Important nutrition facts
Are all calories equal?
In terms of energy yes. A calorie is a calorie regardless of the food source, however your food choice is important as it influences how calories are processed and used within the body. For example 100calories is 3 whole cucumbers but the same amount of calories is in a small chunk of cheese. Although the calories are the same thee nutritional breakdown of thee foods is not. So cheese with its high protein and high fat content would be metabolised differently to the cucumber. This is why it is very important to make sure your daily calories allowance is made up of a wide variety of foods so you get a good balance of nutrients.
What does low energy dense and high energy dense food actually mean?
Energy density is the amount of energy per gram of food. Lower energy dense food provide less calories per gram of food – so you can eat a much larger volume compared to a higher energy dense food. Low energy dense foods tend to have low water and higher fat content, such as biscuits, cheese and nuts. Eating low energy dense foods gives you a lot more for your calories.
What is the difference between Kcal, calories and kilojoules as often all 3 are shown on food labels?
The official term in Kilocalorie – abbreviated to Kcal. Calories, is used as a shortened version of the word kilocalorie. Kilojoules shortened to KJ – are the metric measurements of calories that is why you normally see both on packets, 1Kcal is approximately 4.2kj
Why is tracking what you eat worth doing?
A study recently showed that 1/3 of people generally underestimate what they eat , with men eating around 3000kcals thinking they are eating 2000kcals and women eating on average 2500kcals believing they are eating only 1500kcals. It is this over eating that leads to weight gain and health issues so tracking you food intake will help you see what you are eating. There are plenty of free apps out there. www.myfitnesspal.com is a great one.
How should you split your calorie intake over the day? Having more opportunity to burn off calories will result in less risk of weight gain. If you tend to be more active during the day, it is wise to eat the bulk of your calories across the day to fuel your body. That being said there is absolutely no evidence that eating late at night leads to weight gain. It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose or maintain your weight.