What is a Kcal anyway?
I’m sure that you have heard about calories in one of your basic biology classes. Kilocalories, referred to as a Kcal, is a way to measure how much energy is in the foods that you eat. The less energy there is in the food, the smaller the Kcal rating (one example would be celery,) and the higher the energy level of the food, the higher the Kcal rating will be (an example would be a cheeseburger.) For the average person, the term calorie is used in place of the Kcal term. However, there are differences between the two terms.
What is the difference between Kilocalories and calories?
Ask a scientist or a kid studying for an exam, and they will tell you that a calorie refers to the amount of energy it takes to increase the temperature one degree Celcius in one gram of water. Kilocalories have enough energy cause a kilogram of energy to increase by one degree Celcius. In this terminology, keep in mind that a kilogram of water contains 1,000 grams while kilocalories contains 1,000 real calories each.
Let’s talk about your metabolism.
All of the food and drink that you ingest are broken down by your body and turned into energy (aka calories) and that energy is used to keep your body moving and working. This includes energy to move around, but also to keep all of your internal functions going. This is what we call your metabolism. This process continues all day and all night so that active or inactive, your body is using that energy from your diet to keep you going. What you will find is that the more active you are, the more calories and kilocalories you will burn. This is also dependent on your age, muscles, and gender. When you are exercising on something like a Keiser M3i spin bike, you do not burn nearly as much as you do just living.
All the kinds of calories (there’s only one kind)
The idea that there are different calories is a bit misleading. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from. The amount of energy in the calorie is still the same. The real difference comes from the calorie content of the food that you are eating. You can choose fats which have around 9 calories per gram. On the other side, proteins and carbohydrates contain under half of that amount per gram.
What can you do with this information?
Now that you have an idea of how calories work and how they interact with your metabolism, you can start to look at how you choose your foods in order to have a healthier metabolism and improve your health and life. One thing you need to watch is your caloric intake compared to a number of calories your body will need for your metabolism. Having a higher intake of calories than you need will lead to weight gain and a lower intake of calories for your metabolic need will result in weight loss. Keep an eye on those fats since they cause the largest intake of calories per gram and can cause trouble.