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What is a Calorie?

Posted by on April 10th, 2012

We hear about calories all the time, how we should watch them and how many we’re supposed to ingest. But do you know what a calorie actually is?

A calorie is the amount of energy is takes to raise the temperature of water 1 degree Celsius. However the calories that we use to talk about the calories in our food are actually kilocalories, which is 1,000 calories. So if a food package says that a food contains 200 calories, they actually mean 200,000 scientific calories, or 200 kilocalories. Imagine counting your daily caloric intake in regular calories instead of kilocalories!

Each type of food contains a different number of kilocalories. Carbohydrates and proteins contain 4 kilocalories per gram, and fats contain 9 kilocalories per gram. Our bodies make use of these kilocalories as energy to help us walk, talk and blink.

In order to lose weight, a person needs to burn more calories than they are consuming, and to gain weight they consume more calories than they burn. The average person uses between 1,200 to 2,500 kilocalories each day just to maintain basic body functions like the beating of the heart.

If you’re interested in finding out how many calories (kilocalories) by different activities, check out this nifty calorie calculator, http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc.

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