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Calories & Energy

A calorie (more specifically a kilocalorie or kcal) is the standard unit for measuring energy. This is the unit used when determining how many calories from food are consumed and how many calories are used or "burned" to lose or maintain our weight.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the minimum amount of energy required by the body to perform normal body functions. RMR accounts for approximately 80-90% of the dailiy caloric intake. An additional 10-15% is used to digest food.

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To determine the calories used in the remaining 10-30% an activity factor is used to account for the calories to perform acivities above normal body functions (ie: gardening, jogging, walking up stairs). Activity factors usually range from 1-2.5 (1 being sedentary and 2.5 being very active). The activity factors are used in conjunction with the RMR to determine an individuals daily energy calorie needs.

There are many ways to determine how many calories you require each day. Professionals can measure RMR and calorie needs, and give a very specific number using an indirect calorimeter. This measures the amount of oxygen used and amount of carbon dioxide produced. This information is then used to determine a person's RMR.

Last updated: 12/16/2014 5:03:20 PM