Calories 101

   I have learned a lot since I became an aerobic instructor. I thought Id share some interesting information over the next few entries. They will hopefully motivate you to go on in your quest for health.
   This first one is simply an explanation of calories. We hear and speak of calories as though we knew all there was to know about them, but what are they? Could you explain to your child what a calorie is? Well, here is your simple answer:
   A calorie is a unit of energy; we need energy in order to breathe, pump blood, stay warm…stay alive basically, and we get them from food. When we say that something has 100 calories, we are saying that it has 100 potential units of energy. You can find charts online that tell you the caloric value of thousands of foods.
   Food can be broken down in fats, carbohydrates and protein, each with its own caloric value. One gram of fat has 9 calories, one gram of carbohydrates or protein has 4 calories. The calories in the food are burned, enzymes breaking down the different parts of food (carbs, fats and protein) into all kinds of good stuff that the blood transports into the cells. Then, either the energy is used or stored for later.
   The amount of calories your body needs to function depends on your basic metabolic rate (BMR), your physical activity and the dietary induced thermogenesis, which means the energy needed for digestion. When we store more calories than we use… youve got it, you gain weight. On the other hand, when you burn more calories than are ready for immediate energy release, the body has to reach into its storage to stay alive, and … yes, we lose weight! This makes me think that our God is pretty smart!
   Sometimes if I understand things, it makes it easier to work with them. Hope this was as interesting and helpful to you as it is to me. Yahoo has a complete explanation of calories if you are still curious.


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