Calorie Composition

by Compiled by GymLink ( )

What is a calorie:

A calorie is a unit of measurement for energy. The small calorie or gram calorie (cal) is the
energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 °C. This is about 4.185 J.

The large calorie (C) or kilogram calorie (kcal) is the energy needed to increase the
temperature of 1 kg (appox. 1 litre) of water by 1 °C. This is 4.185 kJ, and exactly 1000 small
calories.

In scientific contexts, the name "calorie" refers strictly to the gram calorie, and the unit has the
symbol cal. The kilogram calorie is known as the "kilocalorie" and has the symbol kcal.

Colloquially, and in nutrition and food labelling, the term "calorie" almost always refers to the
kilogram calorie.

The calories we eat are separated into three different components, Protein, fat and carbohydrates
each with their own particular function or purpose.

CALORIES

Protein: Growth, Maintenance, Repair, Energy.
Fats: Growth, Maintenance, Repair, Energy, Insulation.
Carbohydrates: Energy, Fibre.

The Importance of Vegetables:

Vegetables supply the body with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are also
important for repair, maintenance and growth of the body. Vegetables have a low energy quotient
compared to their volume. They supply various types of fibre and contain 70-80% water.
Vegetables also supply fibre and water which are both required for digestion and the elimination
of waste from the body.

The importance of eating fruit:

Like vegetables, fresh fruit supplies the body with essential minerals and antioxidants which are
also important for repair, maintenance and growth of the body. They supply various types of fibre
and contain up to 90% water. It is recommended to keep low carb/sugar type fruits and eating
only three pieces per day. Fruits also supply fibre and water which are both required for digestion
and the elimination of waste from the body.

The importance of nuts and seeds:

Nuts and seeds can supply the body with essential vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which are
also important for repair, maintenance and growth of the body. They also supply essential fatty
acids which are needed by the body for repair, maintenance and growth. Every living cell has a
lipid 9 fat incorporated into the cell membrane. Fats are important for healthy skin, hair, nervous
system, immune system and the brain is 50 – 60% lipid content.

All fats are not the same. There are saturated, mono-saturated and poly saturated fats. All are
important to the healthy body. Fats are an important source of energy for the body. The heart and
kidneys prefer to use fats as energy over sugars as it can be a more stable energy source. In
fact, fats are the preferred energy source of the body.

EFFECTS OF LOW CALORIE DIETS:

Most fat loss programs involve a reduction in total calories. This may work in the short-term, but
there are many negative side effects. For example:

  • Loss of lean tissue and Reduction of BMR (basal metabolic rate), therefore fat
    gain occurs when normal calorie intake is resumed – hence yoyo dieting.
  • Cutting total calories also means cutting vital nutritional needs for good health
  • Cutting total calories usually results in lack of energy and endurance, therefore
    cutting fat burning activities

    Changing the composition of your body (i.e. decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle) so
    that an increase in the rate of calories burned provides a much more sustainable, logical and
    health method of ‘fat loss.’

    MUSCLE – THE FAT BURNER

    Everyone has what we call a Basal Metabolic Rate – BMR. This is the amount of calories our
    body burns at rest (without activity). The BMR is usually determined predominantly by lean
    muscle weight of the individual. The higher the lean weight, the larger the bodies engine, the
    more fuel it will burn = more calories can be consumed without storing excess body fat.

    By increasing activity you set up a sensible and positive approach to losing body fat:
  • Maintain lean muscle
  • Metabolism increases and remains high
  • Increase activity = increase of muscle use = increase in calorie output per kg
    muscle = increase in total caloric expenditure
  • Increase in Thermic Effect of Food that adds to calorie burning
  • Exercise has been shown to increase metabolic rate, sometime up to hours,
    after exercise is completed.

    Therefore instead of reducing overall calories and ‘dieting’ which can depress the metabolic rate
    by up to 30%, choose smart calories, including vegetables, fruit, lean proteins and essential fats
    to make up your healthy eating plan, and increase your BMR (your bodies engine) for more
    effective and efficient FAT loss.

    WATER

    Dehydration occurs long before you get thirsty. Drinking only when you're thirsty probably
    indicates that you are consistently dehydrated. When the body is dehydrated it starts to shut
    down to prevent further dehydration. You can become sluggish, lethargic, tired, listless, low
    energy, headaches and even nauseated; severe dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and
    even unconsciousness.

    Start the day upon rising by drinking 500ml or water. Follow up with another 2 – 3 litres
    throughout the day.

    The importance of drinking water is often overlooked. Your body is 70% water, and so it should
    be treated that way. Water is essential when dieting or losing weight. It helps you properly utilize all of your nutrients that you consume through food, by helping your body transport the nutrients efficiently into your cells. At the same time it will help eliminate wastes while flushing out toxins, improving your health. Your skin will be more elastic, so as to avoid stretch marks and give you a clear, smooth complexion. Water cushions and protects your joints also, helping in avoiding injury.
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