What does it mean to live a lot

Calories: what they are and how much a person needs to live

At the end of the 19th century, kilocalories became the unit of energy for food. The reason for this lay in the conditions at the time. The 19th century was marked by suffering, famine and critical malnutrition among the poor. To counteract these grievances, physiologists worked intensively on nutritional information. They wanted to find out how much food a person needs to survive and how the body uses different foods. During this time, a doctor by the name of Max Rubner established the basis for the table for kilocalories of carbohydrates, fats and protein that is still valid today. Nowadays the case is very different, because the food and beverage industry has developed a lot. In the 21st century, people are counting their calories so as not to exceed their total need. Malnutrition is not an issue for very few people: on the contrary, many follow a diet and voluntarily avoid foods with a high calorific value. The article reveals why this is the case, what calories are and how much a person needs to live.

What are calories

Calories are calories - this statement doesn't help at first. Although most people know that this is the information on the packaging of food and products, very few know what is behind a calorie. First of all, it is important to get the term right. Strictly speaking, these are kilocalories, which can also be found under the abbreviation "kcal". Kilocalories are a unit that indicates the energy stored in a food. It describes the calorific value of a food. In general, the term “calorie” has established itself over the course of time.

To put it simply, kilocalories are energy suppliers. In the body, this energy is converted into heat, which is why the supply of calories is like fuel for the human organism. It can therefore be said that foods with a high calorie content provide the body with more energy than foods with a low calorific value.

How many calories do people need to live?

How many calories a person needs per day depends on various factors. These are based on the one hand on characteristics such as age and gender, on the other hand they are largely dependent on the daily movement and performance balance. Every body burns energy throughout the day. This process is also active at night. This is very important for all bodily functions to function properly. Humans need energy to keep their brain, breathing, metabolism and cardiovascular system on track. In addition, every movement of the body costs energy.

Nowadays it is quite easy to find out what your body needs in terms of calories. Online there is often the option of using a calorie calculator to find the right information for personal consumption. If you want to calculate your basal metabolic rate - i.e. the number of calories you need to live - yourself, you can use the following formulas:

  • Women: Your own body weight in kilograms is multiplied by 24 and 0.9. So for a woman weighing 50 kg this means: 50 x 24 x 0.9 = 1,080 kcal total turnover per day.
  • Men: Your own body weight in kilograms is multiplied by 24 and 1.0. So for a man with 70 kilograms that means: 70 x 24 x 1.0 = 1,680 kcal total turnover per day.

In addition, however, there is also a performance turnover. This includes daily exercise. This means on the one hand the type of daily work and on the other hand the amount of sport. This increases the need for calories. People who do heavy physical work logically have a higher calorie requirement than employees in an office who, for example, sit a lot. Even if these people exercise regularly in the evening, the need is lower than that of physically hard-working people.

Why do people have different calorie requirements?

It's no secret that men, for example, have higher calorie needs than women. According to a report in the American Journal of Physiology, this has to do with people's sleep behavior, with men burning 11 percent more calories than women at night. In addition, different lifestyle habits, the job situation and age are important determining factors for the daily calorie requirement. Nowadays, however, as mentioned at the beginning, there are still special guidelines for daily energy intake. Here the important characteristics for an approximate daily kilo consumption are determined based on age and gender. While men between the ages of 15 and 19 need around 2,500 calories per day, women at this age only need 2,000 kcal. As they get older, this requirement decreases more and more, so that men over 65 years of age only need around 2,000 calories and women have reached 1,600 kcal per day.

The different calorie requirements are also an indication of why some people gain weight faster than others. While some have a real peak burn and even lose weight without daily exercise, there are others who just keep putting on weight. This even happens if these people would consume roughly the same amount. The interplay of basal metabolic rate, active exercise and a healthy diet is crucial here, because every body works differently.

The difference between empty and full calories

In the meantime, there is a real madness about the calories in this country. On the one hand, this has a lot to do with the public and media ideal of beauty, and on the other hand with the fact that the introduction of kilocalories has given every food a value. As a result, not only has calorie counting established itself, which incidentally is still relevant, but also the battle between so-called empty and full calories. The group of empty representatives includes, for example, white flour, fast food and sugar in a variety of forms. The full kilocalories are whole grain products, meat and vegetables. The latter have a high nutrient density, which is why these calories are suitable for weight loss and a healthy diet. Empty kilocalories, on the other hand, lead to increased body fat. While this is important, too much body fat increases the risk of disease and is also an aesthetic problem these days.

18.12.2018

November 27, 2018

© Wissenschaft.de