Know Your Calories

Calories always get blamed when a person gains weight. And why is it that all the yummy foods have the highest calories? Seems unfair but that’s just the way it is. Actually calories are not bad. Calories fuel the body. Much like air, we cannot actually live without them. It’s just that calories are closely associated with weight gain. It’s actually how we use calories that make us fat or thin.

A calorie is a unit of energy. It is also known as kilocalorie. It measures the amount of energy units that a certain food contains. It is used by the body to fuel all of its activities and its metabolic processes. The body uses calories to stay alive. However, when you consume more than you need, calories are converted into glycogen. Glycogen are energy reserves that can be used as needed. Being able to store it, you don’t have to eat continuously. However, it gets depleted. You may have to replenish every 3 to 4 hours. The liver and muscles have a ready supply of calories that can be accessed as needed. When you eat more than what they can store, it gets converted to fat. This is then distributed throughout the body.

There are only four food components that supply calories. Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. Alcohol contain 7 calories per gram. And fat has 9 calories per gram. Other food components such as vitamins, minerals and water do not contain calories. The term empty calories refer to foods that are devoid of nutrients. A bottle of softdrink contains empty calories. Hidden calories apply to calories that can sneak into your food. For example, you don’t really know how much oil is there in a restaurant bought meal. That’s hidden calories. To avoid this, you can order broiled or baked foods to make sure there’s no oil in it.

Understanding how calories work can aid you in your diet goals. You should not undereat. Severely restricting your caloric intake can have a serious impact on your health. Undereating can cause gallstones and heart problems. If you want to lose weight, slash a moderate amount from your diet. Say, 100 calories. This way, you still have the energy to do your daily activities. At the same time, you are losing weight.

It’s not fair to blame your jiggly thighs on calories. It’s more like how you consume and utilize calories that matter. Knowing how calories make you fat or thin is important. Then, you can make a plan that suits your lifestyle and your health.