Understanding Caloric Intake
Every food has its own value in producing energy and the unit which measure it is the so-called calorie. In science, calorie is described as the heat required in increasing a gram of water’s temperature to a degree centigrade. In general, there are four main energy source in food which are namely, fat, protein, carbohydrate and alcohol. They give off various amounts of energy during metabolism and burned by the body. Carbohydrates have four calories per gram, protein with also four, alcohol with seven calories and fats have nine calories. The calorie that the food contains largely depends on the whether how much carbohydrate, fat, protein and alcohol they contain. Among these four, fat has the greatest concentration in terms of energy source and can yield twice as much calories per gram as the protein and carbs.
These calories which the food contains, are then transformed to various kind of energy during the metabolic activity inside the body such as electrical for the nerve impulses, mechanical energy used for movement and muscle contraction, chemical energy in metabolism and digestion and heat to maintain the body’s normal temperature.
An important factor that helps in the determination of one’s calorie intake needs is the Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. This is the energy required to balance and regulate the body’s physical functions and the amount of physical activity. The needs for calorie of a certain body can be approximated using the healthy body weight or HBW and the level of a person’s activity. The BMR varies depending on a persons’ age, genetics, sex, height, body composition and activities. An individual’s activity level is just the physical work he/she does for a certain amount of time. Mental works does not entail significant amount of additional energy needs of the body. During studying or other mental activity, the exhaustion being experienced by the body is entirely psychological.
Nevertheless, it is important for every person to maintain a balance of their energy intake and this is done by equalizing the amount of calorie taken up and the amount of calorie used up. Once the energy which is supplied in the form of food is greater than the energy utilized, the spare energy is deposited in a fat termed as glycogen. This fat is stored in the liver and some are stored in different muscle tissues. The capacity of the body to store glycogen is limited and when it is utilized to its maximum capacity, the rest is transformed into fat. This energy source is the one, which the body utilizes when the body receives inadequate food to meet the needs of the body to perform its functions.
Maintaining the balance of calorie in the body is very significant in achieving a healthy weight through giving proper attention in consuming foods which contain enough calories to sustain their body functions and become active physically.
A healthy pattern in eating helps in promoting an individual’s healthy lifestyle and prevent them from getting chronic diseases. It also reduce the risk of getting overweight and obese through consuming lesser calories that a food contains.
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