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What Is a Calorie Anyway?

If you ask people randomly to define a calorie, they will most likely not be able to clearly answer you. In a world today that is calorie conscious you would think we would all be able to openly know and define what a calorie is. In laymen’s terms, a calorie simply is how much energy your body gets from the food and drinks you are consuming. How much energy the item stores in its chemical bonds defines what makes up a calorie in food.

Calories are used mainly for: Digestion 10%, 20% Physical Activity, and 70% basic bodily functions. This is all known as your body’s basal metabolic rate, or the amount of calories your body needs to survive. To get a little more technical, a calorie is used for two units of energy. The small calorie or gram calorie (symbol: cal) is the approximate amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. (Wikipedia, 2015).

In contrary to popular believe there are no such thing as bad calories. All calories are processed the same. But we should definitely try and have our calories as nutrient dense as possible and stay away from empty calories that come from soda and sweets.

Calories are used for every bodily function possible: sleeping, eating, walking, thinking etc.

In order to maintain your weight you need to find the right balance of calories every day. If you consume more calories than what your body needs to function, it will naturally be stored as fat. If you consume less – you will see weight loss. Finding the right balance can be difficult especially if you are someone who, like most of us, loves food.

The amount of calories needed on the daily basis depends on many factors: age, weight, height, and activity level. When a person seeks help from a dietician, all these factors are taken into an account to determine the right range of calories needed for each individual.

The average male needs about 2000-2400 calories and an average woman should stay within a range of 1200 and 1500 calories a day. Yes, it is a low number. In order to feel satisfied and supply your body with all the nutrients needed, you should always choose foods high in nutrition rather than high in taste most of the time.

References:
  1. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calorie 
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