A case for calories

The word “calorie”, can be a bit of a trigger. I know whenever my nana says it, it’s coupled with an intensely hushed, fearful tone – a lot like when the Harry Potter lot say “Voldemort”. And, the fact is that poor old calories have got themselves a bad reputation and should really sack their PR person.

What’s in a calorie?

A calorie is a unit of energy supplied by food. To accurately work out how many calories are in something, you need to take the grams of macros that make it up (fat, protein, and carbs) and do the below calculation:

Fat = 9 calories per gram

Carbs = 4 calories per gram

Protein = 4 calories per gram

Let’s face it – that is a massive faff. And I wouldn’t ever recommend going down this route if you want to have time to see your friends, walk your dog, or catch up on Love Island.

The facts

Traditionally, it’s understood that if you consistently eat more calories than you need, you’ll gain weight. Which is, in essence, true. (More about that later – there are a lot of other factors at play there.)

We need calories – a lot of them, every day, to survive. Women need anywhere from 1800-2400, and men need between 2400-3200. The amount needed is unique to each person and is a sliding scale can depend on height, age, weight, activity level, metabolism and health. It’s all about tuning in to yourself, and finding a nutritious diet that supports your body and lifestyle. 

Key word? Nutritious.

Ever noticed how you can dive in to a full bag of crisps, or lose yourself for a minute in a family-size bag of chocolate, and still feel hungry an hour later? That’s bonkers. If what we believe about calories is true – then the amount of calories you just ate should see you through the rest of the day. But, our bodies don’t work like that. They need the good stuff, nourishing, filling calories that will support your body in everything it needs to do. 

Not all calories are created equal.

Example: An apple = 100 calories. A bag of pretzels = 100 calories.

The apple nourishes your body, supports cell function and creates anti-inflammatory reactions.  The pretzels turn to sugar, damage cell function and create inflammation.

The lowest density of calories is in unprocessed plant foods. For example, a lb of broccoli has 130 calories in it, whereas a lb of crisps has 2,400 calories. How crazy is that? But you know that you’d feel so much fuller after the broccoli, because it’s full of fibre, vitamins and nutrients that keep your body happy and functioning well. 

If you want to talk more about all things calorific, and could do with a hand finding the right balance for your ideal weight – give me shout. Your first consultation is free!