What are Calories?

When it comes to losing weight you always hear people about calories, but what are calories anyway? A calorie is really nothing else than a unit of measurement that indicates the energy of food. The main components of our food are carbohydrates , proteins and fats . These nutrients are used by the body for energy, which is measured in kilocalories.

energy of food

What are calories?

Carbohydrates and proteins produce the same amount of energy, namely 4 kilocalories per gram. Fat is a more concentrated energy source and delivers more than twice as much energy, 9 calories per gram. Another energy source is alcohol , alcohol contains slightly fewer calories than fats, namely 7 per gram.

Proteins – 4 kcal / gram
Carbohydrates – 4 kcal / gram
Fats – 9 kcal / gram
Alcohol – 7 kcal / gram

Burning calories

The body uses the energy of the calories in two ways. Even at times when you do nothing, the body needs a certain amount of rest energy to breathe, keep digestion going, make the heart beat and perform other bodily functions. This is also called the basal metabolism ( resting metabolism ).

The amount of energy that the body needs for these processes can vary per person and depends on several factors, such as gender, height, age and muscle mass .

As rest energy (basal metabolism) the body consumes an average of 1200 calories per day. The rest of the energy consumption comes from daily activities such as work and sports. People with an active job and who exercise regularly burn more energy every day than people who are less active.

You can increase your resting metabolism by increasing your muscle mass, which is why strength training is particularly suitable. You can eat more without gaining weight. Strength training helps you achieve a lower fat percentage faster .

How many calories do I need?

If you want to lose weight (also called cut in the strength sport ) or want to gain weight (in the strength sport also called bulking ) the number of calories you eat is important. However, the energy you receive does not say anything about the quality of the food.

A march, for example, provides you with a lot of energy, but does not contain any vitamins , minerals or fibers . These are therefore also referred to as ’empty calories’. For example, fibers, which are mainly found in vegetables , fruit , pasta , rice and quinoa , hardly provide any calories, but should form an important part of your daily diet. They give you a feeling of satiety so that you are less likely to grab unhealthy snacks .

If you want to lose weight it is not smart to eat too little. Such a crash diet is a short-term strategy that always produces the unwanted results in the long term. When you don’t get enough calories your body gets energy from (muscle) protein to get enough energy. In addition, your body needs sufficient nutrients to keep important physical processes going.