The fundamental unit of energy is called Calorie. There are different sources from where you can get the calories.
In nutrition, the food and drinks we consume provides us the calories, which convert into energy. This further helps the body to perform various physical activities.
Basically, the calories we consume acts as the fuel for our body to work.
Proteins, carbohydrates and fats that we get from our food are a prominent source of calories. It is very essential for us to live and function properly.
What is a calorie?
Calorie is a unit of measurement for the amount of heat that is needed to burn exactly 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius, also referred as small calories.
Whereas, the big calories or kilo-calories are the calories that we get from the food we consume. The kilo-calories simply mean 1000 of the small calories i.e. 1 kcal or 1 Kilocalorie equals to 1000 cals.
Calories content that we find on foods refers to the kilocalories they have. They are otherwise also known as “food calories” or only “calories”, which resembles the energy in the food.
Consumption of calories is very important for the life of an individual. It supplies the body with the energy to sustain life. The food that we consume is broken down into energy, which the body uses or stores for using it later.
Factors of Calorie Consumption
On an average an individual consumes around 1800-2500 calories daily to comply with its daily calorie needs.
The calorie intake does differ based on several factors:
- Gender: The calorie consumption of an individual differs based on whether it’s an adult male (on avg 2700 cal per day) or an adult female (on avg 2200 cal per day).
- Metabolic activity: Difference in metabolism also influences the calorie consumption. Person with high metabolism i.e. burns more quickly, is likely to have a higher calorie consumption compared to the ones with a slow metabolism.
- Lifestyle: The kind of lifestyle an individual lives also becomes an important factor in calculating the amount of calorie it consumes.
Additionally, there are other factors too that influences the daily calorie intake. Factors shall include physical activity, overall health, weight, body shape, etc.
What is Calorie deficit or Calorie surplus?
Dietitians often recommend people to increase or decrease their calorie consumption to gain weight or lose weight respectively.
Calorie Deficit- It is a state where there is a shortage of calories consumed than what the body actually needs.
Calorie deficit is often proposed to individuals that are looking to lose weight. It can be achieved simply by reducing their daily calorie consumption.
Calorie Surplus- It is the state where there is abundant calories consumed than what the body actually burns daily.
Calorie surplus is recommended when the individual is looking to gain weight. It can be done simply by increasing the daily calorie consumption.
Calories to consume for Weight gain
Now, ifyou want to gain weight it is essential that you increase your daily calorie intake.
If your current calorie consumption is not helping you to gain weight. Either you are consuming fewer calories than what your body actually needs or burning more calories than what you consume.
In order to gain weight, getting into the calorie surplus state becomes very essential. For an instance, if you are current calorie consumption is around 1800cals daily, then in order to gain weight the calorie intake will have to be increased.
According to an extensive research, it is found that by increasing the daily calorie consumption by 500cals (which is 3500cals per week); you can increase your weight by 1 pound after a week.
The basic calculation is, if you consume 1800cals daily, increase it by 500cals. This shall enable you to increase your weight by 1 pound per week.
Keep in mind that the food sources you choose to get the calories play a very important role. It has to come from sources that also impact your overall health positively. Along with providing you with the desired calories, it should also help in getting the essential nutrients and vitamins.
Food and Calorie Content
Every individual needs calories in order to stay alive. If the cells in our body do not get the desired energy, they will not be able to perform specific tasks, such as protein synthesis, reproduction of cells, etc.
The food or drinks we consume is broken down or absorbed in our body to release energy, which is then used by the body during different activities.
It is advised to people to only consume the amount of calories that their body needs. Increasing or decreasing the amount of calories than what you actually need, might gradually lead to health problems.
All foods contain varying amount of calories, which tells us the potential energy they have. However, you must not consume foods simply based on their calorie content. There are other essential macronutrients that have to be considered too, which are proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
According to studies it is found that:
- 1gm of proteins contains 1kcal.
- 1gm of carbohydrate contains 1kcal.
- 1gm of fat contains approximately 9kcal.
Having this analysis shall help you to calculate the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats you need to consume daily. Hence, it shall also ensure you get your daily desired calories.
Food sources to obtain calories
Even though calorie consumption is important, it becomes very necessary to pay close attention on the sources that you get it from.
Obtaining calories is not simply focused on the quantity of the calories. The quality of the calories too becomes very important. There are several foods that provide you with the same amount of calories. But, just because they have the same calorie content, it doesn’t mean they offer you with same benefits.
For an instance, if the daily calorie consumption is 2000 cal and you get those from the food having high-fat content. It will surely help you to get the desired calories, but it shall also lead to various health concerns. Not only this prevents you from maintaining the balance of nutrients and getting potential benefits, but also increases the risks of various health diseases.
Thus, it becomes important that the foods that you choose to gain the desired calories, should include varying amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
For example, half liter of aerated soft drinks gives approx. 200 calories; drinking 5 cokes daily shall help you to cover your calorie intake by 1000 cals. This shall complete your daily calorie diet, but it shall have no positive effects on your body. Being precise, you do not get any nutrition or vitamins from it.
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