Our theme this week: Not all calories are created equal. To show exactly what that means, consider this breakdown on what a gram of each macronutrient brings to the table, calorie-wise.

Protein = 4 calories

Carbohydrate = 4 calories

Alcohol = 7 calories

Fat = 9 calories

When talking calories, it’s important to always remember what exactly it is – it’s a unit of energy. Consuming calories is consuming energy, meant to be used, and if it’s not used, it’s stored. So, with that in mind, how can you use that information to affect your everyday eating habits? First off, let’s start with protein — it is by far the efficient macronutrient here, because of what it provides at such a low caloric cost. If you’re eating to gain muscle, you should be around 1 gram per pound of your own body weight.  So if you’re a 180-pound man, that’s about 180 grams of protein a day. That is 720 calories, just in protein — obviously, then, that standard 2,0o0-calorie diet isn’t for muscle-builders.

This should signify how important it is to keep alcohol consumption within reason. Your body will use carbs and fats, as long as you aren’t overindulging on them — carbs are fast, quickly used energy and fats help keep you feeling full (though, at 9 calories per gram, you can see that this is a lot of excess energy to be consuming). Alcohol, on the other hand, is ahefty  price (7 calories per gram) to pay for something that actually inhibits your metabolism’s ability to process calories in the first place. Alcohol weight is MUCH different from the weight you’ll gain by adding healthy fats and proteins to your diet!