Energy Balance

Oct 15, 2021

What is energy balance?

Energy balance is the relationship between “energy in” (calories taken into the body through food and drink) and “energy out” (calories being used in the body at rest or for activity). This relationship, which is defined by the laws of thermodynamics, dictates whether weight is lost, gained, or remains the same (Precision Nutrition). An easier way to view it is energy balance is key, or shall I say, "calories are king"!  Eat more energy (calories) than you burn and you will gain weight over time. Eat less energy (calories) than you burn and you will lose weight over time. And if you are balancing what is coming in and going out, you will maintain your weight.

What is a calorie and where do the calories come from in our food? 

A calorie is a unit of energy extracted from the food we eat that gives us energy to breathe, move and perform daily activities. Your brain is constantly monitoring your calories in and calories out. It’s basically mission control. It receives messages from the body to help balance energy in and energy out. The calories come from the three macronutrients in our food: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Think of a nutrition label 

What is the importance of calories in and calories out or Energy Balance? 

This energy balance determines if you lose or gain weight.  I don’t have to tell you that fueling your body well is going to give you a good result. It’s like a car. A car runs well with the right kind of gas.There are a lot of factors that determine energy in and energy out. But overall, calories in is determined by the foods you eat and calories out is determined by your activity at rest, work or play. Therefore, when we take in energy from food, our body uses it, or stores the excess. But you must keep in mind that as unique individuals our metabolisms work differently.

A few facts to consider when looking at calories in and calories out:

1. No "one" food can make you "fat" only taking in more calories than you put out.

2. Most people eat more than what they think they are eating.

3. Eating too much "healthy or nutrient dense" foods can lead to weight gain.

4. When you restrict your calories aggressively, to lose fat, you tend to retain more water.

5. It's easy to overeat prepackaged & prepared foods because they are tasty with added fats and sugars. This can lead to taking in more than you "think".

6. And if you're counting calories, it’s easy to overeat those prepackaged and prepared foods too because food manufactures can underreport calories by 20%!!

 

In conclusion, CALORIES determine weight loss or weight gain. No matter where the calories come from!  Maintaining a healthy body (including a healthy body weight) is about developing simple, satisfying and sustainable daily habits that help you maintain "energy in" and "energy out."   

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