Calories measure the energy a food or drink provides from the carbohydrates, fats, proteins, or alcohol it contains.
Although limiting them is not the only thing needed to lose weight, controlling them is a great help. Learn here how to know how many calories you consume and burn per day.
Our body needs energy to perform all kinds of actions, from the most insignificant movements to great efforts.
To do this, use the calories from food. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are the nutrients that contain calories and make up the body’s main sources of energy. His contribution is as follows:
- Each gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories.
- Each gram of protein contains 4 calories.
- Each gram of fat contains 9 calories.
- Another option is the alcohol in drinks, which contains 7 calories per gram.
Regardless of their origin, the calories consumed are transformed into energy when they are used or into fat when they are stored.
To use the calories stored as fat, you must reduce caloric intake, so that the body draws on energy reserves, or increase physical activity, to burn more calories than consumed.
How to know how many calories we consume
To find out how many calories we consume, the g of each nutrient must be multiplied by the previously assigned value: carbohydrates and proteins by 4, fats by 9 and alcohol by 7.
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You can also use tables to know common foods and amounts. For example, every 100 g:
- Avocado: 160 calories.
- Banana: 88 calories.
- Broccoli: 35 calories.
- Mushrooms: 22 calories.
- Lamb: 178 calories.
- Asparagus: 18 calories.
- Spinach: 23 calories.
- Strawberries: 32 calories.
- Garbanzo beans: 137 calories.
- Egg: 155 calories.
- Lemon: 35 calories.
- Milk: 47 calories.
- Lentils: 97 calories.
- Corn: 108 calories.
- Apple: 52 calories.
- Integral bread: 244 calories.
- dad: 86 calories.
- Chicken: 75 calories.
- Salmon: 137 calories.
- Watermelon: 30 calories.
- cooked noodles: 159 calories.
- Veal: 94 calories.
- Grape: 70 calories.
- Yogurt: 62 calories.
How to know how many calories we burn
To know the calories burned each day, a widely used and accepted equation by specialists is the Harris-Benedict equation, which consists of multiplying the basal metabolic rate (BMR) by the average daily physical activity level. This can be confusing, but both factors can be easily understood.
BMR is the number of calories a person burns at rest to carry out vital functions. It depends on different factors, such as age, sex, size and genetics. To calculate the BMR, the following equations are used:
Men: 66 + (13.7 x weight in kilograms) + (5 x height in centimeters) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR
Women: 655 + (9.6 x weight in kilograms) + (1.8 x height in centimeters) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR
For example, for a 35-year-old man, 80 kg and 175 cm tall, the BMR would be 1799, because:
66 + (13.7 x 80) + (5 x 175) – (6.8 x 35) = 1799.
Whereas, for a 40-year-old woman, 65 kg and 165 cm tall, the BMR would be 1388, because:
655 + (9.6 x 65) + (1.8 x 165) – (4.7 x 40) = 1388.
It should be noted that both equations are determined for values of weight between 25 and 125 kg, height between 151 and 200 cm, and age between 21 and 70 years.
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The results of the BMR calculation are then multiplied by the person’s average daily physical activity. Different values are assigned to this daily activity:
- Little or no exercise: 1.2.
- Light exercise (1 to 3 days a week): 1.37.
- Moderate exercise (3 to 5 days a week): 1.55.
- Intense exercise (6 to 7 days a week): 1.72.
- Very intense exercise (twice every day of the week): 1.9.
If the man in the example above (BMR = 1799) did little or no exercise (1.2), he would need to consume 2159 calories to maintain his weight, because (1799 x 1.2 = 2159).
In the case of the woman (BMR = 1388), if she were to exercise moderately (1.5), she would have to consume 2082 calories to maintain her weight, because (1388 x 1.5 = 2082).
If you are looking to gain or lose weight, you should consume more or less of those calories for several days.
Other factors that can influence calorie burning are:
- body composition: Those with more muscle mass can burn more calories than those with less muscle.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women burn more calories than non-pregnant women.
- Lactation: Women who are breastfeeding burn extra calories.
- thermogenesis: is the amount of energy that each body uses to break down food.
The calculations may be complicated. Fortunately, there are many online calculators or apps to quickly and easily know the calories consumed and burned in the day.
However, it is best to consult a nutritionist, so that they can advise you on a diet and exercise routine that is suitable for your body.
Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, American College of Sports Medicine, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.