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How Many Calories Does It Have?

Calories, weight loss, healthy tips
Do you know what a calories actually is?

We throw the word calorie around a lot but I’m betting a lot of us don’t actual know or understand what it actual is?

Are all calories equal?

Is fat loss just down to calories in calories out?

Diets don’t work!

These are big debates in the nutrition world.

So, what is a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy. More scientifically a calorie is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water from 0 to 1 degree Celsius.

Way to complicated eh!

So, are all calories equal? Well, yes in terms of a measurement. 100 calories of chocolate is the same as 100 calories of broccoli. Just like 1kg of feathers weights the same as 1kg of sugar.

Are all calories equal in how they are broken down in the body? No, they are not. It’s just not that simple.

Let’s start with the thermic effect of food. This means the energy required for digestion, absorption and the disposal of ingested nutrients.

Protein for example has the highest thermic effect of food, 25-30% of the calories of protein are lost as heat when it metabolises in the body. Carbs is only 6-8% and fat 2-3%. This is one reason why higher protein diets are favoured by some for fat loss. However, it’s not such a big difference over the day, some studies have shown that high protein diets boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day. So interesting!

Fibre! We all know what this is but did you know that it is not absorbed in the body? Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that helps us to feel full without contributing to calories because it doesn’t digest. High fibre foods are not fully absorbed, for example it’s said that the energy content of an almond is over estimated by 32%. Great news! Let’s eat more fibre! It will make our gut happier too!

Is fat loss just down to calories in calories out?

In principle yes. This has been proven over and over again in studies. The principle of fat loss is that you need to burn more calories that you take in. The method is the diet choice you make for example if you track macro’s or you do a low carb diet all of which create a calorie deficit.

The other view point is that calories in calories out doesn’t take into consideration hormones imbalances, insulin resistance, PCOS and other health problems. This view point claims that certain diets help with their health condition, let’s say some believe that a low carb diet helps with insulin resistance. Again, all these methods create a calorie deficit.

So, you see, it is about creating that calorie deficit for fat loss and this deficit can vary depending on each individual. Taking into considerations such as activity levels, your energy you burn at rest, the energy you burn by metabolizing food, calories absorbed through your food quality and hormones. They all matter but if you want to lose fat you still need to be burning off more than you consume.

So, do diets work?

Yes, they do if they are creating an energy deficit and you can adhere to that method. You need to find the right method. Why would you do low carb if you love bread? Why would you skip breakfast if you wake up starving and hungry? Why would you stop eating gluten if you are not intolerant or have celiac disease? People tend to set themselves up for failure with extremes. Extremes are not necessary for fat loss.

So yes, calories in calories out is an oversimplification as you need to factor in many variables but the principle for fat loss, weight maintenance or weight gain is scientifically proven.

I hope the takeaway is that we are all very different in what works for one and that the quality of food matters. There is no need for extreme diets that you can’t stick to because they are unrealistic and not sustainable. You just need to find the deficit that works for you and your lifestyle.

I can help with that.

Emma x

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