Not all calories are created equal, a new paper has warned.

Some calories, especially those from sugar-sweetened beverages, could be more harmful to our health than others, researchers advise.

The same amount of calories are found in a 355ml can of fizzy drink as in a medium-size potato full of starch, but the latter provides you with fibre, vitamins and potassium, reported the Daily Mail.

Additionally, not all fats and sugars are the same and the different types found in various foods can either benefit or harm your health, claim the researchers, who hail from different universities and institutions such as the University of California, Davis; Touro University and Stanford University School of Medicine.

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CALORIES

The team of 22 nutrition researchers, who published the paper in Obesity Reviews, highlighted that most Americans consume too many calories.

About 69 per cent of US adults are overweight while newly released figures indicate that almost 40 per cent are obese.

According to Ministry of Health stats from 2016/2017, around 34 per cent of Kiwi adults (15 years and over) were classed as obese, with a further 34 per cent overweight but not obese.

While consuming too many calories of any food can increase the risk of obesity and other diseases, sugar-sweetened beverages play a unique role even compared with calorically-equal amounts of starch.

The increase in risk factors could lead to chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

A medium-size potato is high in starch and has the same amount of calories as a 355ml can of fizzy drink, but it contains fibre, B vitamins and potassium, giving you energy and not a sugar crash like soda does.

A medium-sized potato has the same amount of calories as a can of fizzy drink but has more fibre and vitamins. Photo / Getty Images
A medium-sized potato has the same amount of calories as a can of fizzy drink but has more fibre and vitamins. Photo / Getty Images

The paper comes after a 9th Circuit court in San Francisco in September 2017 struck down a former ordinance requiring soda companies to warn consumers against the risks of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay on soda labels.

FATS

The research also compared the contrast that comes with eating foods with equal amounts but different types of fat.

Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats found in nuts such as pine nuts and walnuts, seeds such as flaxseed and chia seeds, and vegetable oils like sunflower and canola oil actually lower your risk of disease.

Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and oils rich in these fats can add more vitamin E to the diet, according to the American Heart Association.

The same amount of saturated fat, such as found in red meats, fish and poultry can raise levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood, therefore increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

However, dairy products such as yoghurts and cheese, which often contain saturated fats, were linked with a lower risk of developing cardiometabolic conditions, according to the researchers.

SUGAR

While drinking one glass of fruit juice per day won't produce detrimental effects on the body, there is no doubt that whole fruit is healthier to consume.

Fruit juice has lost most of the fibre and the broad range of nutrients contained in the whole fruit and has concentrated the sugar immensely, which raises your blood sugar levels and can promote teeth decay.

Fruit juice does not contain fibre and the sugar is concentrated compared to an apple that would be full of fibre and vitamins. Photo / Getty Images
Fruit juice does not contain fibre and the sugar is concentrated compared to an apple that would be full of fibre and vitamins. Photo / Getty Images

But because a whole piece of fruit contains fibre, blood sugar levels won't be raised and it will keep you fuller longer while supplying you with vitamins and antioxidants.

Lead author Dr Kimber Stanhope, a research nutritional biologist at the University of California, Davis, says studies have not been conducted directly comparing sugar-sweetened beverages and naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, but she expects the fibre and the beneficial bioactive compounds in fruit would have beneficial health effects compared with sugar-sweetened beverages.

The researchers agree that the sugar substitute aspartame does not promote weight gain in adults, which Dr Stanhope says might come as a surprise to most people.

"There are more than ten dietary intervention studies that show that consumption of aspartame does not promote weight gain," she told Daily Mail Online. "The long and short of it is that there are no human dietary intervention studies on noncaloric sweeteners that show weight gain."