So you think you know about calories?

Friday, July 28th, 2017

You think you know all there is to know about calories? We’ve found over the years that people who are looking to control their weight don’t know as much as they should, for instance, what is a calorie? To give a helping hand we’ve provided a quick introduction to the world of kcals!

First things first, a calorie is a unit of energy. It was first described in the 19th century as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree celsius. From a nutrition perspective a calorie is the potential energy in food and the amount of energy that the body uses.

When you eat food, you are consuming the energy that is stored within the protein, carbohydrate, and fat molecules of that food. The total amount of the energy stored in the food is represented by the calorie content of the food, as indicated on its nutritional label.

Carbohydrate, fat and protein calories are equal by definition in terms of their energy content, but the body processes each in a very different way, and these differences have real implications for weight management. In addition, food calories of all types may have very different effects on the body depending on when they are eaten and what they are eaten with.

The carbohydrates, fats and proteins in food supply energy to the body, which is measured in calories, as mentioned earlier. Carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 calories per gram. Fat contributes more than twice as much at 9 calories per gram. Alcohol is also high in energy and supplies 7 calories per gram.

Understanding what calories are allows you to develop knowledge of how they affect your body. This can help you to make informed nutritional decisions which can have a significant impact on your health.