Sunday, December 5, 2010

Calorie Count

I'm still a bit on the fence about calorie counting every single day. While I see the validity of keeping track, I find it a difficult task to do and the idea of having to do it for a year makes the task seem daunting, let alone having to watch everything I consume forever. But let's talk about what it takes and how many calories are recommended with help of my account on

What is a Calorie? While most of us consider the term calorie, some nutrition books discuss as an incorrect term because the full term is kilocalories. But what is it exactly? According to the authors of the textbook Foundations and Clinical Applications of Nutrition consider kilocalories as the energy released from food, as it is a type of measurement of those energies. On a technical level, a calorie is viewed as the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of a gram of water by one degree Celsius/0.8 Fahrenheit. If we considered the calories of an 8-ounce glass of milk (example from the textbook) it would technically be 90,000 calories, but instead we are usually told the 90 kcals, which is said to be the calories.

Seems odd to have the change in wording but at the same time it makes sense. Imagine how the daily calorie count would look if going by actual calories instead of the kcal number. 1,500 calories would actually be 1,500,000. Course it would even out since the calories taken in would be on the same number range. But think I'll stick with the kcal instead of a full calorie.

Recommended Range: There are a few factors that go into figuring out the expected daily calorie range. Some potential factors include weight, height and current fitness level (which is given in ranges as to how active the person is in general). I used the calculator on the calories per hour web site linked below and based on the factors given for calculation was told to lose 2 lbs a week I'd have to consume 1700 calories. It's a little bit higher than the recommended count by sparkpeople, which gives a range. On sparkpeople I picked a goal weight and date, then was given a range of 1310-1660 in order to reach that goal in the given amount of time. So, obviously not all say the same thing and it's something to consider when picking which number to follow.

I'm not going to count every kcal/calorie just yet. For now I'm just going to eat a little healthier and exercise more. There will be a time where I do the caloric range because even short term, having that kind of information can be useful in understanding how food affects our bodies.

Some Web sites to consider: