All you Need to Know about Calories

November 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured Weight Loss Articles

Quite a lot of people do calorie counting without actually knowing what calories are. They are not a component of fat or any type of food; they are a unit of measurement. Science defines calorie as the energy required to increase the temperature of water by a degree. Calories are found in fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Fats contain twice the amount of calories as proteins or carbohydrates.

Calories are basic components and give us the energy to carry out our daily functions. This also includes the functions of the organs like digestive, circulatory, excretory functions etc. However, beyond the optimum level, caloric intake is turned into fat and stored by the body. An optimum level of fat is good and essential by the body. However, more than that will lead to the person gaining weight.

Your caloric intake per day depends on many factors like age, sex, kind of work, general lifestyle etc. For an adult leading a more or less sedentary life with moderate exercise, 2000 calories are required to maintain the weight. For individuals wanting to lose weight, 1500 calories per day are recommended. However, these are general recommendations and may vary according to the factors given above. You should get in touch with a qualified nutritionist in order to get an accurate figure.

3500 calories make a pound. Therefore, that is the number of calories you have to burn in order to lose one pound of weight. You can burn calories by exercising, as well as consuming foods that create a fat burning atmosphere in your body (example: green tea, yoghurt etc.). If you are exercising, you will birn calories. But with that, you need to consume lesser calories in order to create a deficit, so that you lose weight.

However, you should not cut down your calories to less than 1200 per day, unless under medical supervision. This can put your body in storage or starvation mode. That is, it might react as if there is a famine condition, and hold on to each last calorie of fat. This can lead to weight loss plateaus and hinder weight loss. In order to avoid this, have a nutritious and balanced diet and do not starve yourself. Along with that, exercise for an hour or so daily. Keep changing your exercises, repetitions or durations in order to challenge your body and lose fat.

Some people claim that they do lose weight by reducing caloric intake to less than 1200 per day or by fasting. But here, along with fat you are losing important muscle tissue. In addition to that, you will feel hungry all the time, which will have emotional and psychological implications. For example, irritability, lack of concentration etc. Another aspect of it is that it is practically impossible to stick to such a diet for a long time. Jumping from one diet plan to another will also lead to gain of weight due to fluctuation.

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