What are Calories?

Typically when one begins to look at losing weight, the first thing they start looking at is the reduction of the intake of calories. But the question is – what exactly are calories?

At its basic, a calories is essentially a unit of measurement, along the lines of inches, feet, gallons, hertz, etc, etc. What it measures is energy contained within an item that can increase the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 °C.

In the context of food, a calorie is actually a kilocalorie, the amount of energy that can increase the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by one degree celcius. But I’m not going to worry too much about the hardcore science behind the calorie. What’s important is that a calorie is the measure of energy supplied by the foods we eat and drink.

We get the energy through digestion, and use this energy in several ways, including the beating of our hearts. We convert the calories into amino acids, glucose and other sugars, and glycerol and fatty acids. Each of these supply various items we need in order to survive.

The point I’m getting at here is that calories are not my enemy. They are a necessity. I’m not going to fear them. What I am going to try to do is to limit them. Because if I do not use all of them in a given time period, my body will store them for later use. But I’ll cover that when I write about fat in a future post.

How many calories a person needs differs from individual to individual. A persons gender, family history, height, weight, and activity level all play a part. I am currently a very sedentary person, in the throes of middle age. My calorie needs are very low. So my goals are to lower my calorie input.

How I’m going to go about that is a different story.

tags technorati : Weight Loss calories


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