07 Sep CALORIES DEFINED
Very simply, a calorie is a unit of measurement for energy. Just like we use inches for distance and pounds for weight, we use calories to measure energy, heat energy specifically. When we look at food, the calorie count tells us how much energy is in that item, and different food items have different concentrations of calories.
- Generally, fat has 9 calories per gram; protein has 4 calories per gram; carbs have 4 calories per gram. To get a specific measurement of a product’s calorie level, scientists burn the food inside a water tank to look at how hot the water gets as a result. Note: the FDA requires calorie estimates to be within 20% plus or minus so count on packaged foods being having more calories than what they list.
- Your body burns energy every day just by doing the basics: breathing, heart pumping, digestion, etc. This basic rate of burn is called your basal metabolic rate or BMR.
- The old science says that if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight, and if you consume more than you burn, you gain weight. The new science shows us it’s not so simple. Certain types of foods, simple carbs in particular, cause us to create fat more quickly than other types of foods. So it’s not all about calorie balancing, but also about how much of each type of food you’re eating specifically, and how quickly it gets stored as fat.