ABC of Calories

Most often people associate calories with the food that we eat and with drinks while in fact calories apply to anything that is containing energy and also calorie is a component of energy. Four liters or a gallon of gasoline has around 31,000,000 calories.

A regular part of energy used in Physical Science is equivalent to 4,184 joules. The quantity of energy to make 1 gram of water increase its temperature to 1 degree Celsius which is equivalent to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit is specifically only a calorie.

We most often relate calories to anything that we eat or drink like “This can of beer has 200 calories” or “This packet of oatmeal has 160 calories.” Kilocalories this is what we actually find in food packages, 1,000 calories is equal to 1 kilocalorie and sometimes the word shown in capital letters to illustrate the dissimilarity. Regular calories of 200,000 or 200 kilocalories is equivalent to a can of beer that has 200 food calories and 31,000 kilocalories is equivalent to a gallon of gasoline.

For the period of this editorial when we talk about “calorie” we signify “kilocalorie.” Like for example when your fitness trainer tells you that when you jog a mile you burn out 100 calories he also means 100 kilocalories.

What Calories Do

In order for us to do our daily routines like exercise, breathe, move, or for the heart to pump blood we need energy to do all of this and we mostly obtain it from the food we eat and energy helps us mainly to survive.

The potential energy the food possesses can be determined by the amount of calories the food obtains. A gram of protein contains four calories, a gram of carbohydrates contains four calories and a gram of fat contains nine calories and when these 3 building blocks (fat, carbohydrate and protein) are put together they form food. You will know how much energy and proteins a food contains if you are aware of how much fat, carbohydrates and proteins it contains.

A pack of maple-and-brown-sugar oatmeal has 160 calories if you look into the nutritional label. So when we pour the oatmeal into a pan, put the oatmeal on blaze to burn quickly.

This procedure would result to 160 kilocalories which is equivalent to 160 calories and this is sufficient energy to increase the heat of 160 kilograms of water to 1 degree Celsius. For the measurements of the three building blocks, the oatmeal contains 4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and 32 grams of carbohydrates resulting to 162 calories actually manufacturers like to round off. From these 162 calories or kilocalories, 16 come from protein (4 cal x 4g), 18 appear from fat (9 cal x 2g) and 128 are in carbohydrates (4 cal x 32g).

Through metabolic process, human bodies expends the calories in the oatmeal where in the enzymes split the carbohydrates to glucose and other sugars, the fats to glycerol and fatty acids and proteins to amino acids (to have a more detailed discussion about this see How Food Works). The molecules that resulted from this process are then transported into the bloodstream to the cells where it is immersed for instantaneous use or transported to the last phase of metabolism in wherein they are combined to oxygen to discharge their stored energy.

Your Caloric Needs

The thermic effect of food, physical activity and BMR are three important factors needed to calculate how many calories the human body needs within a day, where in most people know about this.

One of the main factors that consume a great amount of energy is the second factor which is the physical activity. The physical activity is composed of almost everything that you do like cleaning or even just bending your fingers. In every movement that you do like jogging, bending or running you burn up calorie but the calories your body expends depends on the weight of your body. There is a table that lists the calories the body burns out in every physical activity and for different body weights.

The first factor, thermic effect of food is the last addition to the amount of calories your body expends. In order for the body to use food energy must break it into its basic elements. This factor is the number of energy the body consumes to digest the food we eat. To arrive to the amount of calories the body expends simply multiply the amount of calories you consume within a day by 10 percent or 0.10. If you need help in determining how much calories you consume within a day, visit the following websites:

  • USDA National Nutrient Database
  • Food Data
  • Mike's Calorie and Fat Gram Chart

The whole amount of calories a body requires within a day is the sum of these three calculations.

Exercise, Calories and Fat

If you take more or less calories than your body expends what do you think would happen? You will either lose or gain fat. The accumulation of extra calories amounting to 3,500 is equivalent to 1 pound of fat where in fat is the body's way of storing energy for rainy or cold days. When your body expends an amount of 3,500 more calories than you consume either by working out more or eating small the 1 pound of fat stored in your body will make up for the shortage.

Your metabolic rate increases when you work out not only while you are puffing and huffing on the treadmill. It will take a while for your metabolism to go back to its normal place. Your metabolism continues to work at a increased level and your body burns an increased amount of calories for almost two hours after you have ceased working out.

Like most people, you must be wondering if it is important where your calories come from. If we are talking about weight and eat exactly the amount of calories that the body expend then the answer is no, it does not matter because a calorie is a calorie. A fat calorie is just the same as protein calorie that is they are only unit of energy. You will retain your weight if your body burns what you eat and you lose weight when your body burns more calories than you eat.

But there is a big difference when we are talking about nutrition because it is important where those calories come from. Healthier sources of calories are from carbohydrates and proteins comparing it to fats. For our body to function properly it needs fats and an adequate amount supply of fat lets our body absorb the vitamins we ingest but an excessive number of fat can cause serious health problems. A limit of 30 percent of our daily calories is needed from fat which is recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If you consume 2,000 calories within a day it is equivalent to 600 calories of fat or 67 grams of fat per day. Of our daily calorie intake, doctors and nutritionists recommend that the limit for the number of fat calories should be 25 percent which is for a 2,000 calorie diet or 56 grams.

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5 Comment(s)

An INCREASE of 1degC IS the equivalent of an INCTREASE 1.8degF. However, a temperature measurement of 1degC is indeed 33.8degF. This article is talking about temperature INCREASES rather than absolute temperature measurements.
By: Tony 10 years ago
1C does NOT equal 1.8F. It is 33.8F. The equation is F= (C x 9/5 (or 1.8)) + 32. So 1 * 1.8= 1.8... 1.8 + 32= 33.8F. You were halfway there, just forgot a step.
By: Kathiryne 10 years ago
1 degree Celsius is NOT equivalent to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, considering 0 C is equal to 32 F. If you used the correct equation for converting degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit, (C x 9/5 (or 1.8)) + 32, then 1 x 1.8= 1.8 + 32= 33.8 F. You were halfway there, just forgot to add.
By: Kathiryne 10 years ago
Thanks to provide the information
By: Nasreen 10 years ago
good and understandable
By: sagar 12 years ago

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