What is a Calorie?

What is a Calorie?

What is a Calorie? Why do we need to know what is a calorie? When people think about weight loss, usually the first word that comes to mind is calories. So what is a calorie? Knowing the answer to this question will help you in your quest for weight loss!

What is a Calorie?

What is a Calorie

We hear people talking about calories all the time. However, if you were asked to explain what is a calorie or how many calories you eat and burn every day, you would most probably struggle to give a reasonably answer.

The Definition of a Calorie

A calorie refers to either of two units of heat:

  1. the quantity of heat necessary to raise the temperature of a gram of water one degree centigrade (small calorie)
  2. the quantity of heat necessary to raise the temperature of a kilogram of water one degree centigrade (large calorie)

In plain English, a calorie is a unit of energy supplied by food, which corresponds with a large calorie. A large calorie (kilocalories) is equal to 1000 small calories.

Barnhart, Clarence L. Ed. The World Book Dictionary, (Chicago, Illinois 1973).

The Difference Between Small and Large Calories

What is a Calorie

A small calorie is a tiny amount of energy. A large calorie is 1000 small calories (kilocalaries). When people refer to calories on food packaging and diet plans, they are referring to a large calorie, that is, kilocalories.

The metric equivalent for a calorie is joule. A small calorie equals a joule. A large calorie equals a kilojoule (KJ).

So, when you see calories on food packaging or in diet plans, they are referring to a large calorie.

Now you know what is a calorie when you read a label on a food item or when you read a diet plan.

Eating Calories and Burning Calories

Remember, a calorie is a unit of energy which is released from the food you eat and used to power your body.

When it comes to weight loss, it is important to count the calories you eat and track the calories you burn.

Your body needs calories to function at the most basis level, for example, to breathe, digest food and maintain organs and organ systems.

Also, your body needs calories for exercise and other physical activities.

Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle explains everything you need to know about calories and weight loss.

If you have a weight problem, then you need to understand calories in and calories out.




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