What Are Calories?

And do you need to count them to lose weight?

Healthy selfishness forces us to constantly monitor our appearance and meet imaginary beauty standards. Instagram bloggers run marathons against sugar, self-proclaimed nutritionists offer calorie deficit menus for instant results, and various apps alert you when you exceed your daily kilojoules. At the same time, few people think about what calories are and whether you need to closely monitor their amount in order to lose weight. Femme4 answers questions about calories, quantity and quality.

What is it?

We know from a physics textbook that calories are the amount of heat that can heat one gram of water per degree Celsius at standard atmospheric pressure. The average person is rarely interested in how much heat his body absorbs, and the calories themselves did not enter our lives in order to surround us with warmth. Calories in 1990 became part of the US government’s idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlabeling, requiring manufacturers to write the calorie content of foods and their composition on all packages to combat the problem of excess weight in the country. Much later, in 2008, New York restaurants began to indicate the energy value of dishes on the menu, and a few years later, in the wake of the popularity of the healthy lifestyle movement, people began to carefully calculate the calorie content of their diet and avoid certain foods. In fact, calories have lost their original value and have become the worst enemy of all losing weight.

Why shouldn’t you count calories?

There are several formulas for calculating your daily calorie intake. But all these calculations and close monitoring of the number of calories does not guarantee that you will actively lose weight. This system does not take into account the energy consumption for digestion: the digestion of different foods uses different amounts of calories. Simply put, we gain weight not from the number of calories, but from what exactly we eat. 300 kcal of avocado is not the same as 300 kcal of chocolate.

There is also confirmed evidence that different components spend different amounts of calories for digestion. Fat is absorbed the fastest, then carbohydrates, and proteins worst of all. The higher the proportion of protein in the food, the higher the cost of digestion. A 1987 study found that people who ate a diet high in fat gained the same weight gain as those who ate almost five times the calories, but in the form of carbohydrates.

Another argument in favor of avoiding useless calculations: it is not only the chemical composition of the product that matters, but also its physical condition. The cost of digesting raw food is much higher than the cost of boiled or fried food.

When do calories matter?

Now the shelves of shops are bursting with the abundance of food, and the central streets of the city are filled with cafes and restaurants, so it is not so easy to control yourself. And if intuitive eating is synonymous with superpowers for you, then calculating calories will help you keep yourself in control. But if you really care about what you eat, then you should be more attentive to the choice of foods, and not to their energy value.