What Is A Calorie
Author: Joe Sage, NASM-CPT, FNS, WLS, CES
How would you answer someone If they were to ask you, “What is a calorie?” Some of the more common answers are “that’s what makes you fat” or “those aren’t good for you”. So, what’s the correct answer? A calorie is a unit of measurement to calculate the amount of energy given to our bodies by the amount and type of food we eat. Now, it is true that if you continually give your body more than it needs, it can result in weight gain. We get calories from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Carbohydrates and proteins both provide 4 calories per gram, alcohol provides 7 calories per gram, and fat provides 9 calories per gram. So, if a food had 10 grams of carbohydrates, we would multiply that by four to give us 40 calories.
The amount of energy, or calories, you need is going to vary based on your profession, level of activity, body composition, gender, and lifestyle. The higher your level of activity is, the more calories you would need to consume to give your body the fuel it needs. Physical activity is not the only way your body uses energy. You need energy to ensure your body is able to perform everyday functions. Some of those include breathing, heart rate, brain function, and digestion of food. Basically any bodily function that happens is fueled by calories provided by food. Making sure you have a balance between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is important to make sure your body is getting what it needs to work optimally. Carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of your daily calories, protein 10-35%, and fat 20-35%. So even if you aren’t very active, you still need to make sure you are supplying your body with the energy it needs to perform day to day activities and bodily functions.