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Burning Calories 101: How Your Body Uses Calories for Fuel

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Our body has three functions that help burn calories. Understanding these can make dieting more effective.

Understanding the three ways our body burns calories can make dieting more effective. [Photo=Pixabay]

Calories are the energy found in all foods. We use this energy for all activities, such as breathing, exercising, commuting, brushing teeth, and digesting food. In other words, we eat to live.

However, if we consume more energy than we use, the excess energy is stored as fat in our bodies, leading to weight gain and dieting challenges.

If we understand how the calories we consume are used, dieting can become more efficient, and we can make healthier food choices. So, when does our body use energy?

The basal metabolic rate, which accounts for 60-70% of our daily energy consumption, includes automatic actions necessary for survival, such as breathing, sweating, and shivering when it’s cold. [Photo=Pixabay]

Firstly, our body consumes energy through the ‘basal metabolic rate.’ This rate accounts for 60-70% of our daily energy consumption and includes automatic actions necessary for survival, such as heart beating, breathing, sweating, and shivering when it’s cold.

Because it occupies a large portion of our energy metabolism, increasing our basal metabolic rate is beneficial to make dieting easier and prevent weight gain. To do this, we need to increase the size of our bodies. As the body grows, it needs to move and care for a larger area, thus increasing the basal metabolic rate.

Muscles consume much more energy than fat relative to size, so increasing muscle mass can raise the basal metabolic rate. [Photo=YouTube channel ‘World Famous Exercise Information’]

To increase the size of our bodies, we can either accumulate more fat or build more muscle. However, muscles consume much more energy than overweight relative to their size, so increasing muscle mass is recommended to raise the basal metabolic rate.

The energy used to digest food, known as the thermic effect of food, accounts for about 10% of our daily energy consumption. [Photo=Pixabay]

We also use energy to digest food. This ‘digestive energy,’ known as the ‘thermic effect of food,’ accounts for about 10% of our daily energy consumption.

To absorb and excrete the nutrients in the food we consume, we need about 3-4% of energy for fats, 10-15% for carbohydrates, and 15-30% for proteins. Given that carbohydrates and fats provide 4 and nine calories per gram, we can see that fats have high calories but require less energy to digest. On the other hand, proteins have fewer calories but require the most energy to digest, which is why a protein-rich diet is recommended for weight loss.

Foods are called ‘negative calories’ when the calories used to digest them are more than the calories they provide. [Photo=YouTube channel ‘World Famous Exercise Information’]

Foods known as ‘negative calorie’ foods have calories, but the calories used to digest them are more than the calories they provide, hence the name.

The ‘activity metabolic rate,’ which accounts for 15-30% of our daily energy consumption, refers to the calories burned in all movements. [Photo=Pixabay]

Lastly, our body uses energy when we move. This is known as the ‘activity metabolic rate,’ accounting for 15-30% of our daily energy consumption. Calories are burned during all movements, such as when we go to the gym, take a bath, get dressed, or commute.

This activity metabolic rate is indeed used during exercise, but it also varies greatly depending on our lifestyle. Even if two people with similar physical conditions exercise at the same intensity, the person who moves more daily will use their activity metabolic rate more, gain less weight, and find it easier to maintain a lean body.

For example, athletes can maintain a good physique even if they eat a lot because their job involves exercising, and their additional training consumes a lot of energy.

By understanding these three functions and calculating your daily calorie consumption, you can eat smartly and proceed with a healthy diet.

By. Shin Soo Jung

inews24
content@viewusglobal.com

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