Let's break it down: What are calories?

Publish DateAug 23, 2021

How many of us know about calories, really? Given a chance, can you define it? Perhaps, many can’t.

Whereas if you ask whether someone has heard of ‘calories,’ the answer will be mostly ‘yes.’ Concepts that come afloat in mind hearing this word can be weight loss, diabetes, muscle gain, and many more. But the core concept remains unknown to many.

Let’s learn the very basics of calories.

What are calories?

A calorie is a unit of measurement for the energy value of food.

What are the various sources of calories?

Fats, carbohydrates, and proteins are vital sources that provide energy to the body. Each of these nutrients is called macronutrients, popularly known as macros.

To count calories, we must calculate the macros intake. You can do it on your own using the below table:




1 gm Fat


1 gm Carb (Carbohydrate)


1 gm Protein



Why do we require calories?

Calories are essential for us. They are the vital source of energy required for the functioning of the body. Without calories, our organs won’t function – the heart would stop beating, bringing an end to human life.

Make note, calories are essential, and no adjective can amplify the importance of it enough!

But one needs to practice care regarding the intake of it. Too many calories result in weight gain, and ultimately a list of health problems.





How many calories are enough?

The requirement of calories varies from person to person based on their daily energy requirements.

Age, gender, physical activity level, and body type are primary factors influencing your required calorie intake.

On average, daily calorie intake for females 7 to 60 years old and above should be 1800kcal and for males 2200kcal.

Kcal VS Calories

Food labels with the display of kcal can be confusing.

Kilocalorie (Kcal) refers to a large calorie. It is the amount of energy required to raise 1 kilogram of water by 1º C.

Calorie, also known as small calorie, refers to the energy required to raise 1 gram of water by 1º C.

1 kcal is equal to 1,000 cal.

To become aware of your calorie intake, read the calorie specification on the food label the next time you are at the supermarket.

Author: Somrita Ganchoudhuri


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