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How to get the best bang for your caloric buck

healthy food choices

When starting a weight-loss program, a person is often given a certain number of daily calories. In order to lose 1-2 pounds per week, the average woman should aim for 1,500 calories and the average man should aim for 1,800 calories.

However, just because a candy bar and a piece of grilled chicken with a small side salad contain the same amount of calories, does not mean the sweet treat is the best option! Consider the quality of the calories, not just the number.

If one of our Via Christi LIGHT patients doesn’t lose weight or hits a weight plateau, we generally recommend a further caloric reduction or it could be that the person hasn’t followed the given calorie limit.
Other factors that might influence a person’s weight loss include:

  • Carbohydrates and fat are digested more easily than protein, and have different “thermic effect of food” (TEF) ratings. Therefore your body has to work harder to digest protein rich foods and requires more calories than when digesting carbohydrates and fats. This TEF is why we promote a protein-rich diet when following a weight loss plan.
  • Eating whole foods such as a fresh apple instead of applesauce also requires more calories (energy) during the process of digestion, and is one of the reasons we recommend eating fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains and whole nuts.

Following a protein-rich diet with lots of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains and nuts might be the diet change needed to start losing weight again. Many popular diet programs promote the same foods.

With summer right around the corner, this is a great time to consume fresh foods and visit local farmers’ markets to stay on track.

For weight management experts in Manhattan, visit

For Ascension Via Christi Weight Management in Wichita, go to or call 316-689-5232.

About Teresa Sanborn RDN LD

Teresa Sanborn is a licensed dietitian with Touchpoint, which provides nutrition services to Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan.