A Calorie is Just a Calorie, Right? Not Quite.

So what is a calorie?


To put it simply, a calorie is nothing but a measurement of heat (energy) equal to 4.1868 joules. Calories are needed to provide energy so the body functions properly. The number of calories in a food depends on the amount of energy the food provides. The number of calories a person needs depends on age, height, weight, gender, activity levels and health goals.


Unfortunately though its not as simple as eating whatever we like as long as we don't go over our recommended calorie intake for the day. Where our calories come from is what really matters and this is also where all the confusion lies.


Lets take it back to the basics. Think of food as fuel for your body, just like fuel for your car. If you fuel your car with regular unleaded, sure it will still go, but if you fill it will premium fuel, it will enhance its performance and generally increase the life of the engine. Our bodies are just the same, if we consume unhealthy foods, it will keep us going however we will run into all kinds of problems and health issues, reducing the quality and in some cases, the length of our life.


We may not realise it because as humans we have the luxury to eat for flavour and satisfaction rather than purely for survival, however with food being our fuel as we consume and digest food it triggers hormonal responses within our body that control metabolic processes. This includes controlling the amount of fat stored or the amount of fat burned. By eating the right food for our body we have the ability to trigger the favourable hormonal responses, increasing the desired metabolic processes, such as fat burning and reducing the undesired, such as storing fat.


So whilst keeping count of our calorie intake is important when aiming to maintain a sustainable balanced lifestyle, it is the make up of these calories that is most important, especially when trying to reach health and fitness goals.



So what are good calories and where can we get them? Check out the Macros explained page to find out.