Calories and Fat Calories explained

My husband and I are facilitating a study at the church on Wednesday nights—The Daniel Plan. Last week we discussed exercise and food.

I have always been a “calorie counter.” When I was in Jr. High School (now known as “Middle School”), I had a really good health teacher. He told us the importance of counting calories. Not only was it important to look at the calorie number on foods, but it was also important to look at the “Calories from Fat” or “Fat Calories” (products will use one or the other).

He explained to us that calories are good—we need calories to function. Calories were like gas for a car. We use calories even when we’re not doing anything—like sitting or just breathing. If we don’t have enough calories then we start to forget things or feel really weak.

When I look at foods, I look at both the “Calories” and the “Calories from Fat.” Everyone should consume a certain amount of calories per day:

The calories in food tells me how many calories will count towards my daily intake. For example, if I am supposed to have 2,000 calories a day, then this candy bar will account for 210 of it.


The problem though, is that 110 of those calories are fatty.


The way I explain this is that “Calories” in general are like wood you burn in a fireplace. The higher number of “Fat Calories” or “Calories from Fat” indicates how wet the wood is that you are trying to burn. Wood is supposed to be dry so it can burn better, but if the wood is saturated with water then it will not burn very well—this is “Calories from Fat.” The lower the “Calories from Fat” the better your body will “burn” and use it– the higher the number, the wetter the wood.

Here is a picture of the calories for a particular cereal.


The amount of calories per serving with milk is about the same as the candy bar, but the “Calories from Fat” or “Fat Calories” is much lower. This means that I can run a couple of miles to burn the 200 calories from the cereal, but since the candy bar has 110 “Fat Calories,” then that means I will have to run about four miles to burn off the candy bar.

My body will burn around 100 calories for one mile of running, but it will burn only about 25 “Calories from Fat” for each mile. In a way, my body will need to heat up to a point where it dries the wood (“Fat Calories”) so that it can be burned– that’s why I will need to run double the distance if I eat the candy bar. So it’s important to choose foods that are low in “Calories from Fat”/ “Fat Calories.”

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

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