Calories - What Is The Need Of Your Body?
Food intake fuels the body for growth, energy and repair. The Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are broken down by the man's digestive system into simple components of simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel of the body, though proteins and fats can also be converted into energy. The energy that one gains from food is measured commonly in calories. The measurement of joule or kilojoules has of late replaced calories. A calorie is the amount of heat required for increasing the temperature of one gram of water by 1C. Also, one calorie has the same amount of energy value as 4.186 kilojoules. Thus, units of measurement allow one to calculate the amount of energy a food contains and the amount of energy that is burned up during exercise.
How Many Calories Are Needed?
It is difficult to number the amount of calories needed for an individual. It is so because energy requirements tend to differ from one person to the next due to genetic predisposition, build, gender, age, metabolism, environment and amount of regular physical activity. Also the energy requirements of the individual also differ from one day to the next and changes as one grows older. For example:
Young children and adolescents will always need high amounts of energy for fueling their growth and development.
Women also need more energy during certain stages of their reproductive lives, like pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is thought that the daily energy needs increase on average by about 1,800kJ for a pregnant woman and around 2,500kJ during breastfeeding.
Also, muscle tissue has a big appetite for calories. Higher the muscle mass one has, more the kilojoules one will burn.
Generally, men tend to have higher energy requirements than women as they have more muscle tissue.
As one ages, activity levels are reduced, causing a loss of muscle tissue and so the energy requirements also tend to decrease. There are various other age-related changes to the metabolism, which also contribute to reduced energy requirements. However, it is not clear whether muscle lost during ageing is a result of the ageing process or reduced activity.
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