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Difference Between Calories and Fat

burgerCalories vs Fat
We often tend to think of fat and calories along the same lines. Do they mean the same thing? Before you start equating one with the other, get an idea about their basic differences. You will be surprised!

A calorie is basically a unit of energy. So, if the label on your favorite can says 500 calories, it basically means that the amount will give you energy worth 500 calories. It is important to note that most of the labeled foodstuff nowadays say calories, but actually denote kilocalories. I kilocalorie=1000calories, so think before you grab that bag of chips! Don’t worry, though. The exercise meter also monitors your loss in kilocalories.

You can get calories from a number of sources, fats being one of them. Let’s put it this way- all fats give you calories, but all calorie providing foods are not fats. You get calories from most foods you take in.
There are six nutrients your body needs, in order to survive healthily. These are

  1. Carbohydrates
  2. Vitamins
  3. Minerals
  4. Proteins
  5. Water
  6. Fats

Only fats, carbohydrates and proteins provide you with calories. Carbohydrates and protein provide you roughly 4 calories for every gram. Fats, on the other hand, give you around 9 calories per gram. Another difference you need to know relates to how the body utilizes the calories and the fats. The calorie or energy from a food is released when it is broken down or digested. If you burn up these calories by working out, good for you. If you don’t, it is stored as fat in your body. So, even if you are going for fat free food and are not utilizing the calories with some activity, you will store it as fat after some period of  time. Food for thought, isn’t it?

So, why is fat identified as the culprit in all diets? Well, there are good reasons behind this. Take a look at what fat does to your body:

  • Some fats raise the level of cholesterol in your body. This is a leading cause of heart attacks.
  • Fatty foods like chips and bacon have higher calories, but very little nutritive value. Even lean meat and fish will give you calories, but they will also provide nutrition to you in the form of proteins and vitamins.
  • Most fats have twice the amount of calories per gram compared to other foods. What does that mean for your diet? Well, you basically eat twice as much carbohydrates and proteins for the same amount of calories.

If you are trying to lose weight, you will need to control your total calorie intake, not just the amount of fatty foods you eat. Remember, the excess calories from even low fat foods are stored away as fat. The best way out of this is to control consumption of high calorie food and go for exercises regularly. That is the best way to keep slim, while munching away at the same time!

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