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Calories Explained


Calories in a nutshell

Everybody has heard that for women the daily allowance is of about 2,000 calories, compared to men who are allowed 2,500 calories. But do you know exactly what calories are? Let’s find out.

Calories are essentially units of energy. Energy which is used to raise your body temperature. One calorie equals the same amount of energy that is needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.

Calories are our way of measuring the energy content of the foods we eat.

Another metrical tool you need to know when you are losing weight, which you won’t traditionally find on a food label, is joules. These measure food energy too, but work on a higher setting.

1 Kcal= 4.1864 Kj
1 g of protein = 17 Kj (4 Kcal)
1 g of fat = 38 Kj (9 Kcal)
1 g of carbohydrates = 17 Kj (4 Kcal)
With such high figures it is easy to see why calories are preferred by companies. What you see on the labels is Kcal (called Calories, with a capital “C”). 1 Kcal equals to 1,000 cal (with a small “c”). When it comes to dieting Kcal (Calories) are what you really deal with, but people usually refer to Kcal as calories.

Calories and weight loss

The basic rule in terms of weight loss is that you have to burn more calories than you consume. Take this example: to lose 1lb of your weight, you need to burn 3,500 calories – more from your daily allowance. This may look as to harshly lose weight, you have to starve. Do not do that mistake!

Fanatic weight loss is extremely unhealthy. Cutting your calorie intake below 1,200 a day can lead to many serious health problems.

We recommend that consuming 300 to 500 calories less per day should lead to a loss of between 1-2 lbs of your weight per week, which is generally safe.

When on a weight-loss plan another important thing is that the number of calories of your daily intake depends on your actual weight. More extra weight means that more energy to perform your daily activities is needed.

So if two persons with different body weight are trying to lose weight at the same rate, then the heavier one will need more energy, respectively calories, to keep the process steady. Cut down your calorie intake too low and you wouldn’t have enough energy for your body to function properly.

Once you’ve made a considerable weight loss progress, you should have to adjust your daily calorie consumption to your new weight.

So now you can see the significant role that calories play in weight loss. Let’s move on to the next important question.

How can we understand how many calories the food we eat contains?

For successfully achieving healthy and sustainable weight loss we need to work out our daily allowance including: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. To gain a clearer perspective, here is the daily allowance for people eating 2,000 calories per day.

Total fat
Saturated fatty acids
Total Carbohydrates
Here you can find more detailed information about your daily caloric requirement

As you can see, what you need every day goes beyond the basics of fat, protein and fibre, but also branches into fatty acids, sodium and potassium too.

Now to inform yourself about nutrient food content you just have to check out the food label. But it is not always so simple. For example when you are at the restaurant ordering your meal, you can’t really know what you are eating and how many calories it contains. So what do you do? The best thing you can do is to take a look into the ingredients to see what the food contains.

Essentially you can pre-learn the calorie content of certain foods, so that you can still monitor your diet everywhere you go. Completely remembering the ins and outs of all foods is not a must, but if you can learn the basics of your favourite foods instead, then you can still enjoy going out and losing weight.

Here are some examples which can be helpful when making your food choices:

lean steak (140g) – 181 calories and 6g of fat
Grilled chicken breast (130g) – 192 calories and 2.9g of fat
Lean pork chops (120g) – 221 calories and 7.7g of fat
Bacon (1 slice/25 g) – 64 calories and 4.0g of fat
Ham (1 slice/30g) – 35 calories and 1.0g of fat
Medium baked potato (180g) – 245 calories and 0.4g fat
Mash potato with butter (28g) – 29 calories and 1.2g of fat
Chips (100g) – 253 calories and 9.9g of fat
Salad (100g) – 19 calories and 0.3g of fat
Carrots (60g) – 13 calories and 0.2g of fat
Cabbage (135g) – 21 calories and 0.5g of fat
Broccoli (30g) – 7 calories and 0.2g of fat
Peas (60g) – 32 calories and 0.4g of fat
Red peppers (28g) – 7 calories and 0.1g of fat
Mushrooms (28g) – 44 calories and 4.5g of fat
Coffee (1 cup/220ml) – 15.4 calories and 0.9g of fat
Tea (1 cup/220ml) – 24.2 calories and 0.4g of fat
A can of Coke (330ml) – 139 calories and 0.0g of fat
Orange juice (1 glass/200ml) – 88 calories and 0.0g of fat
Baileys Irish Cream (50ml) – 175 calories and 8.0g of fat
Champagne (1 glass/120ml) – 89 calories and 0.0g of fat
A pint of beer – 182 calories and 0.0g of fat
Wine (1 glass/120ml) – 87 calories and 0.0g of fat