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Everything you need to know about calories

8/24 10:24:54

Do you know how many calories your body burns at rest, what your BMR is and how many calories you should be consuming? 

Recently, while discussing BMR with a colleague, I was surprised when she said that she had always wondered how many calories she should be eating. 

I realised that so many women out there may have the same question so I've compiled a guide about calories for you! 

What is a calorie?

A calorie (shown as Cal, Kj or Kcal on food labels) is a unit of energy. Our bodies need food energy for daily functions from driving our metabolisms, pumping blood through our bodies to powering our muscle movement.

How do kilojoules (kj) relate to calories?

Most food labels will list Kj on nutritional content. One calorie is equal to 4,184 Kj.

A handy calculator can be found over here and there are plenty of calculator apps for smart phones. 

How many calories does your body need?

The amount of calories your body needs at rest is known as BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). However, whenever you exercise, your body will require more calories to fuel that activity. 

You can find a great BMR calculator on myfitnesspal.com by clicking here. This calculator uses the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation to calculate your calorie requirement. Simply input your height, weight age and sex and it estimates a BMR figure for you. Please note, because it’s an estimate, it should only be used as a guide. 

How to figure out the number of calories you consume 

Most food products carry nutritional labels with a Kj or Cal value so take note of what you eat for a few days and you’ll get an insight into how many calories you actually consume.

For foods that don’t have nutritional labels, like fruits and vegetables, use websites like cronometer.com which allows you to enter a food item you have consumed and give you a calorie content estimate. 

What if you exercise or want to lose weight?

To work out how many calories you should be consuming on days when you exercise, you can use cronometer.com and myplate from Livestrong. These online calculators allow you to input your activities and workouts and will give you a calorie value based on your activity levels. 

Trying to lose weight?  Input your weight loss goals when creating your profile on one of these online programmes and they calculate your calorie requirements accordingly.

If you'd love to see the calorie content of common foods, the following video shows us what 2 000 calories look like as snacks and meals. It's a must watch!

 Whether you count calories or not, it’s good to be aware of what you’re putting into your body. 

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