What is a calorie? We know it as a measurement commonly used when discussing food, but what does it represent? Too simplify things; the calorie is a measure of expended energy. When we talk about our diet, calories are assigned from 3 main sources: carbohydrates, fats and protein (our macronutrients). Per gram, carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories, and fat has 9 calories. This is a simple way of showing that these nutrients represent a certain amount of energy our body can use to contract muscles, think, move, maintain organ function, and sustain life. Contrary to popular belief, a calorie is not a physical thing. Instead it is a scalable measurement of the ability to use a physical thing, like the macronutrients, as energy. Needless to say, in the human body energy is important! We require energy to survive, but most importantly in proportion to activity. For every increase in intensity and duration of activity, there is an increase in calories burned, and an increased use of macronutrients for energy. This is applicable to all activities from sleeping to laying to sitting, and walking to jogging to sprinting. In recent years however, the calorie has developed a different reputation.
“Feed your body what it needs”