Calories are a mystery to many of us. Most of us do not understand how calories affect our bodies. So lets break it down, what are calories? How many calories should we eat in a day? Here are the simple facts about calories.
Calories are units of energy. Plain and simple. We normally only associate calories with food, but calories can apply to anything containing energy. For example, 4 liters (about a gallon) of gasoline contains approximately 31,000,000 calories. Again, calories are units of energy. For this article we will be talking about calories from food.
How do calories affect your body? We need energy to survive and we get our energy from calories in food. Our bodies need energy to move, pump blood and to breathe. Calories are necessary for your body to function. The number of calories in food is measured by how much energy is in that food.
Calorie break down;
1gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1gram of protein = 4 calories
1gram of fat = 9 calories
Most foods we eat contain these 3 building blocks. If you know how many carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are in any given food (or meal) you can add up how many calories or units of energy you will be consuming. Some might think this is a lot of work to do for every food or meal they eat. Over time it will become less work because you will start to familiarize yourself with the calories in the foods you eat on a regular basics.
How do we know how many calories we can have a day? Well this question is a bit more complex since everyone is different. Most nutritional food labels say they are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. What most people do not understand is that this is a very rough estimate as to how many calories they might eat in a day.
If you think about it, your metabolism is like an engine running in your body. There's actually certain foods that you can consume that will rev the metabolic engine going on in every cell in your body. Many of you who had started diets to lose weight, started by cutting back on the calories you were eating, and found that your metabolism actually slowed down. One way to help prevent this from happening is to break your usual three-meals per day into 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day, or use small snacks throughout the day that will help keep your body fueled, and your metabolism revving. Make sure that you start your day with a small healthy breakfast, to jump-start your metabolic engine for the day.
What Are Some Foods To Speed Metabolism?
One thing that you want to focus on when you're trying to lose weight, are foods with high nutritional value, and these are usually also higher in fiber. A good mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack would be things like almonds and other nuts, or a trail mix, or a portion of cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt with an apple. Smaller portions of these kinds of food should keep you satisfied because they naturally contain good fats within them, thereby keeping your metabolic engine revving through digestion.
Break the cola habit, even the diet ones. The refined sugars or chemical sweeteners, along with chemical preservatives and flavorings will wreck your diet, and has been linked to cause widespread inflammation within the body that can lead to a host of conditions and diseases. Drink water or a tea (preferably green tea) instead with your snacks, and at dinner times, and sip water throughout the day, everyday. This will aid digestion and help flush wastes and toxins from your body.
Water is incredibly important because that's what transports all of your nutrients to cells and your wastes away from your cells, aiding digestion and flushing wastes and toxins from your body.
Increase Your Proteins
Protein is one of the most important foods that your raises your metabolism. Protein is a building block of muscle, and muscle burns fat.
You should eat protein at nearly every feeding session throughout the day. Foods that contain large amounts of protein are almonds and other nuts. Powdered whey protein is a complete high quality protein which is great for increasing your metabolism. All kinds of beans are loaded with protein and also fiber which helps keep you feeling full longer. Eggs have one of the highest quality proteins available, and therefore is probably one of the best foods for speeding up your metabolism. You can mix into your diet, lean cuts of meat such as beef, turkey chicken, pork, and fish like wild pacific salmon so that you can obtain your protein from different sources. Be careful to trim skin from chicken and turkey, and fat from beef and pork, as these are sources of saturated fats, which are not good for your arteries, or your waistline.
Remember that if you most of your protein from sources like beans, you'll consume less calories than from meat or nuts. Use these, but sparingly.