Calories are the amount of energy that a food provides the body to fulfill all its vital functions, to know the total value of the calories that a food possesses, the amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats and of alcohol you own.
Each food group provides an average amount of calories:
- 1g of carbohydrates provides 4 calories;
- 1g of protein provides 4 calories;
- 1g of fat provides 9 calories;
- 1g of alcohol provides 7 calories.
It is important to mention that components such as water, fibers, vitamins and minerals do not provide calories for the body, however, they are important for other biological processes.
How Many Calories Should I Eat per Day?
To know how many calories to eat per day it is important to perform some calculations, because the daily caloric requirement will depend on some factors such as the age, weight, sex and height of the individual. Likewise, it should also be taken into account if the individual should increase, maintain or decrease his weight.
There are many formulas to calculate the daily caloric requirement, however, the one shown below is called a direct method and is very simple and practical:
- To lose weight — multiply 20 or 25 calories by the ideal weight.
- To maintain weight — multiply 25 or 30 calories by the current weight.
- To gain weight — multiply 30 or 35 calories by the ideal weight.
For example, a person who weighs 50 kg and wants to maintain it, must multiply 25 kcals x 50 kg or 30 kcals x 50 kg, and without fear of gaining weight he can ingest between 1250 and 1500 kcals per day. It is important to note that these values are calculated for a healthy individual, since if a person is sick or hospitalized, the body goes through a phase of stress where it is necessary to take into account other factors for the calculation of daily calories.
How to Calculate Food Calories
To know how many calories a food has, you must multiply the grams of carbohydrates you have by 4, the grams of protein by 4 and the total fat by 9. If you want to know what the value of a total meal with several components is, you must take out the calories from each food and then add them to know the total calories on the plate.
For example: How many calories 100 g chocolate have?
To know the answer you must know the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that chocolate contains, observing the nutritional labeling, and then you must multiply:
- 30.3 g of carbohydrates x 4 (each carbohydrate has 4 calories) = 121, 2 kcals
- 12.9 g of protein x 4 (each protein has 4 calories) = 51.6 kcals
- 40.7 g of fat x 9 (each fat has 9 calories) = 366.3 kcals
When adding all these values the result is 539 calories.
Food Calorie Table
The table below indicates the amount of calories consumed in some foods:
Foods that have fewer calories are fruits and vegetables, and should be included especially in weight loss diets. Fat-rich foods such as fried foods and processed foods such as sausages are the most caloric, so they should not be consumed by those who wish to lose weight.
A breakfast prepared with 1 French bread (30g) + 1 tablespoon of ricotta (15 g) + 1 glass of orange juice (200 mL) + 1 apple (170 g) provides a total of approximately 260 calories, much less calories than of an almond chocolate bar that contains on average 463 calories.
How to Consume Fewer Calories to lose Weight
The best way to consume fewer calories to lose weight is to know how many calories food has and how many calories you can eat per day. After knowing this, you should opt for less caloric foods that are fruits, vegetables, grains and vegetables. Some tips you can follow are:
1. Use a Calorie Counter
There are tables that indicate the amount of calories that each food has, called food composition tables, however, there is another more practical option such as downloading an application on the smartphone or tablet, this being a way to record and control calories that are ingested during the day, trying not to exceed the total caloric requirement.
2. Exchange Sweets for Fruits
In any diet to lose weight the consumption of sweets such as cakes, cakes, cookies, filled cookies and sweet desserts is prohibited, because they are rich in sugars that raise blood glucose, causing more hunger and a high calorie intake that are accumulated in the form of fat at the abdominal level, favoring weight gain.
So, ideally, instead of eating something sweet for dessert, eat a fruit preferably in a shell or with bagasse, this increases fiber intake and decreases the calories consumed.
3. Consume more Fibers
To increase its consumption, it is possible to add 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, oat bran or chia seeds, for example, in natural yogurt, in juices or in each main meal.
4. Replace the Potato with other Carbohydrates
It is important to increase the consumption of vegetables and grains at meals, including vegetables at lunch and dinner, and consume the grains 2 to 3 times per week. Ideally, avoid or consume in small portions the potato, cassava, yam or sweet potato / sweet potato if you want to lose weight, being able to replace them with quinoa, couscous, brown rice and whole wheat pasta, for example.
5. Prefer Grilled, Cooked or Steamed Foods
It is preferable to cook grilled, cooked or steamed foods, because these forms of preparation reduce the calories consumed, being much healthier. For example, the egg is preferable to eat it cooked and not fried.
6. Plan Meals
Planning a weekly menu is a great way to know what you are going to consume and how many calories each food has. Ideally, do not place the exact calories you should consume per day, so that you have a range of space to make any changes, if necessary.
7. Choose the Best Calories
It is important to know how to choose food, currently there are many “light” or “diet” products on the market that claim to be healthy but they are not, so it is important to read the nutritional labeling of these products, since usually if Do not contain sugars contain fats or vice versa. In addition to this, it is important to choose natural and less processed products, as these will be better for health.
For example, if you compare 1 glass of coke zero with 1 glass of natural orange juice, you can say that coke zero does not contain calories, while the glass of juice contains about 84 calories, however, Orange juice provides vitamin C and potassium that helps maintain blood pressure, the immune system and overall health, making it the best option to consume.
8. Increase Water Consumption
Water is important for weight loss, to facilitate digestion, decrease fluid retention and for various metabolic functions, having to consume at least 8 glasses of water a day, thus replacing sodas, pasteurized juices or teas.
For those who find it difficult to drink water, they can prepare a natural water and flavor it by placing a few drops of lemon, for example.