an introduction to Calorie Counting
by David Bush
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:
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