Is a Calorie a Calorie? (Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies)

According to the laws of thermodymanics, yes, all calories are created equal (at least on paper).

However, the way the body breaks down carbohydrates, protein and fat, the three main sources of calories in our diet (four if you count alcohol), and the effect they have on our bodies differ greatly.

Let’s start with fats. Fats slow digestion, deliver important fat-soluble vitamins to the body, and provide important building blocks for every one of our cells. All dietary fats provide about 9 calories per gram but, as you likely already know, some fats are better for our health than others. For example, polyunsaturated omega-3 fats, found in foods like wild salmon and flaxseed, have protective, anti-inflammatory properties, whereas artificial trans fats have been linked to increased inflammation and heart disease.

Protein. Protein also keeps us feeling fuller for longer by slowing digestion, but its primary role in the body is to maintain and build new cells. All proteins provide about 4 calories per gram but there are higher quality proteins, which may reduce appetite and optimize muscle repair and recovery (think: fish or eggs), and lower quality proteins (think: hamburger meat) that are loaded with branched-chain amino acids, which have been linked to metabolic disease and insulin resistance.

Carbs. Carbohydrates are by far the most complex mostly because our bodies use the different types of carbohydrates (such as fiber, starch and sugar) in very different ways. Carbohydrates are used by the body as a quick source of energy, particularly for the brain, liver and muscles. All carbohydrates (with the exception of fiber, which our body can’t digest) provide 4 calories per gram. Though not a source of calories, fiber is considered a high-quality carbohydrate since it slows digestion (thus making you feel fuller, longer) and can moderate the absorption of other nutrients, like sugar. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

As you can see, a calorie of carbohydrate is not the same as a calorie from fat or protein, nor are all carbohydrate calories created equal. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that you consume the majority of your calories from minimally or unprocessed whole foods. The recipe I’m sharing in this post does not fit into that category.

In other news, I know you want to see the last of my SF pictures! The last of my pictures are from Point Lobos. We went here with A’s aunt and uncle for part of our day trip. The walk was a lot of fun and it even got fairly toasty! We got to see a whale out in the ocean along with a lot of sea lions! It is a really neat place!

DSC_0761 DSC_0762 DSC_0777 DSC_0781 

Oh, and I failed to mention that the Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies from Boudin are simply amazing. Some of the best I have ever had.

1 year ago: Why All Runners Should Indulge in Carbs (Recipe: Ultimate Fudgy Brownies)

Quote of the Day:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our sense to grow sharper.” -W. B. Yeats

So, we had a flyball tournament last weekend. I was sick for most of it which was a bummer. And then Callie got sick Saturday which was an even bigger bummer. However, we have three vets on our team who were fantastic! They took care of Callie like she was one of their own. So, while it rained all weekend (which often makes flyball miserable), we still managed to have a good time. Envy got a title (FdCH-gold)! Woohoo! She ran a 3.8 on Saturday, too! I will give you the official stats once I get them from Geoff; however, these cookies were a hit and were devoured right away. I made them because I was trying not to snack over the weekend and we all know I don’t like peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • about 30-40 miniature Reese’s butter cups, unwrapped

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan (I sprayed mine because I was paranoid).
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything

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