What Is A Calorie?
One small calorie (cal) is the energy needed to heat 1 gram of water by 1° Celsius. One large calorie (Kcal) is the energy needed to heat 1 kilogram (1000 grams) of water by 1° Celsius. In other words, calories are measures of energy.
The way we use calories in nutrition is simple: Your body needs a certain amount of calories (energy) to maintain its processes, and in order to get this energy you need to feed your body with food which contains energy (calories), otherwise you die of starvation.
In order to know how many calories your body uses we need to determine two factors; your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the amount of calories you burn during your daily activities (work, walk, exercise, etc). The first one is simple, since this is your body’s rate of burning calories at bed rest without any activity. The number is different for all of use based on our gender, height, and weight and there are bazillion of different calculators available to find yours out in few seconds. In order to determine the amount of calories burned by your daily activities you can use a wearable fitness tracker/watch or input your daily exercise into an application that calculates it for you such as: MyFitnessPal or FatSecret.
After you’ve identified your energy needs, it’s as simple as eating enough food to consume adequate amount of calories based on your goal. If you need to lose weight, eat a little less than your body needs. If you’re looking to build muscle, lift weights and eat a bit more than your body normally needs. If you would like to maintain your current weight, consume roughly the amount your body burns per day. Simple.
- 1 gram fat = 9Kcal
- 1 gram protein = 4Kcal
- 1 gram carbohydrates = 4Kcal