What actually are calories
Calories are a measure of energy. Specifically, they refer to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. In the context of food and nutrition, when we talk about calories, we're referring to how much energy our body can obtain from consuming a particular food or beverage. Our bodies need energy to perform all functions, from breathing and circulating blood to moving and thinking. This energy comes from the food and drinks we consume. Each macronutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) provides a specific number of calories per gram: - Carbohydrates provide about 4 calories per gram. - Proteins also provide about 4 calories per gram. - Fats provide about 9 calories per gram. Alcohol also provides calories – about 7 calories per gram – but it's not considered a nutrient that our bodies need. When you're trying to lose weight, the basic principle is to consume fewer calories than your body uses. This creates a calorie deficit, forcing your body to use stored fat for energy, which results in weight loss. This can be achieved by either eating less, exercising more, or a combination of both. It's important to note that not all calories are equal in terms of nutritional value. For instance, 100 calories from a donut will not provide the same nutritional benefits as 100 calories from a serving of vegetables. Therefore, it's beneficial to focus on foods that are not only lower in calories but also rich in nutrients – often referred to as "nutrient-dense" foods – especially when you're trying to lose weight. Moreover, the number of calories an individual should consume per day can vary widely based on factors such as age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity level. It's recommended to speak with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice when embarking on a weight loss journey. Lastly, keep in mind that sustainable weight loss is often achieved through a balanced approach that incorporates healthy eating, regular physical activity, and behavior changes. Quick fixes or extreme diets are rarely successful in the long term and can be harmful to your health.