Friday, December 15, 2006

4.1: Education: What are calories?

I'm now getting back on my roadmap to success with the second installment on education.

Have you ever look at a word that you've been using all of your life and it suddenly seems odd? Calorie was such a word for me. What exactly is a calorie?

Have you ever visited the website I love it. It contains informative articles on most subjects. Click on the following link to read a "HowStuffWorks" article by Julia Layton and learn how calories work.

How Calories Work

A calorie is a unit of measure for energy. A mile measures distance. A fluid ounce measures volume. Calories measure energy. It's easy to visualize a mile or a fluid ounce, but not so easy to visualize a calorie. Energy is abstract. We see the results of energy expenditure - motion, light, boiling water, for example. But we usually don't actually see the energy. Wow, I better stop, now 'energy' is starting to look weird.

I'll spare you anymore physics. The easiest way to view a calorie is to think that it takes about one to two calories to "keep your lights on" in your body each minute. If your in motion or exercising it can consume 5-10 calories per minute.

I'm thankful for the calorie. A lot of diet plans try to invent their own system of monitoring food intake, but why? We already have a pretty darn good system. Calorie information is readily available for almost every food we eat. Once you know how many calories you need to consume it's 2nd grade math to figure out if you're consuming the right amount.

Calorie and macronutrient (i.e. fat, protein and carb) content are the only two pieces of information I really need to monitor my food intake for weight control. I'll write more about the macronutrients down the road.

A friend of mine says that weight loss is simple - just burn more calories than you consume. I agree, that's the essence of weight loss.

No comments: