What You Should Know About Body Fat & Calories

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Getting yourself in shape takes more than just a high-intensity workout routine. You have to be very aware of what you’re putting into your body. That’s not to say that some athletes or celebrities can bend the rules a bit with their food intake, but that’s not usually the norm. For the average person, watching what you eat means understanding two major things: calories and body fat.

Even if you buy the best fiber supplement for a keto diet at your local vitamin shop, it still doesn’t compare to understanding how fat and calories are related. By taking the time to look at how those two concepts are unique and how they affect your general health over time, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about your health. As part of your journey to a leaner, healthier you, consider the following:

What Are Calories?

Calories, contrary to popular belief, are not the same as body fat. A calorie is a measurement of the energy amount released when the body digests and absorbs food. Specifically, one calorie can heat one liter of water 1°C. If you’re looking to go even further in your calorie knowledge, there’s even a difference between a calorie and a Calorie.

A calorie is, as mentioned, a measure of food energy. However, a Calorie (or kilocalorie) is equal to 1,000 calories. This is actually what’s measured when reading nutrition facts labels on your packaging. This may seem misleading, especially if you are very concerned about your caloric intake. However, it is more of a discrepancy between nutritionists and scientists like engineers who use each definition in their respective fields. For the sake of discussion, a “calorie” in this article will refer to the kilocalorie.

What Is Body Fat?

Body fat, by contrast, is a collection of fat cells that contain lipids like cholesterol. These fat cells are not permanent fixtures in your body. If you’re curious about how fat leaves the body during weight loss, consider all the processes your body goes through each day. Most of it is breathed out as carbon dioxide, while remaining portions are lost through urine or water. Despite its bad reputation, body fat in and of itself is not detrimental as it can work to protect your body’s organs and work as a fuel reserve. The issue, however, is your body fat in relation to your body weight.

Your body weight is your overall mass measured in kilograms or pounds, which includes your body fat. From a general health perspective, your body weight is more important than your body fat percentage. Over time with aging, lean body mass and weight decrease, and body fat increases, even if body weight remains the same. Conversely, you could actually be losing body fat but not pounds should you build your muscles, as muscles are more dense than fat. Just keep that in mind if you decide to add lifting weights to your new healthy lifestyle approach.

What Happens If You Have Too Much Body Fat?

As most doctors will tell you, the more excess weight you have, the greater your health risks become in the long run. On the mild side, it can affect your mobility and general comfort level physically and mentally. However, having excessive body fat for a long time can be detrimental, and even deadly.

Long-term effects of excessive body fat include obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, among others. It can affect everything from your skin to your eyes and fertility. In fact, obesity can even lead to various cancers. As a result, it is important to monitor your calorie intake and make any changes needed to be healthy.

How Do Calories Relate To Weight Loss?

Although calories and body fat are not the same, there is a rough correlation between the number of calories you take in and your weight. If you consume more calories than you burn, your body can store any excess calories as body fat in practically unlimited amounts. Your first thought might be to eat less in order to take in fewer calories, but it’s more complicated than that.

To ensure getting a proper calorie amount while losing weight, it’s recommended to combine a lower-calorie diet with increased physical activity. This will ensure that you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in.

What Can You Eat To Reduce Body Fat?

Conventional wisdom says that in order to reach your ideal weight, you need to eat foods that contain less fat. While this is true, it ignores the important role calories play in your body fat and body weight. As mentioned earlier, you will need to burn more calories than you take in to reduce your body fat.

Choosing low-calorie food options is a good start for weight maintenance. This will give you the flavor you need for some of your favorite foods while reducing your caloric intake. Lean meats, whole grains, and nuts are also suitable substitutes for your normal snacks. You also need to consider the balance between your fat intake and calorie intake. Taking in moderate amounts of foods with fat will still provide some nutritional value. For example, if you take in 2,000 calories per day, you should have no more than 78 daily fat grams. Doing so will help you stay in a healthy range.

Understanding body fat and calories will go a long way towards hitting your health goals. Whether you are trying to get into beach-ready shape or simply trying to take care of yourself, knowing about proper weight loss and food intake will make you a happier and healthier person, no matter what the number says on the weight scale.

Ready to lose body fat? Know a weight loss secret that you want to share? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think about body fat and calories!

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Adam Reeve has been a professional personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 10 years. He is a freelance blogger who specializes in diet and a healthy lifestyle. He writes about maintaining health by adopting better eating and exercise. Adam is a certified personal trainer at a local gym. He is also a life coach, wellness writer, and low carb diets enthusiast.

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