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Calories




A Calorie is a unit of energy, not a discrete part of food. (You cannot see a calorie). When carbohydrates, protein and fats are metabolised by the body, they produce energy which is measured in units known as Kilocalories (kcal) or the metric term Kilojoule (kJ). One kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree centigrade (1 kJ =4.2 kcal).

An individual's daily requirements can be expressed in terms of kilojoules of energy, but this hides the importance of the various types of energy source and their correct proportions, as well as the role of micro nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. The term "empty calories" refers usually to alcohol and sugars which contribute energy (kilojoules) without vitamins,minerals or fibre.

Expendable weight or body bulk is made up mostly of fat which is the method by which the body stores food for a source of available energy. What we need to eat is directly connected with how much we mechanically exercise or use our bodies. Simply put, if you don’t want to store food and become fat then you have to exercise daily in keeping with the number of kilojoules you eat per day.

Unfortunately, depending upon our inherited genes, we all have a different basic level of resting metabolism. Some families are lean hungry types and burn up energy just sitting on a seat. Other families in the same circumstances in the same seat would burn up very little energy. They are the storage types and to them food and overweight is a lifelong problem.

In most individuals either regular aerobic exercise or strict dieting are the only answers to a particular problem of weight. Few of us, are lean and hungry and most of us have to earn our kilojoules. What the apparently overweight person with perhaps a lower metabolism should realise is that good health can be associated with a well proportioned figure.

Your metabolism or energy output can be satisfactorily balanced with your food intake. Don’t become obsessed with a weight problem which may not be there. Keep active but remember, there are healthy limits to your own personal ability to achieve a satisfactory weight level and a healthy body contour.

Healthy regular aerobic exercise which includes brisk walking, sensible jogging, swimming, bicycling three to four times a week for at least 30 - 60 minutes should be associated with a balanced healthy diet with a kilojoule level in keeping with your own personal ability to exercise.

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