Are calories good or bad?

Everyone knows there are calories in our food, but what do you really know about calories and their importance in our diets?

A look at what calories truly are and what you should know about them. | MSU Extension

A look at what calories truly are and what you should know about them. | MSU Extension

When you think about calories, many people view them from the standpoint that if you eat too many, you will gain weight. It is easy to understand that anything you eat has calories associated with it, but what else do you know about calories and how does that information affect how and what you eat? Let’s look at what calories truly are and what you should know about them.

A calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. According to the dictionary, a kilocalorie is a unit of measure used to express the heat output of an organism or the energy value for a particular food. While a kilocalorie is used to measure food calories, it can also be used to measure energy in joules, making one very different from the other. Now that you know the difference, let’s looks at the benefits of calories.

The calories you eat are transformed in the body into energy for use. As a result, everyone needs calories because everyone needs energy to survive. You need calories to fuel the work, play and activity you do each day. While using calories is most commonly associated with being active, you also need calories to sleep, believe it or not.

While calories are an essential part of our lives, it is important to eat the right type of calories to keep you healthy. Calories that you consume when you drink soft drinks and eat donuts, for example, are not what you would consider healthy calories. You still have to check that the foods and calories you are consuming are nutrient-dense to make sure the food is a healthy calorie that will be beneficial for your body.

Michigan State University Extension recommends you eat a well-balanced meal with calories choices that provide vitamins and nutrients that will be beneficial to your body, so you can perform at an optimal level.

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