What Are Calories?

What Are Calories?

Calories are the unit of measurement used to measure the amount of energy in foods.

Author Image Ash May Training Nutrition

By Ash May

Weight loss is an important goal for the majority of people; however, it is often a massive struggle. It is so easy to go online and be flooded with detailed information on extreme diets, fads, and tiny nuances around dieting, that the basics are often forgotten. This is a major issue with the goal of losing weight, as with a little bit of knowledge around the basics, it becomes a whole lot easier. 

So, starting with the basics:

What Is A Calorie?

A calorie is a unit of measurement used to measure the energy value of foods. These are needed in order to fuel your body with energy to do anything from running to breathing. 

Different macronutrients have different caloric profiles, which are as follows; 

Proteins – 4 calories per gram 
Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram 
Fats – 9 calories per gram 

Therefore, if you ate something with 10g of protein and 50g of carbohydrates, you would be intaking 240 calories worth of energy. Throughout the day, this adds up to give you your daily caloric intake. 

My Fitness Pal For Tracking Calories

Why Should You Care?

If your daily caloric intake is lower than the number of calories you burn in a day (daily caloric expenditure) then you will lose weight. This is the law of thermodynamics, and is an absolute science, meaning if you think you are eating below your expenditure and not losing weight, you are going wrong somewhere along the line.  

With understanding of this, you will have a much clearer idea of what is happening in your body – you are using your fat for energy (calories) to fill the gap of what you aren’t giving your body through food. 

This means that if you were to eat exactly the number of calories which you burnt in a day, you would be perfectly balancing your intake and expenditure, meaning your bodyfat would remain the same indefinitely. This is called maintaining your body composition. 

Of course, the weight loss process is more detailed than this, however the science behind it is simple, giving you a solid foundation of understanding. 

For meal plans personally tailored to you, helping to achieve your body goals, click here.

Did I miss anything out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or on Instagram @ash_training_nutrition.

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