Wednesday, 13 November 2013 01:35

What Is A Calorie?

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What is a Calorie?





With obesity and weight related issues amongst our youth consuming societies thoughts, calories are the new talking point especially in their relationship with weight and energy consumption.



What is a Calorie?



In simple terms a calorie is a measurement of energy. When your body consumes a food item that has 100 calories, you are effectively eating 100 calories of energy that your body can use to perform its daily activities.


Calories have a direct correlation with weight. If you eat too many calories in day where your body is unable to use and process those calories you will begin to put on weight. Alternatively, if you eat fewer calories then what your body requires on a daily basis then you will lose weight.


Most of the foods you eat contain calories. Some foods however have more or less calories than other foods. For example, a cup of lettuce that you use in a salad has less than 10 calories per cup. On the other hand, a cup of vegetable oil contains 1927 calories.


Most food items that you purchase from your local supermarket or shop will have a food label that explains the nutritional content of that item. The food label will usually display the nutritional information for proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibre, sodium, sugar and vitamin and mineral levels.


When you are reading the food label it is important to be mindful of the calorie content of each nutritional item based on 1 gram of the food you are going to eat.


  • carbohydrate - 4 calories
  • protein - 4 calories
  • fat - 9 calories
  • sugar – 3.87 calories

Once you know how many grams of each nutrient is in the food you are eating you can then calculate the total calories. For example, if a serving of ice cream has 10 grams of fat, 90 calories are from fat. That's 10 grams x 9 calories per gram.



How many Calories should I be eating per day?



Firstly it is important to understand that calorie intake per day is dependent on a range of factors including age, your physical activity level, whether you are a boy or girl and how much muscle mass your body has. To get an accurate assessment of how many calories you should be eating per day, download the Smash! Fit for Kids app from Android, Apple, Windows and Blackberry stores. You can download it for free from


There are however, some recommended ranges that children can follow as a guide which are 1,600 – 2,200 calories per day. Remember this is only guide and should not be taken literally as the correct amount.

Lastly, calorie intake is something that will change quite regularly as your body grows and develops. You body does have its own internal regulation system that monitors how many calories you need to eat. There are instances where children need to consume a certain amount of calories. For example, a child who has Cystic Fibrosis will need to eat high-calorie foods because their bodies have trouble absorbing the nutrients and energy from the food they eat.

If you happen to eat too many calories on a daily basis then the body will convert those calories into fat deposits. Eating too many calories everyday can lead to health problems in the future like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Exercising, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and playing outside or with friends are really important; as being active helps to burn calories and ensure that those calories are not converted to fat.

Read 4105 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 01:37

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