Calories come in a variety of forms: some good and others not so great. But we can all agree that there is a big difference between 100 calories of raw vegetables and 100 calories of processed & sugar-loaded ice cream. Different kinds of food items are all processed differently by the body. The main differetiating factor lies in the carbs and sugar content.

More and more studies linking sugar to cancer and other life shortening diseases have gradually surfaced. A joint 9 year research project led by scientists from various Belgian universities discovered the “Warburg effect: a phenomenon in which cancer cells rapidly break down sugars, and stimulate tumor growth.” Uncovering this information, “provided evidence for a positive correlation between sugar and cancer.”

When I transitioned to become vegan, I didn’t necessarily feel better because of the food choices I was making. Instead of focusing on fad diets, we all need to start caring about the type foods we eat.

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, the best sources of fiber include “whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.” Harvard also conducted a study on fiber and found “that a high total dietary fiber intake was linked to a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.” Not only does fiber have a positive effect on daily digestion, it can also impact disease prevention and longevity. 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day is the recommended intake.

Obtaining this nutritional knowledge has changed the way I eat and live my life. I rediscovered what my body needs while becoming more mindful of how much carb and fiber content I allocate per meal (and not just looking at calories).

If there’s anything to take away, try avoiding sugar and increasing your fiber intake and see how your body reacts. Based on the way I feel, I don’t think you will regret it.