Facts about calories

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For a very long time now, it has always astounded me as to how most people take the issue of weight loss a tad too seriously. Most teenage girls live their lives dreaming of that perfect hourglass body, and are willing to go through all kinds of diets to achieve their one big fantasy.

Being a teenager myself, I have seen my friends put themselves through stringent diets and multiple exercise regiments at the gym to fit into ‘those super cute cupcake print jeans’ that are only available for waist sizes 26 and 28. Offer them a chocolate ice cream topped with hot chocolate fudge and they throw back a sad look at you followed by the line “No. too many calories.”

While there exists that section of people, the rest of us simply wonder why anyone would want to hold back from indulging in food? After all, we live for that, don’t we? And could a few extra calories really be that bad?

Well, the answer is yes and no. Read the facts below to find out.

1. A Calorie is a unit of energy.
A calorie is scientifically defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.

2. Calories are present in almost all food items.
Calories are mostly present in carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Calories are absent in water, vitamins and minerals.

3. Calories are essential for normal functioning of the human body.
When food is digested in the body, nutrients are released and passed into the bloodstream to be absorbed by all parts of the body. Calories are converted to energy to run the system and excess of calories are stored in the body for future requirements.

4. Most people need about 2000 calories a day.
A normal healthy human requires about 2000 calories a day for normal functioning. Since all food items constitute calories, it is necessary for people to keep a tab on the amount of calorie they take in to prevent and increase in weight.

5. We generally burn more calories than we take.
Food is necessary for life and to stay healthy and fit. Most of the food we eat is burnt to energy to drive the body systems help function properly. This is however possible only if the right amount of food required is taken at right times. Over eating and irregular food habits can lead to an increase in fat and hence weight.

6. You gain weight if you take in more calories than required.
Excess calories are stored as fat in the body. The energy not used by the body is converted to triglycerides, which are the chemical form of fat in the body. This may also depend on the normal metabolism rate, which differs from person to person.

7. You lose weight if you take lesser calories than required.
When there is lesser intake of calories, the energy produced in the body correspondingly decreases. To meet the normal energy requirements of the body, the excess calories stored as fat in the body are burnt. This consequently leads to weight loss.

8. 1 pound of body fat has 3500 calories.

9. When girls reach puberty, they need more calories than usual.
During puberty, the body starts growing rapidly increasing the need for energy and hence calorie intake. Boys require about 3000 calories per day.

10. Physical activities help burn a lot of calories.
Physical activities require a lot of energy that are obtained by burning calories. Physical activity alone helps burn roughly 100 calories per hour in comparison to 40-50 calories burnt per hour while sleeping.

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