Health Corner: Understanding Calories

How healthy or how active we are depends upon the type of the diet that we consume

Health Corner: Understanding Calories

How healthy or how active we are depends upon the type of the diet that we consume and its effect on our health. Hence it is important that we understand the properties of all the types of food that we consume in our diet.

So Just What Are Calories?

In simple terms, calories can be defined as a measure of the quantum of energy that we consume in form of our food and drinks. It is the calories that determine how efficient or how energetic we are. Therefore, knowing as to how many calories we are consuming, or rather how much energy we are getting from our diet goes a long way in knowing how healthy we are.

Which brings us t the next issue – just how many calories should we consume every day?

This varies from person to person upon the body composition and the activity level of every individual one very important factor that we need to also consider is the body metabolism, which differs from person to person. However, for a healthy adult, i.e. an average individual, the rule of the thumb in determining how many calories we should consume is given below-

  • Breakfast – This should consist of about 400 kilocalories (kcal)
  • Lunch – 600 kcal should suffice, include all foods and beverages.
  • Evening meal – 600 kcal (once again, it should include all foods and beverages)

That leaves you with just enough left over to enjoy a few healthy drinks and “in between meal” snacks throughout the rest of the day. So For ease of understanding, remember 400-600-600 as the magic figure that we must keep in the back of our mind while eating. One can remember this as a formula of “400-600-600” that is – the 400 kilo calories are for breakfast and 600 each is for dinner and lunch. However, it is also important to understand that these figures vary from person to person. It is also different for males and females. Generally speaking, women should be eating not more than 2000 calories a day and Men should respect to 2500 calories per day

If we do not take the requisite amount of calories; whether it is more than the ideal figure or less determines how good or bad our health is. What is important to understand is that having fewer calories is as bad as having additional Calories and therefore it is important to strike a balance between the two.

It therefore stands to logic that we also classify the type of food that we can take. For example fats and carbs contain of very high sugar content and thereby leading to more calories, whereas vegetarian diet of fruits and vegetables have comparatively lesser calories and higher nutritional contents.

It is therefore important to see the food labels while we are reaching out for food articles from the shelves and preferably select items that are less have lesser fat content, salt, as well as sugar.

The Perfect Meal Size for Children

It is but natural that children who are smaller in size and their body weight should have lesser energy requirements and therefore need to be on a lower calorie diet. You should not go overboard in giving largest possible children and restrict it to the age, activity level and size of the child.

So What Exactly Are Kilojoules?

These are basically another way of expressing the amount of energy or calories in a particular type of food 1 kilo Kcal is approximately equal to 4.18 Joules. This information is also given on the food labels and therefore we should check this before buying.

It is important to be healthy and in order to achieve good health and hence it is best to remember this principle of 400-600-600 and be vigilant about what we are consuming in our diet and we won’t go wrong!

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