We hear about them all the time, see them listed on every package and know that we should be counting them……but what is a calorie?
When the word “calorie” is used in nutrition settings, it is usually being used as the casual definition of calorie. Technically, this is referring to kilocalories, which is what you see on nutrition labels. This is how the two terms are different:
- The definition of calorie (cal), or small calorie, is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celcius.
- The definition of kilocalories (kcal), or large calorie, is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celcius. A kilocalorie is equivalent to 1000 small calories. Kilocalories are sometimes called “food calories” or simply shortened to “calories” when referring to the energy in food.
Now that we’ve gotten the technical jargon out of the way, let’s try to understand calories in a simpler way.
A calorie is a unit of measurement — but it doesn’t measure weight or length. A calorie is a unit of energy. When you hear something contains 100 calories, it’s a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it.
So calories are not bad for you! Your body needs calories for energy. Be careful though, because eating too many calories — and not burning enough of them off through activity — can lead to weight gain. A problem that many of us have faced.
How do calories create weight gain?
We’ve established that calories in food provide essential energy, but why is consuming too many bad for us? Excess calories are stored as body fat. Your body does need some stored fat to stay healthy. But as most of us know, too much fat can cause health problems and complications.
Verywell Fit explains further, “The food we eat becomes the fuel that runs our bodies. Healthy food provides calories (energy) and important nutrients to build strong bones and muscles. Drinks also contain calories. But not all calories are healthy. Sodas, for example, are often referred to as “empty calories.” That means that they provide calories but have no other nutritional value.”
That still leaves some big questions:
-How many calories should I be consuming?
-How many calories should I be burning?
-Which foods provide nutritional calories?
-What food & drinks should I be avoiding?
The answers to these questions are all based on individual needs and goals. That is why TNT customizes every plan that they design, from youth programs to the Silver program, and everyone in between. Whether you are looking to lose weight or to improve your quality of life through wellness, Total Nutrition Technology has a program or service that’s just right for you.
Contact us today for more information and your Free Consultation.