Are you wondering how to understand calories? It’s a common question many of us ask especially if we are trying to diet or make some lifestyle changes. If you are ready to learn how to understand calories then please keep reading. I have 8 Facts to help you better understand calories.
1. What is a Calorie?
As a basic definition calories are a measure of energy. Our bodies use calories as fuel to keep running. So when we say a certain food has 200 calories per serving we are saying that this particular food will give us 200 calories of energy for our body to burn off. Keep reading to learn more about how to understand calories.
Carbs are one of our largest sources of calories. Health experts suggest that nearly 50% of calories in a healthy adult diet should come from carbohydrates. The body can use carbs more easily than other sources of calories. Our bodies break down carbs into glucose and use the glucose for energy. Carbs include things like milk, yogurt, fruits, and grains.
Protein is another common source for calories. Eating protein helps tissue repair and immune function. This is why so many athletes and those a strict exercise routines use drink protein shakes before or after workouts. Your body will use protein as an energy source when carbs are not available.
Fats are also a source for energy. Fats are important for cell, nerve, and hormone production. Unfortunately fats are kind of tricky. If they aren’t used quickly for energy they are stored in the body’s fat cells for later. Regardless fats are still a very essential part of any healthy diet.
5. Calories Are Not Equal
In some ways all calories are the same. Your body is going to use energy from a candy bar the same way as it will the energy from a salad or serving of grilled chicken. However, your body also needs nutrients to function properly. A salad or chicken has far more nutrients in it than a candy bar. Your body can do more with it. When thinking of fueling the body, also think of how your body will benefit from that fuel source.
6. Daily Calorie Intake
Your daily calorie intake is the amount of calories it takes your body to function every day. First you must use this equation to find your Basic Metabolic Rate. 655+(4.35X weight in lbs.)+(4.7X height in inches)-(4.7X age in years) Next you must determine your activity level. Someone who exercise very hard every day of the week and has a physically demanding job would be considered very active and use 1.9 as their activity level. Most of us would be considered moderately active. We may work at a desk but work out 3 to 5 times a week. We can use 1.55 as our activity level. If you get no exercise and don’t move around much then you are considered sedentary and will use 1.2 as your activity level. To get your final Daily Calorie Intake multiply your Basic Metabolic Rate by your Activity Level. These are the number of calories you need to consume each day to remain the same weight.
7. Calories in/ Calories out
If we want to maintain weight then we need to consume the same amount of calories as our body uses to function. When we take in more calories than we burn that extra energy is stored as fat, but when we burn more energy than we take in our body uses stored energy, such as fat, to burn off instead.
8. Weight Loss
Typically to lose weight we need to have a calorie defeat each week. As a general rule, 3,500 calories equals 1pound. That is only 500 calories a day that we need to offset from our daily calorie intake by eating less and moving more. For each additional pound you want to lose a week you need to increase your daily caloric deficit of 500 calories. Of course health experts only suggest a 1 to 2 pound loss per week.
Please let me know what you thought about these 8 facts to help you better understand calories. Did you learn anything new? What are some facts about calories you would like to share?