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# What is a Calorie? A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.

The calories in food are really kilocalories or 1000 calories. When we say that a carbohydrate like sugar has 4 calories per gram, we really mean that it has 4 kilocalories per gram. This means that one gram of sugar has enough energy to raise the temperature of 1000 grams of water by 4 degrees Celsius. The calories in food provide a measure of the energy content of the food. How many calories does your body burn? The number of calories that you need depends on the size of your body and your level of activity. A large person requires more calories than a small person, an active person requires more calories than a sedentary person, and men require more calories than women. The minimum amount of energy required when resting, called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) can be calculated using the Mifflin-St Jeor equations. These equations require the weight in kilograms, the height in centimeters, and the age in years. The BMR has to be multiplied by an activity factor to estimate the daily calorie requirements. The following calculator can provide an estimate of your daily caloric requirement, but it is important to provide a good estimate of your activity. "Sedentary" means that you don't exercise at all. "Lightly active" means that you engage in light exercise or sports 1-3 days per week. "Moderately active" means that you exercise hard at least half an hour per day, five days per week. "Very active" means that you engage in fairly strenuous exercise or sports 6-7 days a week, and "extra active" means that you have a physical job where you are very active throughout the day. Male: BMR = 10weight + 6.25height - 5age + 5 Female: BMR = 10weight + 6.25height - 5age - 161

Calculate Basal Metabolism and Daily Calorie Requirements Enter the information requested, then click the "Calculate" button.

English Units
Height Weight Sex Age Activity
Clear

Metric Units
centimeters kilograms Female years

## feet pounds Male

inches

(1.200) sedentary

## Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): 1334.0

Setting a Target Body Weight Once you have calculated your current calorie requirements, you have to calculate the calorie requirements for the body that you would like to have. Your target weight should be such, that your Body Mass Index falls within the normal range of 18.5 to 24.9. For

## Food scale and Measuring cup

Nutrition Label for Sunflower Seeds Determining the Calories in Food Once you know how many calories you need to achieve your target weight, you have to figure out how many calories are in the food that you eat. The following table shows the calories of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and alcohol. Fiber consists of carbohydrates that are not digestible and can be subtracted from the amount of total carbohydrates. Carbohydrates 4 Calories per gram Proteins Fats Alcohol 4 Calories per gram 9 Calories per gram 7 Calories per gram

Since most foods consist of complex mixtures of the basic food components, you will need to interpretnutrition labels to determine the calories in packaged foods, and you will need five basic tools: Food Scale Measuring Cup List of foods and calories per gram Calculator A journal to record everything that you eat

Establish a baseline: If you are not used to dieting and measuring food, the best way to start is to just eat normally for about one week, but weigh and measure everything that you eat or drink. This will establish a baseline of your normal eating habits and your ad libitum caloric intake. As an example, let us say that you would like to eat some sunflower seeds. The nutrition label says that one serving consists of one ounce or 28 grams, and that the one-pound package has 16 servings. This 28-gram serving has 190 calories. Grab a handful containing all the sunflower seeds that you are going to eat, and before eating a single kernel, weigh them. Suppose that they weigh 30 grams. You know that there are 190 calories in 28 grams, so you calculate:

one handful = 30 grams (190 calories/28 grams) = 204 calories You write this in your journal and then you can enjoy the seeds. Once your diet starts: You will want to know how many grams of food have a specific number of calories. If you want to eat only 100 calories of sunflower seeds, how many grams should you eat? Since you know that 28 grams have 190 calories, you can calculate: weight needed = 100 calories (28 grams/190 calories) = 14.7 grams Round this figure to 15 grams, weigh that amount of seeds, write it in your journal, and enjoy knowing that you are eating only half of your previous calories. You may still feel hungry, but that is life. You have to sacrifice for what you want. You won't starve. The first few days of keeping track of your calories are the hardest because you have to look up the number of calories of each new food. It may seem that you are spending more time writing down what you eat than eating. Don't be discouraged.