At Jake Campus Nutrition, we understand that calories are KING when it comes to achieving your body composition goals. When it comes to either losing or gaining weight/muscle, if you aren’t aware of the energy you are consuming VS. your energy output, how are you going to progress with your results?
As always, the rule to achieving your goals are calories in VS calories out. Our JCN Calorie Calculator can be used as a guideline for the number of calories you would consume each day based on your individual personal information such as age, weight and daily activity levels.
SO, WHAT ARE CALORIES AND MACROS?
Calories – Calories are a unit of energy used to express the nutritional value of foods. Scientifically, this is a unit of energy equivalent to the heat energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C (now often defined as equal to 4.1868 joules).
Macronutrients – Macronutrients, also referred to as “macros”, consist of the 4 categories in which all foods will be categorised into or have components of.
The main three recognised are protein, carbohydrates & fats. The fourth less recognised macronutrient is alcohol.
Each has a different purpose and role in the body, each has a calorie amount allocated to them per gram also which is how our daily energy requirements are made up.
Protein – Protein is essential for the body as we need it to maintain muscle mass. It contains four calories per gram. Eating dietary protein is necessary to stimulate muscle protein synthesis which is the building of muscle tissue that occurs after exercise (an activity in which muscle protein breakdown occurs.) This has a positive impact on metabolic rate being that the more muscle you carry the higher the amount of energy from food your body needs. It is therefore important to maintain a high protein intake in a calorie deficit to preserve muscle tissue. To build muscle, protein is the key nutrient for recovery and progress.
Carbs- Easy to consume and our body’s preferred energy source. Carbs are non-essential meaning we can survive without them but there are lots of benefits of including them. Carbs provide a huge base for many meals, people enjoy eating them (the best diet is one you love!) and they provide the most available form of energy for training performance.
Carbs are four calories per gram so give us the same energy value as protein. There are many different types of carbs.
Fats – Dietary fats have had a bad rap as many people think that if you eat fat you get fat, but we know that this isn’t the case! Yes, they are easiest stored as fat but without a calorie surplus this can’t happen.
Fat is required in the diet to assist hormonal production. To maintain optimal levels of both male and female sex hormones, a diet requires no less than 20% of total calorie intake coming from fats. Optimal levels are important for weight management, libido, bone mineral density, etc.
Fats are the most calorie dense containing nine calories per gram.
Alcohol- Alcohol is a huge part of some people’s social lives. It is also the fourth macro with seven calories per gram making it the second most energy dense macro to fat.
The calories in alcohol need to be considered in overall energy intake. After consumption it is metabolised to acetic acid which is then excreted in urine or used as a primary energy source.