What is a Calorie?


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What is a Calorie?
A calorie is the amount or measurement of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree on the Celsius scale.
A calorie is also the unit of measurement of energy produced by food when it is oxidized, or used, in the body. Calories are like fuel for our bodies. We need them for our bodies to run.

So for a woman weighing 120lbs, she would need 1,400 calories during the day to run her body efficiently and any calories above this if not used up will be at risk of being stored as fat. It may store it as muscle, if you perform enough physical, muscle-building exercises such as weightlifting.
We need to know the energy nutrients and their values.
Protein: 1 gram – 4 Calories.
Carbohydrates: 1 gram = 4 Calories.
Fat: 1 gram = 9 Calories.
Alcohol 1 gram = 7 Calories.
You can see clearly from the above why low fat diets are recommended as we get twice the amount of calories from fat.
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What is Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates is our main source of energy and most carbohydrate when broken down convert to sugar. This sugar is then stored in the muscles in the form of glycogen to produce energy when needed.
Remember, no matter how complex the carbohydrate, in its purest form, it is nothing but sugar, which s called glucose.
After you eat this glucose causes insulin to be released. The insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels and stimulates the uptake of glucose into the muscles and liver. Once the muscles are filled with glucose or in is stored form called glycogen, when the glycogen stores are full, the excess has to go somewhere and if you are not using it up with an active life such as walking, exercising strenuously and are just living a sedentary life style, then the extra glucose is converted to body fat and stored for later use.
What is Simple Carbohydrates?

Simple Carbohydrates:
Simple carbohydrates, along with alcohol are absorbed through the lining of the stomach directly into the bloodstream. The reason for this is in the name. They are simple carbohydrates causing the pancreas to secrete a lot of insulin in an attempt to remove this large amount of glucose from the blood and get it into the cells. Our blood sugar level falls quickly and we feel hungry again about two hours later.
These are the first to be converted to body fat when an excess amount is consumed.
What is Complex Carbohydrates?

Complex Carbohydrates:
These are tightly put together and are difficult to breakdown. It takes a little longer, they don’t cause a quick, immediate spike in the insulin levels. Therefore our blood sugar levels rises slowly and is maintained at a moderate level for some hours. This helps to even us out and we don’t get the hunger pangs, experienced like we do with the simple carbohydrates.

Fiber is the most difficult to breakdown. Thus causing the lowest amount of insulin release.
The harder your body has to work to breakdown the food you eat, the more calories you burn in the process.
I don't know where you get these little gems from but what a readable post. I'm going to show hubby this one to help his understanding of all this. :D

Thanks mini *we need a blowing a kiss smilie*
I don't know where you get these little gems from but what a readable post. I'm going to show hubby this one to help his understanding of all this. :D

Thanks mini *we need a blowing a kiss smilie*

Great post Mini.. Thanks:)


Thanks Mandy and Chicken,

I am trying to make it easy to understand without having to plough through loads of stuff.

Love Mini xxx
What is Glycogen?

The body's reserves of sugar are stored in a complex molecule called glycogen.

Glycogen is made of sugar and is therefore a carbohydrate.

A pound of glycogen is worth 1800 Calories deficit in the daily intake can use up a pound of glycogen from storage.

Glycogen is stored with about 4 part of water for each part of glycogen. This means that a pound of glycogen may hold an additional 4 pounds of water.

1800 Calories of Calorie deficit in the food eaten can cause a 5 pound weight loss.

Compare that with the real need for fat loss. The same 1800 Calorie deficit will only use up 1/2 pound of fat.

Glycogen is stored in the liver, muscles and fat cells of the body. The amount we can store can very depending upon what we eat and how much we use our muscles. Glycogen
is used up and replaced as a matter of course all the time. Think of the glycogen stores the way you think of a kitchen jug that contains sugar.

What happens in the first few days on a very low calorie diet?

Recent research suggests that some people store as much as a kilogram of glycogen that can be mobilised in the first few days of using a vlcd. This could mean that such a person could lose almost a stone in weight during the first few days of dieting and not yet have burned any fat.
Importance of reintroducing carbohydrate food in the right sequence!

When you have lost your weight on your vlcd of choice it is crucial to reintroduce gradually carbohydrate foods in the right sequence over a period of days.

This will help the glycogen to return to a normal and modest level without unnecessary weight gain.

Carbohydrate foods include: vegetables, potato, cereal, breads, pasta/rice and fruits.

For those that have had an insulin resistance problem it is well worth looking into the GL Diet. The GL Diet is an extension of the GI Diet.

The GI diet explained how to manage blood glucose levels to help weight loss and encourage long-term good health.

The GL (glycaemic load) is an extension of these principles and measures more accurately the carbohydrate load of food.
Overloading the glycogen stores?

If your doing a vlcd and you have a slip or have come off your diet and you head straight for the cookie jar or fish and chip shop what happens?

It is called carbohydrate loading....Athletes do this...they stop eating carbohydrates to deplete their glycogen stores and then feast on carbohydrates.

This gives them a larger reserve tank of ready fuel for endurance exercises, such as marathon running.

If we eat a lot of carbohydrate food right after dieting we will accomplish the same thing - extra glycogen that we will not burn up in a few hours of exercise; a lot of water that will stay as long as the glycogen.

Or until the next diet or marathon type exercise.

This extra weight on the scales cannot distinguished from fat and you end up feeling very upset over it.

This is why it is so important to reintroduce carbohydrate foods in the right sequence.