Posted By: Laurann Robinson

A new study at the University of Nebraska says you should focus less on the amount of calories you eat, and more on what kind of calories you eat.

When most of us think about being healthier, or trying to shed some pounds, we tend to think we should just eat less… But a UNL study is showing quality outweighs quantity.

University of Nebraska  Agriculture Economist, Azzeddine Azzam, lead the research team in studying the eating habits of 5 different cultures... including here in the U.S.

They compared the different types of calories we eat, to Japanese, Greek, Finnish, and French cultures.

"Suppose we keep the calories constant at that number and we change the composition. What happens to BMI? And we found out that on average, BMI could actually go down," said Azzam.

The study used the average American calorie intake of just over 3,500 calories per day as a starting point. Using that number as the constant, they focused on what it would be like if we changed the types of calories we eat...

For example, statistics indicate that Japanese residents have a diet that's 79 percent plant–based. compared to Americans at 73 percent.

Their study found that even if you eat a higher amount of calories, but make those calories plant–based or lean proteins, like chicken or fish, your body mass index could go down.

"100 calories of cookies reacts in your body remarkably different than 100 calories of fruit or of a vegetable," says nutritionist, Caitlynn Gallaspie.

She adds, "from a nutritional standpoint, it's go back to the basics. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains. Eat less processed food that you get from the shelves that has a long shelf–life."

The results of the study showed the u–s came in dead center in regards to the types of calories we eat and our body mass index.

behind Japanese and Greeks... but ahead of the French and Finnish.