Calories – How Does it work?(Last Updated On: September 17, 2017)
A calorie is a unit of heat that represents the amount of energy you gain from the intake of the respective food; this is a very general definition we all have made.
Technically calorie means the amount of energy it takes to bring 1 gram of water to 1 degree Celsius, but let’s just now focus on the core of calories in terms of fitness.
So, you just bought a fitness tracker and want to know how you can interpret the data it has tracked. Then let’s dive deep in to it.
Every fitness tracker will track calories in one way or the other. Some will track it with the help of heart rate monitors while some will track it without them. At the end of the day they are tracking it and most of them give pretty accurate results.
So now let’s learn every aspect of calories. First let’s see the breakdown of a calorie. Calories come from three main sources – proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Each gram of protein consists 4 calories, each gram of carbohydrate consists 4 calories as well and each gram of fat consists 9 calories. These three sources are macro nutrients which provide us calories most of the time. Micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals do not at all provide us calories.
Source: Veggie Nummum
Our 45% to 65% of the calories come from carbohydrates. We intake carbohydrates mostly from plants and fruits. So you can get carbohydrates from plants like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, eggplant, cabbage, etc. And from fruits like apple, banana, orange, grapes, etc. In short you can gain carbohydrates from almost any fruits and vegetables.
Source: abc News
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Now let’s talk about proteins. Proteins will help you build your muscle mass more efficiently. Experts recommend having around 20-30% protein out of the total meal you eat every day. You can source proteins from a variety of sources like dairy products, wheat, rice, etc.
As far as fat is concerned, you need to take at least 35% fat out of the total meal you intake every day. You can source fat from the following sources:fat
- Oils like Olive oil, Flax oil, Coconut oil, etc.
- Butter, Cheese, etc.
- Nuts like almond, cashews, macadamias, etc.
- Seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Protein bars, baked potato chips, dark chocolate, popcorn, etc.
An active man needs at least 2,500 calories per day and an average woman needs at least 2,000 calories per day according to WebMD.
So till now we have learned, how calories are actually counted and we intake them. So if you are tracking your calories data you may have some number like 2,000 or 1,500. This number will show you how much calories you have burnt during the day. There are some trackers which will also help you to track your food, which will as a result tell you how much calories you have taken that day. So you will know exactly how much calories you have taken that day and how much calories you have burnt that day.
See, till now we say that by eating food we create calories. And by exercising or being in activity we can burn calories. So if you want to lose weight you can put a goal on your device to not take more than 1,500 calories per day. But let’s say you ate a piece of cake and your overall calories mark went all the way up to 1,800. So all you need to do is to exercise 15 minutes to neutralize the effect of cake. In this way fitness trackers will help you to be accountable and eventually achieve your goal to become more healthy and fit.