What are Calories?
The human body needs calories to survive, without energy our cells would die. A calorie is a unit of energy, and it is used to show how much energy an item of food contains.
All food contains calories. Examples of calorie-rich foods include animal fats, such as lard and fish oil, vegetable oil, salad dressing, peanut butter, candy bars, cheese, fried foods and processed meat such as sausages.
To maintain a healthy weight, you need to balance the amount of calories you consume through food and drink with the amount of calories you burn through physical activity.
What are Carbs?
Carbohydrate is an organic compound made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and “carbs” typically refers to food rich in starch or sugar. Foods that are high in carbohydrates include bread, potatoes, rice, fruits, soft drinks and sodas, pasta and noodles, beans and cereal.
Carbohydrates provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for working muscles. They also prevent protein from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism.
Carbohydrates are important for brain function. They are an influence on “mood, memory, etc., as well as a quick energy source.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which causes the body to release the insulin, a hormone that increases the accumulation of fat in the body. Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy, so it will be chosen over any other energy source.
Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed, and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy.
Calories Vs Carbs
Carbohydrates and calories are two very frequently used terms when we talk about the energy usage of the human body. However they are two separate entities and it is therefore very important to understand the difference between calories and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are basically a source of nutrients that our body requires to function properly. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are categories of energy foods that our body requires to perform day to day functions.
These categories of foods all provide a different number of calories to the body. Carbohydrates are easy to break down even though they provide lesser energy as compared to fats. However they are still a great source of instant energy for the body.
Calories on the other hand are just a measuring unit similar to other units like pounds, pints or feet. Calories help in counting how much energy is contained in a particular food. It is therefore important to understand that the main calories and carbs difference is that carbohydrates are gained by eating foods while calories are just used to calculate how much energy the body derives from eating these foods.
How many calories are in 1 gram of each:
• carbohydrate — 4 calories
• protein — 4 calories
• fat — 9 calories