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How do you calculate calories?

Calories are vital with regards to intake. We need to understand how to calculate calories if we want to gain the most from fitness and especially weight loss.

Usually we do this by calculating the total calories of a particular meal and combine the others to conclude the total for the day, month and so on.

What is the method used to calculate this?
Posted in Health & Fitness, asked by Fito, 6 years ago. 972 hits.


First to clarify, calories are broken into small calories and large calories. A small calories is 4.2 joules and one large calories is 4.2 kilojoules.
When we talk about one calorie in nutrition we speak of the large calorie. The word kilocalorie just means 1 000 small calories.

In order to calculate calorie intake we need to break down the type of intake and the amount of intake.

Food intake can be broken down into three things:

  • Protein
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates

Next we need to find out how much of this is in the food you eat. For example, a person might have eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast. In that one breakfast alone there will be a certain amount of carbs, fats and proteins.

Each of these has their own calorie content which is as follows:

  • Protein = 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram
  • Fats = 9 calories per gram (with the exception of MCTs which contain 10 calories per gram)

The next step is to find out how much protein, carbs and fats are in your breakfast. Usually you’ll find the numbers on the packaging but we’ll just do this hypothetically.

Usually the packaging will list the carb, fat and protein amounts per 100 grams and per serving.

Suppose the protein content is 20 grams per every 100 grams of meat and there is 200 grams of meat on your plate. This means there is a total of 40 grams of protein. (Meat will also contain fat etc. so you simply calculate the fat amount in the same way for the meat)

With the same method we can tell the carbohydrate amount. If there is 50 grams of carbohydrates per 100 of bread and you have 50 grams of toast on your place, then this means there is 25 grams of carbohydrates.

Suppose you do the same calculation with the fat content and come up with 20 grams of fat.

We are left with something like this:

  • Total protein and carbs = 65 grams.
  • Total fat = 20 grams.

All you have to do now is multiply the amount with their calorie value.

  • Protein carbs contain 4 calories per gram. 65 grams of carbs x 4 = 260 calories.
  • Fat contains 9 calories per gram. 20 grams of fat x 9 = 180 calories.

When we combine both the calorie amounts we are left with a total amount of 440 calories.

It’s important to remember that this is just a system and guideline for calorie intake. The body burns fat, protein and carbohydrates at different rates and also uses protein as a last resort for fuel.

This means that when you burn calories during training, your body will burn certain portions first depending on your intensity levels.

6 years ago
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