The Calorie Count De-Constructed
*Disclaimer: All information below is intended as a general guideline-please consult a health-care professional before making any extreme changes to your diet.
The calorie: the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree.
The Calorie: 1 Kilo calorie = 1000 calories.
The Calorie is pretty much what we use to measure how much energy a particular food will yield. For example 1 banana = 105 Calories.
However, not all calories are created equal and the way our bodies digest certain foods greatly impacts the nutritional value of what we ingest. Nutrition is a complicated subject, due mostly in part to the variations from one individual to next. That is to say we are all snowflakes, at least as far as nutrition goes.
None the less here are some common and effective practices that wont get you to your particular seat but will at least get you in the ball park.
Ok whip out your graphing calculators and protractors we are about to drop some science up in here.
Alright you ready, here we go; each particular food is divided into 3 major groups:
1. Fats = Oils, Animal Fats
2. Proteins = Meats, Plants
3. Carbohydrates = Grains, Sugars
Each group can be subdivided into further subgroups and each has their own "good" and "bad" alternative. Read more about them here . For the purpose of this article we are going to assume all fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are equal.
-Check out the foot note to learn more about the food groups.
Each group has their own calorie per gram value such as;
1. Fat = 9 Calories/gram
2. Proteins = 4 Calories/gram
3. Carbohydrates = 4 Calories/gram
Still with me so far? Good I am going to assume you said yes. With this information you can now build a daily calorie plan. To figure out how many calories you should be consuming per day you can follow this simple equation.
To Gain: Current Weight x 14-15
To Maintain: Current Weight x 12-13
To Lose: Current Weight x 10-11
For example if I weigh 185 and want to maintain weight I would start with:
185 X 13= 2405 calories/day
The Break Down
So now that you have your calorie/day value you need to figure out the % breakdown by food group. For weight loss I found that this break down works the best for me; 40% Fats, 40% Proteins, 20% Carbs.
If you break it down using the my calorie/day number above you get:
2405 X .40 = 962 Calories from Proteins
2405 X .40 = 962 Calories from Fat
2405 X .20 = 481 Calories from Carbohydrates
Now we can build a simple meal plan:
*Google is your friend when it comes to figuring out how many calories/gram a food is worth. Example
Snack to keep on hand:
*Bonus add Hummus for dipping.
Gum (Not as nutritious but keeps hunger at bay)
Water (see why)
Putting it all together
All this to say that if you are anything like me you probably don't like math. Luckily the internet is here to the rescue.
Eat this Much - This is an awesome website that lets you put in how many calories you want to eat for the day and then builds a menu. Very cool, I like to use it when I don't know what to make for dinner.
Cooking Light - Another menu planner that lets you build a menu for the whole week.
Calorie Counter - Lets you search and build a menu according to how many calories you want to eat that day. + Has a mobile version.
Managing diet and nutrition is no easy task. Made increasingly difficult by easy access to fast food and quick fixes. The point of this article is to provide a light in the shadows. Something that can be referenced and readily applied.
While it may seem like you may never lose weight or get in shape, don't give up or give in to quick fixes and exasperation. With a little work and planning all things are possible.
Define a goal, Make a Plan, Act , and Maintain. Help is always there for those who seek it and if no one else will listen AFIT always will.
Contact an AFIT trainer email@example.com. Good luck and happy lifting.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT - LINKS