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Calories in Food:
What Exactly Are Calories?

You hear about them all the time, we eat them, cut them and burn them, but what exactly is a calorie and what do you do with it?

In simple terms, a calorie is a unit that measures energy, originally from the Latin word calor, which, directly translated, means heat. Therefore a calorie is the amount of heat that is required to raise the temperature of one liter of water, one degree Centigrade and create energy.


All the food we eat contains calories

You body needs energy to function, just like your car needs fuel to get moving on the road. The food we eat can be thought of as our body's "fuel". The foods we eat contain calories, which are broken down into energy by the metabolic system. Unfortunately that's where our similarities with our cars end. If you overfill a car, the fuel will simply flow over. With human bodies however, an over-consumption of calories and consuming more than we need and more than we use, gets stored as fat within the body.

Calories and the energy they provide are required for daily functioning. Our brain, organs and nervous system all need energy to operate. So, without food, calories or energy we would simply not be able to perform. It is also important to note that exercise burns calories and the more active you are the more calories your body will require.

Some interesting facts on calories. . .
  • Did you know that one piece of cherry flavoured cheesecake can burn a sixty-watt light bulb for one and a half hours? That's how powerful its heat generating ability is.
  • There are 9 calories per gram of fat.
  • There are 7 calories per gram of alcohol.
  • There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate (potatoes, rice and starches as well as fruit and vegetables).
  • There are 4 calories per gram of protein (animal products such as meat and dairy as well as soya products).

Author: Dimi Ingle.
Copyright: Remedium. This article may not be copied, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Remedium.

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