Food is an integral part of the human civilization. Different regions and cultures are characterized by their cuisines. The food industry is a multi million dollar industry. Today’s generation has access to a variety of cuisines from all over the world, prepared at their friendly neighborhood restaurant.
It is important, not to forget, in the midst of this gastronomical orgy, the main reason why we consume food. Food tastes good, but that is not why we eat it. We eat food because our body extracts all the nutrients that it requires from this food. These nutrients are essential for survival, growth, reproduction and for maintaining good health.
The daily activities of the body require energy, which is also supplied by the food we eat. The energy value of food is measured in units called calories. Food also supplies our body with proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber. It must be kept in mind that the body requires these nutrients in a specific amount. Any deficiency or excess of these nutrients can lead to ill-health.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is essentially a unit for measuring heat energy. It is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. The energy that is contained in a particular food item is measured in terms of calories and kilocalories. It is also used to estimate the energy requirements of the human body.
What calories do?
The human body requires energy for a variety of activities such as breathing, pumping blood, walking, sitting, thinking, etc. Every action that you perform requires a certain amount of energy. Even when the body is at rest, it still requires energy, albeit at a lower amount, to ensure that circulation and respiration is maintained. Energy is also expended to maintain the body at the optimum temperature for survival. Young children and infants also require energy to aid their body’s growth process.