Let’s Understand Calories


With the rising interest of health and wellness in the last few years, the fitness industry has become inundated with endless information, from workouts to food intake. You’re able to have calorie information and workout videos right at your finger-tips. The fact of the matter is people believe just about anything they read or hear. Fortunately for you, TriFITwellness gives you factual and truthful information, good or bad. We tell you what you want to hear and what you don’t, and that’s what makes us stand out among the crowd.


Let’s talk about calories.


Ahh, Calories. I’m sure you’ve seen a random picture on Instagram detailing exactly what fruits or foods can “help with fat loss”, so you start eating those foods and drinking that funky green tea, before your Cabo trip you have in 4 days hoping for instant results…..We’ve all been there, but today we’re going to, be honest with ourselves.


The word Calorie means heat and is a unit of heat measure. In the United States, we refer it as calories, but if you travel outside of the country its most often referred to as a Joules or Kilo-Joules.


The Food we eat contains potential energy, stored within a physical system and be converted into work or kinetic energy. There are also different forms of calories, small calories, and larger calories.


Small Calories: the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. The smaller calories also use a lower case c.


Large Calories: the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. The larger calories use an upper- case C.


When using calories to refer to food, you need to pick your words wisely. When we are talking about food calories, we are often talking about the larger C or kilocalories. The energy we gain from food differs depending on the nutrient type.


“Different macronutrients and substances make different amounts of heat, (Nutrition Guide ISSA, pg. 114).


1 gram of fat = 9.44 kcal
1 gram of starch    = 4.18 kcal
1 gram of sucrose = 3.94 kcal
1 gram of glucose = 3.94 kcal
1 gram of protein = 5.65 kcal
1 gram of alcohol = 7.09 kcal


Everybody is different when it comes to understanding the effects of how food is digested, absorbed, and used. No system is made equal. Often times people are not even really sure about how many calories they 1. Need and 2. Are actually taking in every day.


Is knowing your calorie need and intake even necessary? Some people say yes, some people say no. Our opinion is that if you are beginning a weight loss journey, you need to know.


When we take in more energy than the body needs (calories in versus calories out) this could lead to an energy imbalance, which then leads to a change in body weight. Caloric needs are based primarily on 3 factors:


  1. Your health goals. Are you trying to lose weight, gain weight or maintain?
  2. Your activity level. If you are highly active you will generally need more calories for energy vs a person who is fairly sedentary.


Calories are simple. The exercises we do and the food we eat affect our energy balance and the fuel we use to help us move each day. A great first step to understanding calories is to explore tracking your food to see what your intake really is. You can use a free tool like My Fitness Pal to track the food you eat. 


Here at TriFITwellness, we provide holistic nutrition approaches to help our clients get on a track to becoming healthier versions of themselves. Nutrition can be very confusing, but it doesn’t have to be! If you have any questions, or would like help with a nutrition plan to help you reach your goals, drop us a line!