Friday, February 8, 2008

About Calories

Automobiles burn gasoline to get the energy they need to move. Your body burns (metabolizes) food to produce energy in the form of heat. This heat warms your body and (as energy) powers every move you make. Nutritionists measure the amount of heat produced by metabolizing food in units called kilocalories. A kilocalorie is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree on a Centigrade (Celsius) thermometer at sea level.

In common use, nutritionists substitute the word calorie for kilocalorie. This information isn’t scientifically accurate: Strictly speaking, a calorie is really 1⁄1000 of a kilocalorie. But the word calorie is easier to say and easier to remember, so that’s the term you see whenever you read about the energy in food. And few nutrition-related words have caused as much confusion and concern as the lowly calorie. Read on to find out what calories mean to you and your nutrition.

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