
Yes, soluble dietary fiber will help to lower blood cholesterol. It does so by bonding to the bile salts that is secreted from the gallbladder during a meal. Bile salt is very rich in cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol in the bile salt gets reabsorbed in the gut. With the help of the soluble fiber, its reabsorption is blocked and later on, excreted with the bowel movement.
However, we do not want the starch that comes with the cereal. For example, one serving of oatmeal contains 6 g of fiber but it also contains 19 g of net carbs. Even when you eat this oatmeal as is, it equals to 5 teaspoons of sugar.
Insoluble fiber, such as the fiber from whole grains, will only help with increase in the stool volume and lower the chance of colon cancer. However, it does not lower the cholesterol.
Where do you find the soluble fiber? Familiarize yourself with the following names: inulin, resistant dextrins, fructans, xanthan gum, guar gum, fructooligosaccharides are examples of soluble fiber. Look for them in the ingredients.
What to do to live longer?
I heard on the news that people who live a long life do two things that the baby boomers are not doing. The elderly who live to 100 eat healthy 85% of the time. The baby boomers eat healthy only 66% at a time.
The other important message that the study found is that the healthy seniors sleep at least 8 hours per day. When I was in medical school and during the first few years of my medical practice, I would have been lucky if I got 4 hours of sleep per night. Doctors are supposed to teach patients good, healthy habits, but we were trained to be unhealthy.
I saw a few students lately, who were saying they were very stressed from schoolwork and exams. Make sure you have a good night sleep and get up early in the morning to resume your studies. Do not study into the late night hours because your brain and body will not function as well as after the resting. When the body is tired, the body also craves carbohydrates, so you may end up spending more effort eating, rather than studying.

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