Though you’ve probably heard of calories before, you might not know much about their precise role. First of all, what are they? And which products are particularly high in calories? Here, we answer your questions.
What Are Calories?
Calories are the energy you give your body through the food you eat — basically, the fuel you need to breathe, walk, exercise, and even sleep. In science, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to heat 1 liter of water by 1°C. Basically, just one calorie is enough to heat a liter of mineral water up from 19° C to 20° C.
The amount of calories in something tells you how much energy it will give you. A pizza, for example, contains 800 calories, whereas a bowl of pumpkin soup contains only 350 calories. That great Italian classic will technically give you much more energy.
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If you consume more energy than you spend, you may gain weight, no matter whether you’re eating candy or oatmeal. However, if you don’t consume enough calories, you will lose weight and your body won’t have enough energy to carry out all kinds of metabolic processes.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that all calories are the same, though. A chocolate bar may technically have the same calorie value as a smoothie with nuts and oats, but that doesn’t mean they’ll both have the same effects on your body. Many chocolate bars contain a high amount of sugar and fat, which enter the bloodstream quickly, cause the body to produce more insulin and store more fat as a result.
Not to mention, a chocolate bar won’t keep you satisfied nearly as long as a smoothie. That’s because smoothies are filled with complex carbohydrates and fiber from oatmeal and fresh fruit, which takes longer for your body to absorb and prevents your blood sugar levels from rising too quickly, keeping you feeling content and satiated for hours.
In general, what counts is the amount of calories you’re eating, because you’d gain weight if you ate too many smoothies, too. Spreading your calorie needs equally across the days’ meals and snacks will set you up for a balanced and healthy diet.
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Calorie Calculation: This is how much energy you need!
In order to find out how much energy your body needs on a daily basis, you have to calculate how much energy your body is using. The basal metabolic rate is the energy your body uses even when at rest (yup, even when you’re chilling on the couch). Additional energy that you need for physical activities is called your energy expenditure.
Calorie Chart: Sports
Track and field
Calorie Chart: Everyday
Driving a car
Everyday Products: Calorie Chart
Wondering how many calories are in an egg, or an apple? Our calorie chart breaks down everything you need to know.
Don’t forget that calories can vary depending on the portion size you’re eating and the way the food is prepared.
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