4 Common calorie myths and how to beat them

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PHOENIX -- With all the information on food labels, counting calories should be relatively simple.

When it comes to raw numbers, that might be true, but as dietitian Patti Milligan explained to Kaley O'Kelley, not all calories are created equal. Our bodies treats those various kinds of calories very differently.

The body burn calories from carbohydrates and many fats, for example, quickly, but it's slower to use calories from proteins. Those protein calories are utilized for building blocks in the body.

"When you think of making a good nutrition plan, you want a smattering of both, and you always want to include a protein with the meal," Milligan explained. You also want to spread out your protein throughout the day.

While you might think you can "work off" that doughnut or bagel you had for breakfast, the reality of burning calories doesn't work that way.

You burning calories simply by being alive. Your heartbeat, your breathing and your brain function all burn calories.

"Even if you sit on the couch, your going to burn a certain amount of calories," Milligan said,

Your body also uses calories calories to digest food. Finally, there's exercise, in which you burn the kind of fuel your body wants to give up.

According to Milligan, one of the most common myths about calories is that low-calorie food will help you lose weight. While it makes sense, Milligan says that's not necessarily the case.

When the brain doesn't get the fuel it expects, it tells your body -- and your stomach -- that you need more food.

"Studies have shown you eat about 300 calories more in the day when you do a low-calorie or diet food," she said. "It kind of bites you back, if you will."

Milligan said if you can give your body the fuel mix that it wants, your metabolism will stay revved all day long.