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What is a calorie? Why does it matter?

One gallon of automotive gasoline contains approximately 35,000 Calories.  One gram of cardboard contains about 7 Calories.  Don’t eat either of those.

A Calorie is a unit of measurement. Technically we use kilocalories when we talk about Calories in food.  So in terms of nutritional labels a Calorie is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of a kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.

Yes, you could test the Calorie count of anything.

A Calorie is a measurement of energy potential. It is a great tracking tool you can use to determine how much food energy you need in a day, and how much you use.

So, why does it matter?

It matters because a food’s caloric measurement isn’t all you need to know about the food you eat. Calorie count tells you the "energy" value of a particular food.  When we consider calories as the determining factor of a foods value, we overlook the fact that not all calories are created equal. 

Consider this: A 2oz Snickers bar (guilty pleasure) chased down with a 12oz soda yields a whopping 416 calories. An 11oz vanilla milkshake from many drive-through vendors will give you about 360 calories.  And then there is this:

Stuffed Chicken & Sautéed Kale with Pine Nuts (recipe original post by Ashley Rick at Pomegranate Bandit). 

     a serving of this deliciousness packs a protein filled 369 Calories

Nutrition Information:

Serves: 4  |  Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe 

Per serving: Calories: 369; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 185mg; Sodium: 333mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars 2g; Protein: 42g

Nutrition Bonus:

Potassium: 546mg; Vitamin A: 139%; Vitamin C: 141%; Calcium: 18%; Iron: 18% 

​​​​​​​There is a tendency by many, to count Calories and expect a certain result because of the amount they consume.  In reality, while weight loss (or weight gain for that matter) are based on Calories consumed versus Calories expended, the quality of Calorie plays a big role.

Read more at training and nutrition; where paths cross.