Food Calories

Written by Amy Hall
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What are food calories? Well, basically a calorie is a unit of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius at a specified temperature. This may sound confusing, and perhaps you don't see how this relates to healthy foods and not-so-healthy foods.

Just think of it like this--every food on earth contains food calories. Practically every liquid we drink, aside from water, also contains calories. There are different amounts of calories in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. One gram of fat contains roughly 8 calories, while one gram of carbohydrates and one gram of protein both have about 4 calories. This is a good base for determining food calories, and it allows you to calculate how many of your calories are coming from fats, proteins, and carbs.

Empty Food Calories

It is important to realize that there is such a thing as empty food calories, which are basically foods that provide you with calories, but little nutritional value. Such foods include: cakes, cookies, chips, syrups, jellies, doughnuts, pastries, and basically "junk" food. If you load up on this type of food calories, you will gain weight fast.

Most people count calories when they are dieting, because it is necessary to reduce the amount of calories ingested each day to lose weight. If you normally eat 2000 calories a day, you would have to drop back to about 1500 calories a day to lose one pound per week. This may sound discouraging, but if you add in exercise, you can often burn more calories without having to drastically cut back on the amount of food you eat. Substitute empty calorie foods for healthy calories, and you will not only begin to lose weight, but your energy level will begin to creep back up again.


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