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What Is A Calorie and How Many Should I Be Consuming?

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What is a calorie and how are they measured in food?

hands holding a calorie sign

What is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy. Specifically, the dictionary says a calorie “is the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C.” The human body needs calories to survive to ensure it has enough energy to develop and work properly.

Do you ever wonder how calories are measured in the food we eat? Or how we know a medium apple has 80 calories? Or a large hand-tossed pepperoni pizza from Domino’s has 2,370 calories? It is measured by a device called a Bomb Calorimeter.

The process involves placing a food source in a sealed container filled with water. Then, the food is burned with electrical energy. After the food has completely burned up, the water temperature is measured to see how many degrees it was raised and thus how many calories used.

Weight Management 

Many people are unfamiliar with the definition of a calorie, and the processes used to measure calories.

When is comes to weight management, it is important to know that calories do exist, and the calories we consume count. If people eat more calories than they burn, they gain weight. If they eat fewer calories and burn more calories through physical activity, they lose weight.

Unsure of how many calories to be consuming each day? Whether the goal is weight loss, weight gain, or to maintain; a calorie calculator will help determine how many calories one should be eating per day.

A calorie calculator like the one from Free Dieting will calculate daily calorie intake. According to goals based on age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. 

Weight Loss

If the goal is weight loss; 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound of fat. It’s estimated people need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. Also, swapping high-calorie foods for lower calorie options and reducing portion sizes can help. Along with increasing physical activity.

Fun Fact: Technically one could eat anything and lose weight, as long as their calorie intake is lower than their calorie needs. This was tested by a nutrition professor who went on an all Twinkie diet for 10 weeks. Even though one can lose weight by strictly limiting their calories with any food, I highly recommend having a well rounded, balanced diet. Your organs and tissues need proper nutrition to work effectively. As a result, you will feel better. 

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Monday 1st of July 2019

thanks for sharing your insights. This is such a great article. More power!


Tuesday 16th of July 2019