HEALTH CENTER

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Balancing Calories by Estefani Lopez

estefaniA calorie is a unit of energy. Calories are essential for human health and everyone requires different amounts of energy per day depending on age, size and activity levels. We acquire this energy from food and drink. Balancing calories is important because if your calorie intake is too low or too high, you will eventually experience health complications.

It’s important to know the number of calories your body needs to eat to maintain a healthy weight. Not everybody requires the same number of calories each day. The ideal calorific consumption depends on several factors including your overall general health, physical activity, gender, weight, height and shape. There are many apps and websites where you can type in your weight, height, age and gender and it can calculate how many recommended calories you need to intake to maintain, gain or lose weight. Pretty cool!

When a person consumes more calories (more energy IN) than energy out, they may become overweight. These extra calories are stored in the body as fat. The more calories that are burned off than consumed, the more energy that is coming OUT, and as a result, weight loss occurs. To obtain a healthy weight and to prevent chronic illnesses, it is important to consider balancing your calories. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that the balance of calories happens over time which will determine one’s weight long term.

How many calories do I need? Consumption of calories will depend on several factors such as your age, gender, and activity level. Here is a quick pocket chart to use as a reference.

calorie balance

Our food intake will depend on how many calories we burn off. Please note that it is important to not only pay attention to what you eat, but also the size.  Do you know how food portions have increased in the past two decades? The following are some examples:

Portion Distortion:calorie balancing

Example: Spaghetti and meatballs

CALORIES IN (20 years ago): 500 calories for 1 cup of spaghetti with sauce and 3 meatballs

CALORIES IN (today): 1,025 calories for 2 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs

Calorie Difference: 525 calories

CALORIES OUT: to burn 525 calories, it would take 2 hours and 35 minutes of house cleaning

Example: Turkey Sandwich

CALORIES IN (20 years ago): 320 calories

CALORIES IN (today): 820 calories

Calorie Difference: 500 calories

CALORIES OUT: to burn 500 calories, it would take 2 hours and 35 minutes of house cleaning

WHAT IS A HEALTHY WEIGHT?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight will depend on diet, physical activity, and balancing out calories.

TIPS TO A HEALTHY WEIGHT

  • Balance calories – consume the calories you need and be physically active.
  • It is recommended to do about 30-60 minutes of physical activity daily.
  • Avoid big portions- use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass when serving food. When eating out, choose a smaller size portions, share a dish, or take other part of meal home.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies, whole grains, and unprocessed food. These foods have important nutrients our bodies need, such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber.
  • Eat less high-fat, high-calorie foods. These included foods with added sugars and salt. Examples: cookies, cake, candies, pizza, bbq ribs, bacon, hot dogs, sugary drinks.

Source:

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/calories/

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/healthy-weight-basics/balance.htm

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/sites/default/files/PrintMaterials/DGTipsheet1ChooseMyPlate.pdf

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/portion/documents/PD1.pdf

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.