Although nutrition and calorie tracking is a science, people should be aware of the basic understanding of nutrition especially if you goals oriented around weight loss, weight gain, or even bettering your health. No, not all calories are created equal. In fact foods are broken down into macronutrients which consist of FATS, CARBOHYDRATES, and PROTEINS and they contain different amounts of energy or “calories” per unit.
What is a calorie? A calorie is the amount of energy to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by one degree Celsius. So what does that mean in terms of nutrition? Food is energy. Food is what we use to breakdown for energy in order to survive daily tasks. Depending on the person, a typical person can last up to 3 weeks without food. (Ghandi lasted 21 days without food). Living without food can hinder our performance, cognitive function, and everyday tasks.
Each macronutrient works differently in the body.
Fats-Required for absorption of fat soluble vitamins, energy, healthy skin and hair, cholesterol. Calorie dense; in fact 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories.
Carbohydrates-Provides the body with glucose as to give energy to the cells for daily function. Believe it or not, glucose is one of the few things that can cross the blood/brain barrier to feed the brain for normal brain function. Replenishes glucose lost during high intense exercise. 1 gram is equal to 4 calories.
Protein-Building blocks of life. Breaks down to amino acids to help repair and make new cells, build bones, and is important for growth. Same as carbohydrates, 1 gram is equivalent to 4 calories.
Understanding the basics of nutrition will help you make more conscious efforts in the foods that you take in when you have goals that are fitness related. Don’t follow all of these fads and diet trends but be knowledgeable about nutrition as a whole on how it affects the body as a whole.