What Do You Know About Calories and Weight Loss?

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With all the conflicting information on the Internet on what kinds of food we should eat, how much we need to eat, how to stay healthy, and the right weight loss methods, it’s difficult to decide which ones to actually follow. But basic among all these health data is the presence of calories.


What are calories?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides the following medical definitions for calorie:

  • the amount of heat required at a pressure of one atmosphere to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius that is equal to about 4.19 joules—abbreviation cal; called also gram calorie, small calorie
  • the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius that is equal to 1000 gram calories or 3.968 Btu—abbreviation Cal; called also kilocalorie, kilogram calorie, large calorie
  • a unit equivalent to the large calorie expressing heat-producing or energy-producing value in food when oxidized in the body
  • an amount of food having an energy-producing value of one large calorie


So basically, every calorie translates to a unit of energy. These calories can come from 3 main macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Everything we eat contains a combination of these macronutrients. Also, these macronutrients have different chemical structures and fulfill different functions in the body but each macronutrient can be used as an energy source.


What are good sources of calories?

This actually depends on your caloric needs. In a general sense, though, healthy foods tend to have a higher ratio of micronutrients per calorie. Vegetables, fruits and berries, whole grains, lentils, and lean meats are examples. Vegetables and fruits are mainly carbohydrate, fiber, and water. Lentils are protein and carbs. Meats are protein and fat.


Some other foods are rich in calories but do not come packed with lots of micronutrients. These include processed foods and sweet treats. Hence, the need for us to make intelligent and informed eating decisions. This does not necessarily mean you have to strictly track your caloric intake. Simply choosing to eat healthy can make the difference in your weight loss goals.

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