Understanding Calories

When on the subject of weight loss, a topic that usually comes up with it is calories, yet they are misunderstood.

Many people will debate whether or not counting calories is effective or necessary when it comes to weight loss. 

Read on to learn more about the function of calories and what their role is when it comes to weight loss. 

What Is A Calorie?

Calories are a unit of heat or energy. They are a measure of the food that fuels our bodies, and they are used to calculate the amount of nutritional energy in a particular food.

Our bodies use calories to do many different tasks that require us to function properly. 

Everything from exerting any type of energy such as walking, breathing, blood circulation, body temperature regulation, and more involve calories to a certain degree.

We need calories in certain amounts to live a normal, active, and healthy lifestyle. 

This is also known as our basal metabolic rate (BMR). 

Our BMR score will be different from person to person because it considers your gender, age, muscle mass, the number of hours they generally sleep each night, and genetics.

There are two ways to determine the number of calories your body needs: use a calorie counter or use a basal metabolic rate calculator. 

For many people who want to lose weight, using a calorie counter is more appropriate since it’s easier for them to track their food intake.

If you’re more physical, then you’ll need more calories to sustain your active lifestyle. 

However, if you’re more sedentary, you won’t need as many calories as the physical person because you aren’t exerting the same energy.

The Breakdown Of Protein, Carbohydrates, And Fat

Protein, carbs, and fat are three primary macronutrients and the main building blocks of our diets. 

All three are essential for a healthy diet, but they play different roles in sustaining our bodies and need to be consumed in different ratios. 

Each of the three macros has a specific number of calories per gram:

  • Carbohydrates have four calories/gram
  • Protein has four calories/gram
  • Fat contains nine calories/gram

Although fat has more calories per gram, a calorie is not a measurement of fat. 

A calorie is the measurement of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. 

So regardless of which food you eat, you need to eat less than what your body burns to lose weight.

Fat does have more than twice the calories as protein and carbs but keeps you fuller for longer.

Protein is mostly used to build muscle, maintain muscle tissue, and repair body tissues. 

The energy that your muscles need to perform the daily living tasks is generated by a process called cellular respiration, which is made up of different stages that burn calories.

Carbohydrates are mostly used in the body to store and release energy. With the help of caloric intake, the body can use carbohydrates for fuel while maintaining homeostasis. 

Ketosis will occur when carbohydrate intake is inadequate or through periods of fasting.

Foods contain a combination of these macronutrients in different amounts, so it’s important to know how many calories you need to eat each day and how it will affect your weight.

Nutritionists and dietitians recommend the average adult consumes around 2000 calories a day, but different people need different amounts. 

The number can be higher or lower depending on your age, gender, physical activity level, and any medical conditions you may have.

How Calories Really Work

At its most basic level, if you consume more calories than your body can burn, then the extra calories will go right to your stored fat.

You’ll lose weight if you take in fewer calories than your body burns. 

Even though it’s simple to understand this concept, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. 

By keeping track of the number of calories you consume day-to-day, you’ll get an idea of how much you need to lose weight if that’s your goal.

It also turns out that hormones have a lot to do with how much weight you lose. They can influence your appetite, let you know when you’re full, and either burn or store fat.

By utilizing a high-fat, low-carb diet like keto, studies show that it will trigger hormones that lead to a naturally reduced calorie intake for those who have insulin resistance or are overweight. (1)

For example, a study examined overweight people and gave them either a bagel or eggs for breakfast.

The breakfast itself had the same amount of calories, but the ones who ate the eggs were more likely to be fuller for longer and consumed fewer calories during lunch. (2)

Calories have a place in a solid weight loss program, but they also should be considered with the natural hormone production of the human body and what it works the best with.

Should You Count Calories On Keto?

Yes, we recommend counting calories because the number of calories you consume each day will affect your weight. 

If you have a specific goal, such as losing weight, then you need to track how many calories your body is using and how many it’s taking in to do that effectively. 

By properly tracking your calorie intake and output, you will be able to reach your body goals.

As you begin to track your intake and output, you’ll better understand how different foods affect your body.

For example, you might find that some foods cause you to gain weight, whereas others help you lose it.

When you properly track your calorie intake, you will find out whether it’s worth exercising to lose weight. 

Many people think that they must exercise for weight loss, but the truth is that you can lose weight without even doing any exercise at all.

Tracking your calories will help you decide how many calories you need to eat each day and how much exercise you should do to reach your ideal weight.

A ketogenic diet will release hormones that can suppress your appetite because a diet higher in fat will be more filling.

Make all the calories you eat count with high-fat meals to enter into ketosis and stay in a fat-burning state for longer periods. 

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