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Aug 23, 2010 06:36 PM

Same Calories, Different Fat Content?

Hey Folks

I was checking the nutritional info on tortilla chips and whole wheat matzo crackers when I realized that, for a 28gram (1oz) serving, they both had roughly the same amount of calories (110 and 130 I believe).

However, the tortilla chips had 6 grams of fat, while the matzo crackers had 0.5g. Further, the tortilla chips has 1g of fiber, the crackers had 5g. Calories from fat for the tortilla chips and crackers came to 50 and 10 respectively.

But what's the take away here? I would think that if one food has more fat, it will have more calories and thus be less healthy. But if they have the same calorie content, can I feel free to eat tortilla chips instead of crackers? That doesn't seem very healthy...

I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this, but I use chowhound for everything else food related, so... hmmm..

Thanks for your thoughts!

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  1. What you are missing is that different elements have different calorie content, but it's not all about fat- fat is not the only source of calories.

    1 gram of fat = 9 cal. The tortilla is coming in right on this, the matzo is off. Carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories per ounce. So, obviously the matzo crackers have more carbs, which up the total calorie content.

    The take home message is "everything in moderation".

    4 Replies
    1. re: cheesemonger

      And just to complete the calorie counts per gram - protein has 4 calories per gram and alcohol has 7 calories per gram

      1. re: cheesemonger

        Thanks folks, I get that different elements have different calorie contents, but that isn't really what I meant.

        The matzo crackers have more carbs, the chips have more fat. But at the end of the day, the calorie count is the same.

        So if I'm on a calorie controlled diet, does it matter which one I eat because the calories are the same i.e. 2 oz of tortillas will have the same effect as 2 oz of crackers? Basically, does the source of the calories matter as long as the number of calories is the same?

        1. re: AgentRed

          If calorie count is your only parameter, then by that measure there's no difference. It's energy to boil water, by definition.

          When you are talking about the different between 100 calories of tortillas vs. crackers, the health difference is minimal. But if you are talking about the difference between 100 calories of spinach/beets/kale vs. 100 cal of tortillas or crackers, the difference in the healthiness of the choice is significant.

          1. re: AgentRed

            Ask me and I'll tell you they're the same. Ask a "low-carber" and they'll tell you they're different.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. If all you care about are calories, then there is no difference.

            If you are concerned about other factors -- health, vitamins, metabolic reactions, etc., then there would be a difference.

            1. I would go with bang-for-your-buck here. Obviously, strictly speaking, calorie-wise, if all you ate was 1000 calories of snickers bars a day (assuming you eat significantly more calories now), you would loose weight. a calorie, taken alone, is a calorie. doesn't matter if it's from butter or kale. Now, from a holistic perspective, calories can either be of quality - such as those that provide nutrition- or can be "empty." In terms of the cracker/chip dilemma, I would advise that you choose the matzo. Why? If you're on a restricted calorie diet, but still don't want to feel hungry, you should choose foods that will keep you feeling full longer. Foods high in fiber notoriously help satiate you for longer than those with less (for example, an actual apple satiates you much more than the equivalent number of calories of apple juice). For this reason, I would choose the matzo.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jdinsf

                Perrrfect, that's exactly what I wanted to know. Luckily I enjoy the matzo crackers just as much as chips so it shouldn't be too hard to choose the high fibre, low fat option!

                Thanks for the help everyone!