Calorie counting is one of the first habits dieters are encouraged to adopt in order to get accustomed to making healthier choices and the weight loss process easier. While the “calories in vs calories out” theory remains as true today as when it was first postulated, the actual calorie count of certain foods might be misinterpreted. That’s because scientists have discovered that protein and fiber-rich foods might actually have less calories than it was first thought.

The misconception seems to come from the fact that not all calories we ingest actually get absorbed by the body. Researchers believe, for instance, that the calorie count for pistachios is overestimated by approximately 6% if we keep in mind this newly revealed fact. Here are some other foods that have this surprising characteristic:

Potatoes Although potatoes have been almost demonized as diet recommendations were mostly against them as they were thought to be fattening. However, the culprits seem to be the associations made while cooking as well as the actual cooking method. Provided that smart choices are made in these areas, potatoes are a smart diet choice as they are extremely filling and have other important nutrients.

Apples Apparently, fruits that start with the letter ‘A’ are effective in helping you block fat absorption. Nutrients like quercetin, carotenoids and of course, fiber. Include fruits with these nutrients in your diet for a healthy snack that can easily replace unhealthier, higher calorie indulgences.

Nuts Although high in calories, nuts have a myriad of health benefits and should be included in our diet in moderation. Since they are high both in fiber and protein they can be a great healthy, crunchy snack as long as it is done mindfully, with careful planning.

Soybeans Soybeans are another rather controversial food due to some recent studies, however their lecitin content makes them an important weight loss alternative. Lecitin can break down the fat that has already been deposited within the body and prevents fat absorption. Select healthy recipes and keep a moderate calorie content to make sure you get the desired effects.

Whole grains Whole grains are notoriously high in fiber, so it is really no surprise that they have made it on the list. Soluble fiber contained in whole grains can lower cholesterol naturally and keeps blood sugar steady, so it is an invaluable dietary staple for a multitude of reasons.

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