All calories are decidedly not equal, a fact further reinforced by a recent study published by The Obesity Society (obesity.org). Research conducted at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, examined subjects who consumed “excess calories” but different amounts of protein: low intake (5 percent of calories), normal intake (15 percent) and high intake (25 percent). Not surprisingly, weight increased across the board because of the caloric surplus. But results showed that those following the normal- and high-protein diets stored 45 percent of the excess calories as muscle mass, while the low-protein group showed 95 percent of those extra calories being stored as body fat. So while taking in more calories than you burn will lead to weight gain, if a good chunk of those calories come from protein, much of that weight will be the good kind: muscle. And when it’s time to drop some weight, make sure protein intake stays high so you can lose pounds of fat, not lean mass.