Calories – Friend or Foe?

What is a calorie? Most would believe that it is the King of the nutrition world where you should bow down to its almighty power. You respect the calorie but also fear it at the same time.

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy. A food calorie refers to a kilocalorie, or 1000 cal. That is, 1 food cal equals 1 kcal, or the amount of energy needed to raise 1 kg water 1°C [1]. I will say it again, it is a unit of energy and that is all. Do you feel the same when thinking about ‘Watts’ or ‘Volts’?

There is an obsession today that is focused around calories and food that is, in general, having a negative impact.

When talking about foods, what is one of the first questions to be asked? How many calories does it have? It is great to have an understanding of nutrition, don’t let it dictate what you do.

People are almost afraid of food due to the thought of what it might do to them.

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy.

Your friends are going out for dinner and they ask you to join them. What would you do?

  • Decline their offer and instead choose to stay at home
  • Go out but have very little to eat with the fear of the extra calories
  • Go out and enjoy yourself

Say you are looking to consume 2000 calories a day to maintain your current weight. You have 300 calories for breakfast, 200 calories as a snack, 400 calories for lunch and another 100 calories as a snack leaving1000 calories for the rest of the day. If you were to go out for dinner and consume 800kcals and nothing else until the next day, what would this mean? Weight loss. You are in a calorie deficit by 200 calories.

The above shows you that you are still able to maintain/lose weight while enjoying yourself at the same time. Try not to look at food and automatically think ‘calories’, look at the food for what it is. Make your decisions based on if you like to eat the food or not rather than making the decision based on the calorie content.

Remember – foods that are high in calories will not make you gain weight, over consuming calories will.

Be accountable for your food choices allowing you to eat the foods you like and want to eat.

More importantly, ENJOY your food!

Any questions – email stuart@smtrainingandnutrition.com

 

 

 

 

References

1.    Andrea C Buchholz and Dale A Schoeller. Is a calorie a calorie? American Society for Clinical Nutrition. 2004

 

 

 

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