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Calories are a measurement of heat

The definition of calorie that you might find in a science book is that a calorie is the amount of heat required to raise one gram of water one degree centigrade.

There are more technical details to it actually. For example, it depends on the air pressure and the temperature you start at.

Little calories

If you were to put one gram of water in a pan and heat it up and raise the temperature one degree centigrade, that would take one calorie.

And when science people write "calorie" they use a small "c". It's a small "c" because it's a small amount of energy.

But it's real energy. Calories are real energy. Real heat.

Big calories

Now that isn't much water and that isn't much heat. So to make it easier to work with there is another measurement, and that is kilocalorie.

A kilocalorie is 1,000 of those little calories. And when the science people mean kilocalorie they write Calorie with a capital "C".

See, when you write calorie that means little calorie. And when you write Calorie that means big calories.

Food calories are big calories

Now, your food is in kilocalories. So that means, for example, that 100 Calories in your diet is 100 of these big calories -- 100 kilocalories.

So what, you say? Well, this tells you that there is a lot of energy in food.

If you had one Calorie of food -- a very tiny amount of food -- and you used the energy to heat up some water, you could raise the temperature of 1000 grams of water one degree.

Calories in food

Now, when you see the word "calories" with food, it is always the big calories. It ought to be written Calories but it's not. With food it's written "calories" but it's still 1000 calories -- a kilocalorie.

So 100 calories (the amount of calories in a small apple) could raise the temperature of a liter of water 100 degrees centigrade.

And since there are 100 degrees centigrade between freezing and boiling, that means you could take a liter of ice and put it in a pan and heat it until it boiled with the energy in an apple. That is a lot of energy.

So what does this have to do with weight loss?

There is a lot of energy in food. And if you don't burn it off somehow you will store it as fat.

You'll gain weight and you won't have a healthy body fat percentage.

You might not like to think about calories. You might not want to count calories or measure calories.

Points and portions

You'd rather think about portions. Or points. Or some other system. But what are all these points and portions based on?

They're based on calories. The basic science -- the physics of weight loss and obesity -- is related to calories.

Anything else you use is just a way to simplify things. And sometimes it's a way to avoid facing facts about being overweight.

Fat is the storage form of energy

Any calories you take in that are in excess of what your body uses are stored as fat. And even a little bit of food has a lot of energy. Good or bad that's the way it is.

That's why you don't feel like you eat that much but you are still overweight. So how do you gain weight?

You gain weight by taking in a little extra -- not a lot but a little extra -- over a long period of time. And eventually, unfortunately, you end up unhealthy, unhappy and overweight.

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

Most popular pages:

These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

You can always reach us:

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  • Clearwater, FL 33761
  • (727) 771-8282

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