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why do we need calories in our diet

"That's loaded with calories! "
"Are you counting your calories? " When people talk about the calories in food, what do they mean? A calorie is a unit of measurement but it doesn't measure weight or length. A calorie is a unit of energy. When you hear something contains 100 calories, it's a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it. Are Calories Bad for You? Calories aren't bad for you. Your body needs calories for energy. But eating too many calories and not burning enough of them off through activity can lead to. Most foods and drinks contain calories. Some foods, such as lettuce, contain few calories (1 cup of shredded lettuce has less than 10 calories). Other foods, like peanuts, contain a lot of calories (m cup of peanuts has 427 calories). You can find out how many calories are in a food by looking at the nutrition facts label. The label also will describe the components of the food how many grams of carbohydrate, and fat it contains. That means if you know how many grams of each one are in a food, you can calculate the total calories. You would multiply the number of grams by the number of calories in a gram of that food component. For example, if a serving of potato chips (about 20 chips) has 10 grams of fat, 90 calories are from fat. That's 10 grams x 9 calories per gram. Some people watch their calories if they are trying to lose weight. Most kids don't need to do this, but all kids can benefit from eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes the right number of calories not too many, not too few. But how do you know how many calories you need? How Many Calories Do Kids Need? Kids come in all sizes and each person's body burns energy (calories) at different rates, so there isn't one perfect number of calories that a kid should eat.

But there is a recommended range for most school-age kids: 1,600 to 2,200 per day. When they reach puberty, girls need more calories than before but they tend to need fewer calories than boys. As boys enter puberty, they may need as many as 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day, especially if they are very active. But whether they are girls or boys, kids who are active and move around a lot will need more calories than kids who don't. Most kids don't have to worry about not getting enough calories because the body and feelings of hunger help regulate how many calories a person eats. But kids with certain medical problems may need to make sure they eat enough calories. Kids with cystic fibrosis, for instance, have to eat high-calorie foods because their bodies have trouble absorbing the nutrients and energy from food. Kids who are overweight might have to make sure they don't eat too many calories. (Only your doctor can say if you are overweight, so check with him or her if you're concerned. And never go on a without talking to your doctor! ) If you eat more calories than your body needs, the leftover calories are converted to fat. Too much fat can lead to health problems. Often, kids who are overweight can start by avoiding high-calorie foods, such as sugary sodas, candy, and fast food, and by eating a healthy, balanced diet. are really important, too, because activity burns calories. Some people mistakenly believe they have to burn off all the calories they eat or they will gain weight. This isn't true. Your body needs some calories just to operate to keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing. As a kid, your body also needs calories from a variety of foods to grow and develop.

And you burn off some calories without even thinking about it by walking your dog or making your bed. But it is a great idea to play and be active for at least 1 hour and up to several hours a day. That means time spent playing sports, just running around outside, or riding your bike. It all adds up. Being active every day keeps your body strong and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Watching TV and playing video games won't burn many calories at all, which is why you should try to limit those activities to 1 to 2 hours per day. A person burns only about 1 calorie per minute while watching TV, about the same as sleeping! Calories are a measure of energy and are commonly used to describe the energy content of foods. Your body is able to break down food molecules and use the stored energy for many different functions, including movement, thought and growth. Calories also play a role in weight control, because eating more calories than your body needs can lead to weight gain. Metabolism refers to the process by which your body converts calories from food into energy it can use. Your body needs energy -- even while you are at rest -- for breathing, circulating blood, repairing cells and all other bodily functions. Making sure you eat enough food can help ensure that your body has enough energy to develop and work properly. Your metabolism and how many calories your body needs each day is influenced by your age, gender and physical activity habits. You can estimate your daily calorie needs by using a daily food plan, such as the USDA's MyPyramid program. Keeping the amount of calories you consume balanced with the amount of calories you burn through regular metabolism and physical activity will keep your weight stable. When you take in more calories than your body burns, your body stores these extra calories as fat and you gain weight.

Losing weight requires creating a calorie deficit so that your body burns more calories than you take in. Create this calorie deficit by eating 500 to 1,000 fewer calories than your body needs each day and participating in 30 minutes or more of physical activity that helps burn calories. For example, just sitting for one hour burns 81 calories for a 150 pound person, while strolling at a modest rate burns 206 calories and jogging burns 675 calories per hour. It takes using up 3500 calories over and above what you eat to lose 1 pound. A man aged 31 to 35 who's moderately active needs about 2,600 calories daily, while a woman of similar age and activity needs about 2,000. Your body gets its calories from macronutrients, which are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts,including carbohydrates, protein and fat. One g of carbohydrate provides your body with 4 calories, as does 1 g of protein. but, 1 g of fat provides your body with 9 calories. Approximately 45 to 60 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates; 10 to 35 percent should come from protein; and 20 to 35 percent should come from fat. Meeting your calorie needs with a nutritious, well-balanced diet can help keep your body healthy. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole-grain foods and healthy sources of protein and fat. It also recommends skipping sugar-sweetened drinks that add calories to your diet without adding beneficial nutrients. Talk with a registered dietitian who can help you develop an eating plan that includes essential nutrients while meeting your specific energy needs.

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