Almost everything that people consume has calories, which are the amount of energy that a certain food can provide to the human being; that is, if a food has 100 calories, it will mean that that is the amount of energy that is being consumed. On the other hand, calories are also known as kilocalories (kcal), and are of vital importance for people, because they serve to: provide energy, make the metabolism work, develop the individual, allow the appearance of new cells , among other things.

It is important to bear in mind that calories are responsible for causing overweight, because if more calories are consumed than the body can burn, they will end up being transformed into fat, therefore, it is always important to have control over the consumption of food; and above all, the amount of calories they have, since the ideal is to consume an average of between 100 and 500 calories a day, depending on the physical characteristics and the activities carried out during the day.

Function of calories in the body

All human beings need to consume a considerable amount of calories in their day to day, this because they are responsible for providing the energy that the body needs, to perform the following activities:

They provide energy for all activities in general

As mentioned above, calories is the way to measure the energy that certain foods contribute to the human body, therefore, it can be said that thanks to calories, all day-to-day activities can be carried out. A clear example of this would be the calories that are expended when walking, which can vary, depending on the weight and size of the people, that is; that a skinny and small person, expends fewer calories when walking, than a tall and slightly overweight person.

Any physical activity that is carried out requires calories, regardless of physical activity. For example, activities that consume calories include the following:

  • Walk.
  • To run.
  • Lift weights.
  • Trot.
  • To move the arms.
  • Move your fingers.

In general, any physical activity requires calories; Obviously, if the physical activity is small and of a short time, it will require very few calories; and quite the opposite happens, if you decide to run for more than three hours, where the amount of calories that will be used, will be considerably high.

They allow the functioning of the important organs of the body

Calories also play a fundamental role in all the organs of the body (or most of them), since they also need calories to function, that is; Organs like the heart, brain, stomach, and all in general, require calories to function; That is why when a person suffers from anorexia (a mental illness that leads people to eat almost no food), they can suffer from certain diseases in the organs, since they do not have enough energy to function properly; and this what can cause, is that the organs develop diseases, and in extreme cases, death.

It is important to mention at this point that the amount of calories required by the organs is really small, therefore, a person who does not perform almost any physical activity, should consume very low amounts of calories, since the body will use very few for basic activities.

They allow the development of people in general

Children and adolescents are constantly growing, and in all aspects, that is; As your organs are changing, your body is increasing in size, among other things.

All these growth activities require many calories, since the body is producing new cells and this activity requires an enormous amount of energy; That is why the diet in children and adolescents must always be balanced, rich in minerals, vitamins and calories (especially in calories).

Calories from Food: What Foods Have Calories?

Virtually any food eaten provides a certain level of calories, which varies, depending on the food itself. Every 100 grams of the following foods provides the following calories:

  • Rice has an approximate 340-350 calories, depending on whether it is white or whole.
  • The different types of bread have between 200 and 250 calories.
  • Cereals can have between 320 and 380 calories.
  • A whole egg can have up to 162 calories.
  • Sugar has 380 calories.
  • Cocoa powder can have up to 366 calories.
  • Almost all greens and vegetables have between 5 and 100 calories. Except for black olives, which have 349 calories and green olives, which have up to 132 calories.
  • Cheese has an average of 300 calories, however, this value can vary greatly, depending on the type of cheese and the preparation it has had.
  • Ham can have up to 380 calories, although it can vary, depending on the type.
  • Almost all oils average between 700 and 900 calories (this includes butters).

Obviously, the aforementioned data may vary, depending on different factors, such as:

  • The quality of the food.
  • How they are consumed.
  • Other factors

How are calories burned?

As explained previously, one of the main problems with calories is that when they are not burned at the moment, they are transformed into fat, and this can cause weight gain and a host of other problems, such as: heart or circulation problems. As a result of this, it is important to burn calories and above all, consume only the necessary ones.

Basically, to burn calories, you must perform physical activities, so, for this, the following tips should be taken into account:

  • All activity must take some physical effort : for example, if you are going to talk on the phone, you should do it standing up and walking around the house, that is; that any activity that is going to be carried out, you have to try to do it, but adding some physical activity in between, since this helps to burn calories.
  • Have an exercise routine : the greater the physical activity, the more calories you will burn.
  • Vary in daily activities : a clear example of this is using the stairs instead of the elevator, that is; that if during the day, physical activities can be added instead of being static, it is better to burn calories.

Finally, it must be taken into account that some activities burn more calories than others, for this, if what you are looking for is total efficiency when burning calories, you must take into account the following:

  • Jogging for an hour can burn up to 600 calories.
  • Running for an hour can burn up to 900 calories.
  • Jumping rope for an hour can burn up to 700 calories.
  • Walking for an hour can burn up to 200 calories.
  • Riding a bike for 30 minutes can burn up to 200 calories.

Simply put, to burn calories, you have to be as physically active as possible.

Relevant things to know about calories

There are many aspects to take into account about calories, because it is a fairly broad topic, however, there are some things that are very important, among which we can mention the following:

Calories make you fat

As mentioned previously, calories are energy, which if not consumed by the body at the moment, can make the individual fat, because the calories that are not used, are transformed into fat, for later use; and if this is something that is constantly repeated (the one that the calories are transformed into fat), it will make the body grow more, which translates into fat.

To avoid this, it is always advisable to consume only the necessary calories and in case of consuming a greater quantity, greater physical activity should be carried out, to avoid eliminating stored fat.

Bottom Line: How Important Are Calories?

Finally, it is important to understand the importance of calories; However, it must also be taken into account that they by themselves cannot keep a body functioning, therefore, it is always important to include vitamins and minerals in the daily diet, which are of great importance for the body to function properly. .

Finally, calories should never be consumed in excess, since, as mentioned above, these are transformed into fat if they are not burned in a certain period of time; and fat brings with it a number of negative things for people, therefore, you must be very careful.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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