Calories and Caloric Value

What is "calorie"?

Calorie is a measure of the energy capacity of food. Initially, the calorie counted the amount of heat released from the combustion of fuel( coal, firewood, and so on), and the application of calories to food began in the 20th century, when food was regarded as fuel for the body.

The term "calorie" became widespread in the 1990s, when producers were obliged to indicate the energy value of food on the package. However, the indicated caloric value is only a mathematical calculation - the actual amount of energy that a body will receive may be different.

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Calculation formula for calories

To calculate the calorie content before preparing a dish or food, all its ingredients are carefully weighed. Then, with the help of tables, the composition of each of them in proteins, fats and carbohydrates is determined. After that, the amount of nutrients and the proportion of each portion are calculated.

One gram of proteins and carbohydrates contains 4.1 kcal( in fact, 4 thousand 100 calories), in one gram of fat - 8.8 kcal. To simplify the numbers are rounded. If a portion of food contains 20 g of protein, 25 g of carbohydrates and 10 g of fat, then the caloric value is 20 × 4 + 25 × 4 + 10 × 9 = 270 kcal.

Daily caloric requirement for

For normal functioning, the human body needs to maintain a temperature of about 36.6 ° C.Simplifying, it can be said that by processing food, the body receives heat in calories - or energy for internal heating and providing work on metabolism and metabolism.

If the energy coming from food is not enough, the body will first try to slow the metabolism, making the person more sluggish and sleepy. And if the total caloric intake exceeds the required, then the "extra" calories will be stored in the fat stores.

How to determine the calorie rate?

An average woman, leading a sedentary lifestyle, needs about 2000 kcal per day, an unsportsmanlike man - 2300-2400 kcal;athlete - not less than 2500-2700 kcal. The exact figure of the daily requirement for calories is calculated by a special formula, taking into account the sex, age and weight of a person.

To lose weight, you must first begin to consider the calorie intake of food to understand how many calories you really eat. After that, caloric content decreases, but no more than 15-20%.Otherwise, the body will go on a hunger strike and begin to protect fat.

Learning to count calories

It is important to understand that there is no such thing as "calorie content of a borscht dish" - a rich soup on pork and with a lot of potatoes can be times more caloric than lean with vegetables. The role is played and the size of the plate. As a result, the figure can range from 100 to 500 kcal per serving.

Attempt to count calories from calorie tables of ready meals or to send a photo of food to a special program is nothing more than a joke. The real figure will only be the consumption of products with the caloric content indicated on the packaging and weighing each ingredient on the kitchen scales.

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How to count calories correctly?

First, you need to start looking at the calorie table of the products. Most people do not realize that a liter of cola or a medium-sized pizza contains almost 1000 calories, or half the daily calorie rate. Refusal of such products is the first rule for those who want to lose weight.

Ideally, the size of each serving of food should not exceed 500-700 kcal - this will allow the body to rationally use the energy received for the current needs of metabolism and not send it to fat stores. Breakfast and lunch should be as tight as possible, and dinner - light and without carbohydrates. Calories or food composition?

Secondly, one should pay attention not to the calorie content of individual dishes, but to the composition of the diet in proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The total intake of calories should be the starting point, not the final point of the diet. Carefully study the norms of BJU consumption and try to follow them.

It is impossible to lose weight without giving up carbohydrates with a high glycemic index( sugar, sweet baking) and excessive consumption of animal fats. Even if the daily caloric content of your diet is normal, the processes of normal metabolism will be disturbed and the body will store excess fat.


Calculating the calorie content of the diet is the first step on the way to losing weight. To correctly count calories, you need to weigh each portion of food consumed on the kitchen scales. However, despite this, the composition of products in proteins, fats and carbohydrates is always much more important than their total calorie content.