This question pops up super regularly and you see proponents of either side arguing their opinion on social media. Unfortunately, regularly, the argument is often for attention/publicity more so than a real desire to educate.
The question is a ‘loaded’ one and needs more context.
Phil Learney summarises this perfectly-
‘Calories are only ‘Equal’ if we talk about them in an energetic sense.
Calories can be Nutrient dense, empty or all that goes in between.
** Nutrient dense foods will make you feel better, perfrom better and maintain a consistent and healthy intake better. Likely leading to an improved quality of life’
If simply discussing energy, a calorie is merely a unit of energy and yes Calories in vs calories out will lead to an energy deficit (weight loss, in theory).
If we’re talking; Health, performance, longevity, quality of life & real world long term sustainable adherance, then no, calories arent created equal.
Whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods win out almost everytime in pursuit of your health & fitness goals.