The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Calories

The Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Calories

Maintaining optimal health is a puzzle to many. Perhaps the biggest piece of that puzzle is proper nutrition. Unfortunately, the human body is incredibly complex and has yet to be fully understood by scientists, so how are you expected to know what is right and what is wrong if the most learned minds in the field have only scratched the surface? It seems as if there is a new study that comes out every week contradicting a study that came out the week before. As confusing as it may be, there are a few basic guidelines and information that seem to be constant, no matter what. 

The first important lesson to learn is what your body requires to survive. Aside from the vitamins and minerals (which we will cover in a minute) the body utilizes 3 main macronutrients; fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Each one of these nutrients serves a specific purpose and is vital to survival.

Fat – A series of studies that were published in the early 80’s that claimed fat consumption would lead to obesity, heart disease, and a slew of other ill effects. This sparked the “low fat craze” that lasted nearly 20 years. Now, more recent research has found that not only were those studies incorrect, but fat is actually a highly beneficial nutrient, specifically Omega -3, Omega -6, monounsaturated, and saturated fats. They provide soluble vitamins, increase metabolism, and provide a source of energy.  Saturated fat alone makes up ½ of the cell membranes within our body. The theory that the consumption of fat will lead to a person becoming fat is a myth.

Carbohydrates – When consumed, carbohydrates are broken down into a sugary form known as glucose. Glucose is the primary source of fuel for the muscles and one of only two substances that can pass through the blood-brain barrier to help support cognitive function.

Protein – Proteins are the buil