Thursday, January 23, 2014

Diet Tip #16: Learn How Many Calories You Should Be Eating Daily

Even if you hate math and numbers you should have a decent working knowledge of calories and how many calories you should be eating.  It's not that hard.  There are calculators galore to help you.

What is a calorie?
A calorie, technically, is 4.18400 joules, you could round it up to 4.19.  In English?  It's the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
As it relates to nutrition, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking and energy usage through physical activity.  Think of it as the amount of energy you get from eating something.

Different types of food have different calorie counts:

  • Fats have nine calories per gram 
  • Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram 
  • Alcohol has seven calories per gram

How many calories should you be eating daily? 
This is different for every person.  It's important to know how many you need so you can plan your eating strategy for the day and week.

Determining how many you need can be a complex formula but there are calculators to help you do it.   Woo-Hoo! Try this one.  It's easy.

For me, I need about 2200 calories per day to maintain my weight.  If you want to lose weight, enter your desired weight in the weight category.  So, if I wanted to lose 10 pounds, I would need about 2100 calories a day to do that.  That's not a big difference.

If I wanted to drop 1-2 pounds per week, I would reduce my calorie consumption by about 500 calories per day.

See?  Easy math!
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