Calories wrong? On the contrary!

We see calories as the culprits: “Don’t eat, there are too many calories in it”. But did you know that calories are essential for our system, even when we sleep.

What are calories?

A calorie can be regarded as a unit of energy, just as the kilometer is a unit of distance. Calories are like fuel for the body:

  • First of all, humans need a certain amount of calories to ensure that a number of essential processes in the body run properly;
  • but in addition, an additional supply of calories is needed when we perform strenuous activities such as running or cycling.


What is optimal metabolism or combustion?

You could describe human metabolism as the set of chemical processes that take place in your body to keep you alive. If we provide our body with oxygen, fluid and essential nutrients in the right quantities, the body cells are able to do their work properly and there is optimal combustion.
To achieve optimal combustion, four elements are actually desirable:

  • healthy food;
  • proper digestion;
  • sufficient minerals and vitamins;
  • regular exercise.

If one or more of these elements are not present or are not present in sufficient quantities, there is no optimal combustion. The food we ingest is then burned at too low a rate. And energy that we do not burn is stored in the form of fats and eventually leads to obesity.

What types of calories do we distinguish?

The calories we consume through our diet can be divided into 3 groups:

  • calories from proteins, essential for building our muscles. They are mainly found in meat, dairy products and eggs;
  • Calories from carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our body. We find them in potatoes, pasta, bread, vegetables and fruit;
  • calories come from fats, such as those found in oil, butter and cream.

Although energy consumption may differ per individual, according to nutritionists, the ideal ratio of calories in our diet should be as follows:

  • 65% carbohydrates;
  • 15% proteins;
  • 20% fats.

The general rule is: don’t consume too many carbohydrates and don’t restrict your intake of proteins and fats too much.

The glycemic index

Not all calories are absorbed into our blood at the same rate. For example, calories from carbohydrates are processed from our diet much faster than calories from fats.
That absorption speed is very important for a healthy metabolism. The faster the body absorbs calories in the form of glucose, the sooner the blood sugar level becomes disrupted. And that in turn causes insulin levels to rise and fat production to increase, ultimately resulting in obesity.
The extent to which ingested food increases our blood sugar levels is expressed in the glycemic index (GI). Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index are used almost immediately by the body and will make us gain weight faster. An interesting detail is that this absorption can be slowed down by combining the consumption of fast carbohydrates with the intake of fats, proteins or dietary fiber.

Facts about losing weight

Finally, some interesting facts about calories and/or weight loss:

  • muscles consume 70 times more calories than fats;
  • Eating small amounts more often speeds up the metabolism. So it is better to eat five to six meals with fewer calories than 3 copious meals;
  • green tea accelerates metabolism and promotes calorie burning due to its thermogenic qualities;
  • medicines such as cortisone and estrogens affect metabolism and have a negative effect on weight loss;
  • Overweight people live on average 9 years shorter.
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