How many calories are there in foods?

Those of you who follow this blog regularly may have noticed my interest in diets, weight loss and a crusade for nutrition literacy, i.e., knowing how many calories are in any food. Here are a few posts on weight loss and healthy eating.

What to eat

Rules for eating

Choices in eating

Irrespective of your beliefs, or lack of them, regarding the importance of calories in dieting and weight loss, I have always maintained that most people know more about trigonometry than the caloric content of foods. Without the knowledge of how many calories there are in a handful of any particular food, we are doomed to getting fat through ignorance. Cosmetic surgery and calories have very close photo

Calories are a measure of the heat given off (energy) when food is burned.  If you are lying in bed in a room at a perfect temperature, the amount of calories you need to be kept alive and keep your organs working is about 1,000. This is called basic metabolic rate (BMR)The larger you are, the more calories you need and the higher your BMR and your daily caloric requirements.

Our bodies typically need about 2,000 calories a day to function at a normal level: working, a bit of exercise, walking around, etc. Manual workers or athletes will need closer to 3,000 calories, and diabetics (who must watch their weight) need between 1200 – 1,800 calories.

Most diets try to limit your caloric intake to between 600 and 1,000 calories a day. For example, the new 5-2 Diet lets you have 600 calories per day for two days a week.

Why is this important to a cosmetic plastic surgeon? Well, apart from  a basic interest in my cosmetic patients’ health, it is important for them to be eating healthy diets before and after surgery.

A healthy diet before plastic surgery will ensure that the patient has adequate stores of protein, vitamins and the trace elements needed for the healing process and scar formation.  Vitamin C is essential to forming a scar—and to healing.

After surgery, the requirements for calories actually increase as our bodies heal and good sources of protein are essential to the process.

So how much is 200 calories? See this video on you tube amongst many others  200 calories

Caveat: there are many things you should not eat! Three Cinnabons a day will give you 2,000 calories but is not a good food choice! A varied diet rich in protein, vegetables and some fat but with less carbs (donuts and french fries) is best. See the posts at the beginning of this article for ideas.

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS