Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in food. If we know how many calories there are in food, it can help us to balance the energy we put into our bodies with the energy we use, maintaining a healthy weight.
Energy in food is measured in calories just as we measure the weight in food in kilograms.
An average man needs around 2,500kcal (10,500kJ) a day and for an average woman, around 2,000kcal (8,400kJ) a day. These figures can vary as it depends on the following factors:
- Levels of physical activity
- Some hormones
- Some medications
- Being unwell
If you are trying to lose weight, the best approach is to eat less food high in calories and be more active. That is because when we eat and drink, we’re putting energy (calories) into our bodies then our bodies use up that energy (calories), so the more physical activity we do, the more energy (calories) we use.
Maintaining a healthy and stable weight is when we put energy into our bodies the same as the energy we use/burn by normal bodily functions and physical activity. If we put in more energy than we use, but then there are days when we use more than the energy we consume, the weight remains balanced.
Gaining weight is when we regularly put in more energy (food and drink) than we use, therefore, over time, it all builds up and that extra energy is stored by the body as fat.[clear-line]
The videos were made by SignHealth with help and information from the NHS. For further information or advice on Calories, please click NHS Choices.