Calorie a word that is regularly put in our face when it comes to nutrition. You find it on various packaged food and canned products. You also have nutritionist and food specialist talk about what we should eat, our daily calorie count and various other calorie issues. This is why we want to tell you everything you need to know about calories
WHAT ARE CALORIES?
I might be using some technical terms so just permit me.
Calorie in the simplest of terms is a way of keeping track of the amount of energy your body gets from food. It is taking stock of the energy that goes into your body from the food you eat.
So now you will be wondering so how is calorie important, how does it work?
The amount of food we take in is usually generated into energy. The amount of energy we take into our body is a direct factor of how our body turns out.
For example, if I put in more energy (gotten from the food we eat) into my body than I burn, the energy I did not burn will be automatically stored as fat in the cell and I, of course, will gain weight. If on the other hand, I take in less food than my body will burn (burn is usually due to the kind of activity I do), then my body will not have enough energy even to store. This way, I will lose weight.
A healthy balance is when I take in as much as energy (gotten from the food we eat) as my body will burn. To ensure we attain a healthy balance is why we need to measure the energy we consume and use. This is what we call a unit calorie
How do we measure our calories?
One calorie (the kind we measure in food also called a large calorie) is defined as the kind of energy it would take to raise the temperature of 1kg of water by one degree Celsius.
Let me break it down; everything we eat has a particular amount of energy in its chemical bonds.
100g of garri contains 357 calorie
I slice of fried plantain contains 68 calories
Medium-size corn (6-7 inches) contains about 88 calories
And so on (find out more calorie in Nigerian food. Click here)
Back of what I was saying, this energy is usually released during digestion and stored in other molecules that can be broken down to provide energy when our body needs it. This energy is used in 3 ways:
– About 10% enables digestion
– 20% fuels physical activity
– 70% (the biggest chunk) supports the basic function of our organs and tissues (I call them survival calories).
With all this information,
What Should My Daily Intake of Calorie Be?
The official guideline the average person requires each day within a healthy balanced diet is 2000 KCal a day for women and 2500Kcal a day for men to maintain his weight.
These values vary depending on certain factors like:
- Your Age – For example growing children require more energy and the elderly require less because of their metabolic rate
- Your Lifestyle – Does the nature of your job cause you to sit down all day, do you do a lot of physical activity. Generally, how active you are
- Your size/muscle mass: Your height and weight can affect how quickly you use energy.
Other factors include:
- Some hormones
- Some Medications
Before you start counting your calories note that the calorie counts on nutrition labels measures how much energy the food contains and not the amount of energy you can actually get out of it.
What do I mean>>>
With the exact same food, different people might not get the same number of calories. Variations in this like enzyme levels, gut bacteria, and even intestine length. This means that every individual’s ability to extract energy from food is a little different.
Fibrous foods like vegetable and whole wheat take more energy to digest so you would actually wind up with less energy from a 100 calorie serving of vegetable than a 100 calorie of potato chips. Not to mention the fact that some foods offer nutrients like protein and vitamins while others provide far less nutritional value. Eating too many of those foods could leave you overweight and malnourished.
So calorie is a great energy measure but to work out exactly how many of them each of us requires. We would need to factor in things like exercise, food types and our body’s ability to process energy and we all know this cannot be found on a nutrition label.
So What Do I recommend?
The usual A healthy lifestyle.
Have the best day ahead