What is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy. The foods and drinks we consume contain calories. We need calories to fuel our body and activity every day.

1000 calories of poor quality food provides the same amount of energy as 1000 calories of nutrient dense food.

The difference is, the nutrient dense foods will provide essential nutritional benefits that our bodies need to function optimally.

What is a macronutrient?

The foods and drinks we consume are made up of 3 individual macronutrients or sometimes a combination of different macronutrients and these are

Protein, Carbohydrates & Fat

Alcohol is technically it’s own macronutrient but because it isn’t essential for survival, we don’t often mention it amongst the other 3

Each macronutrient contains the following calories per gram

Protein – 4 calories per gram

Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram

Fat – 9 calories per gram

Alcohol – 7 calories per gram

Protein and fats are essential for us and needed to stay alive, carbohydrates aren’t an essential macronutrient however, they are the bodies preferred source of energy as they are easily digested and converted into useable energy.

How do we gain or lose weight?

Weight loss and weight gain depend on one factor:

 Energy balance.

If we are in a negative energy balance or, what is known as a calorie deficit, we begin to lose weight. If we have a surplus of energy, we begin to gain weight.

Each person requires different amounts of energy per day, which come in the form of calories that we obtain through the food and beverages we consume. The amount of energy we need depends on several factors, including gender, age, height, and weight, as well as activity levels.

It may seem confusing and at times overwhelming, but it’s actually pretty simple.

You can use the calculator in the academy to get the estimate of calories you need and be sure to read the other articles about the calorie calculator.


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