Calorie is a term that most of the dieticians and weight obsessed people use daily. Essentially it is used to denote energy. The word is derived from Latin word ‘calor’ meaning ‘heat’. A calorie is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere. 1000 calories make a Kilocalorie (kcal), which is often called food calorie.
In the field of dieting, the types of calories are often given great importance. There are many arguments going on regarding this subject. Many doctors advocate the policy ‘a calorie is a calorie’ or ‘all calories are equal’. It means that the calorific amount matters rather than the type of food that they come from. But many of the modern researchers or dieticians opine otherwise. According to them, there are two types of calories. The first one is Full calories. These are the calories that give you the most energy and are easily metabolized. The major sources of this type are whole grain foods, vegetables, fruits, brown rice and whole grain breads. The second type is Empty calories, which give you a short burst of energy but don’t have the capability to sustain you and are not easily metabolized. They provide no nutrients but make you gain weight. Fast food, white rice, white flour, chips, chocolate and ice cream all are rich in empty calories.
Another type of classification of calories is according to their sources. In this regard, there are three types of calories; those from Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat. The energy from these three sources is necessary for us. But all three sources give us different amount of energy. One gram of fat gives us 9 kcal of energy while the same amount of carbohydrate and protein give 4 each.
They also differ in terms of nutrients. The fat calories have not much of nutrients while they are full of energy. However, carbs are quick fuel and give the energy for metabolic activities. Energy from protein is required for muscle development. Each performs unique roles in the body functions.
Our body uses the calories also differently. If you are doing any physical activity, the carbohydrate calories are first used. This is because carb calories in the body are instantly accessible. Then come fats. These two are broken down easily. If calories from both can keep up with the physical activity, then the calories from protein are used.
So, for better body functions and a healthier life, you have to consume the right amount of calories from right sources. A balanced diet is the way for a better life.
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