Calorie Counting
an introduction to Calorie Counting
by David Bush
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Energy for Life
Your body runs off of energy, and you need energy to live. Energy is used whenever you walk, talk, or in fact, even just sit on the couch—it all uses energy!

You get your energy from eating food. The energy in food is made up of three different nutrients: carbohydrates (also abbreviated as carbs), proteins, and fat.

Here are some examples of foods containing each of these three main nutrients:

       Carbohydrates: Rice, noodles, bread
       Protein: Beef, chicken, pork, beans
       Fat: Oil, Butter

Also, most foods today are some combination of these three—for instance, beef is not pure protein; it also contains some fat. Bread is not made up only of carbohydrates, it also contains some fat.

A Primer on Calories
The unit of measuring energy for the body is called calories. You might also hear the term ‘kilo-calories’, but in common usage, that is the same thing.

You can determine how many calories are in food by determining how much of the three nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) is in the food. Each of these has the following number of calories:

  • 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories
  • 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates equals 4 calories

    a TV dinner might contain 20 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrates, and 5 grams protein

    To calculate this out:

            20 grams fat = 20 times 9= 180 calories
            32 grams carbs= 32 times 4= 128 calories
            5 grams protein = 5 times 4= 20 calories
            Total: 328 calories

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