Calories, do you really understand its meaning? Most people still do not know what a calorie is. When asked about its meaning, most people would link it to dieting. However there is far more to calories than just a word that is linked to weight loss.
Ok…here goes… “calorie is a unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree at one atmosphere pressure; used by nutritionists to characterize the energy-producing potential in food.” This is how it is defined as per Wikipedia. What they do not tell you is that there are different types of calories.
The main types of calories include: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. All of them burn when used in the body and then turn into heat energy, which is generally called calories.
Each type of calorie varies in terms of chemical and physical properties. Here are the essential things that you need to know about each calorie type.
Getting To Know The Feared Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the most common type of calorie. It is found on foods that are rich on starch and sugar. Most of them can be taken from plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, and grains. Legumes, such as lentils, beans, and peas, are also rich with carbs. However, dairy products would be the only foods that come from animals which have a lot of carb content.
Typically carbohydrates are classified into two subdivisions: simple and complex
Simple carbs are normally sugars, such as glucose and fructose, which come from fruits and vegetables. Another type would be lactose, which comes from milk. Last would be sucrose, which comes from cane sugar. (Rule of thumb is any thing that ends in “ose” is a type of sugar.)
Everyday use sugar is pure sucrose. Most of the simple carbs that you eat are sugars are mixed with processed foods such as cookies, sodas etc. These add-ons are the major reason why sugar accounts for 16% to 18% of total calories that are consumed by Americans according to most health surveys.
The complex types are chains of simple carbs, which primarily consist of starches along with fiber, which can be found in all foods that come from plants. However, plants store carbohydrates in the form of starch. Foods that have high complex carbs would include grains and products that come from it like bread and pasta. Additionally, potatoes, beans, corn, and other vegetables are also high in complex carbs.
Since carbohydrates seem to be the most popular type of calorie, proteins on the other hand seem to be the most over shadowed in comparison with the fame of fats and carbs. However, it is an important kind of calorie that you’ll need to develop body muscle.
Proteins have about 4 kilocalories per gram. Majority of this kind of calorie can not be naturally produced by the human body and must originate from dietary sources. The main sources of protein include: eggs, nuts, meats, legumes, grains, dairy products. (And yes some of these are also those nasty carb carriers.)
According to recent studies, men between ages 19 to 70 should consume 56g of protein everyday in order to avoid deficiency. On the other hand, women within the same age range should get at least 46g/day. Those people, such as certain athletes consume more protein then average in order to increase muscle mass.
Fats,would probably be the most unwanted kind of calorie by many. However, it still plays an important role in the normal function of the body. The body cannot absorb Vitamins A, E, D and K if not for it. They play an important role in the maintenance of healthy hair and skin. Protection is another function, since they protect various organs from shock. They are insulators, which is very important especially for people that live in colder climates.
Animals and plants both contain types of fats. Types of animal fats would include lard, butter and fish oil, while plant fats would include soy beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olives, coconuts, sesames, and vegetable and seed oils.
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on Mar 15 2011. Filed under .
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