Energy is the ability to do work. Virtually every bite of food gives you energy. The amount of energy in food is measured in calories, the amount of heat produced when food is burned (metabolized) in your body cells.
Food is the fuel on which your body runs. Without food, you do not have enough energy.
When you read that a serving of food, such as a large banana that has 105 calories, it means that metabolizing the banana produces 105 calories of heat that your body can use for work.
Which kinds of food have the most calories?
In other words, ounce for ounce, proteins and carbohydrates give you less than half as many calories as fat. That's why high-fat foods, like cream cheese, are high in calories, while lowfat foods, like bagels are not.
Be careful! Sometimes foods that seem to be equally low-calorie really aren't. For example, a chicken breast and a hamburger are both high-protein foods. Both should have the same amount of calories per ounce. But if you serve the chicken without its skin, it has very little fat, while the hamburger is full of it.
Use the comparison tool below to help determine the differences between other foods. If you are on a mobile device, tap here to access comparison tool.
All food provides calories and all calories provide energy, but not all calories come with a full complement of extra benefits such as amino acids, fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Some foods are said to give you 'empty calories'. Best known examples of these are table sugar and ethanol (the kind of alcohol found in beer, wine, and spirits).
Regardless of where the calories come from, if you consume more calories than what you burn off, you will gain weight. If you take in less than you use up, you will lose weight. This applies to everyone.
But how many calories do you need???
You use energy when your body is at rest and when you are actively working (i.e., walking, running, biking, and even brushing your teeth)
When your body is at rest on the outside, your body is still working on the inside. Your heart, lungs, and other organs are doing their job and will need to use energy to keep working. To determine the energy that you require when at rest, you will be finding your resting energy expenditure (REE). To find your REE, click/tap here.
When you are active, how active are you?
|Activity Level||Sample Activities|
|Very Light||Seated and standing activities, painting, driving, laboratory work, typing, sewing, ironing, cooking, playing cards, playing musical instrument|
|Light||Walking on a level surface at 2.5 to 3 mph (4 to 4.8 km/h), garage work, electrical trades, carpentry, restaurant trades, housecleaning, child care, golf, sailing, table tennis|
|Moderate||Walking 3.5 to 4 mph (5.6 to 6.4 km/h), weeding, carrying a load, cycling, skiing, tennis, dancing|
|Heavy||Walking with a load uphill, tree felling, heavy manual digging, basketball, climbing, football, soccer|
|Exceptionally Heavy||Professional athletic training|
Based on the type of activity you are doing, it will give you a ballpark idea of how many calories you will need to the the work.
|Activity Level||Calories Needed for This Work for One Hour|
|Very Light||80 - 100|
|Light||110 - 160|
|Moderate||170 - 240|
|Heavy||250 - 350|
Adapted by Nutrition for Dummies (p. 32).
Depriving yourself of major calories is not the way to do it. Severe calorie deprivation can cause life-threatening weight loss coupled with nutritional deficiency diseases.
Moderate calorie deprivation, however, produces healthful moderate weight loss.
One pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories. So...
So, what you need to know is what is the base amount of calories should you be consuming based on your gender, height, weight, and age. Use the daily calorie calculator below to get the approximate amount of calories you should be consuming on a daily basis. This calculator also estimates the amount of calories required when you are doing very light to very heavy (extra active) activities. To access Daily Calorie Calculator on a mobile device, tap here.
Calories are not your enemy. They are the energy you need to live a healthy life. You need to learn to manage your caolories - not let them manage you.
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Fenelon Athletics & Nutrition
Fenelon Falls, ON K0M 1N0
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