Knowing how many calories your food contains per portion can be tricky when calculating manually, yet it’s one of the most efficient ways to lose weight.

The Lifesum app has a calorie counter free to all users, presenting a fast calorie count to see how much you have left and how to prioritize your food. (Available for free in the App Store & Google Play.)

Calorie counting help you to:

  • Learn about foods and portion sizes
  • Eat whatever you want within reason
  • Get motivated from quick results and following your progress

In-app calorie counting speeds up your journey

When you count calories within the Lifesum app, you save yourself the time and effort of reading the food labels for every single thing you eat, while still getting the nutritional knowledge.

You can compare food to make more conscious choices, as well as plan your day in advance. If you know you’re going out for a sushi dinner, you can track it in advance to see how many calories you are recommended to eat earlier in the day.

Lifesum’s quick-guide to calories

What you want to know when using a food calorie counter.

What are calories?

Calories are a way to measure energy where, scientifically speaking, 1 kcal is the energy required to increase the temperature by 1 C° per 1 kg of water. More commonly viewed, it’s also the energy measure you’ll see on food packages to understand what impact it might have on your body.

When referring to calories consumed or calories within food, we’re generally talking about Kilo Calories. (1000 calories = 1 kilocalorie = 1 kcal)
For example, an apple contains 75 kcal. When saying it out loud, you’ll probably say it contains 75 calories, but what you actually mean is that it contains 75 kilocalories = 75 kcal.

How are calories important in my health journey?

Your body burns around 2000 to 2500 kcal per day, depending on your age, gender and activity level. This means you’ll maintain your weight if consuming that same number of calories daily. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, or more calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight or gain weight.

However, it’s not as harsh as you might think. In order to gain a kg of body fat, you need to eat a surplus of 7000 kcal, which is around the same amount of calories as 6 pints of Ben & Jerry’s. In other words, you rarely gain a kg overnight, but on the other hand, you hardly lose a kg overnight either.

It’s all about being consistent with your nutrition habits, and counting calories provides a great foundation for weight loss as it makes your food intake measurable.

Are all calories created equal?

Watermelon, olive oil, chocolate truffles and chicken fillet

This is what 250 kcal can look like: one whole watermelon, 2 tbls of olive oil, 3 chocolate truffles or 2 chicken fillets.

Carbs, fat, and protein contains different numbers of calories per gram.

While carbs and protein contains 4 kcal/g, fat provides 9 kcal/g, explaining why a fat reduced diet used to be popular to lose weight. However, eating fat — in particular unsaturated fat — is vital for your metabolism, so excluding it from your diet would be a big disservice to yourself.

Protein is also interesting to look at as up to 30% of its calories become body heat. This means that some people only use up 70% of the calories from protein, while still getting all the building blocks their bodies need.

There is another very important factor to take into consideration when talking about calories: satiety. How satisfied, full and energized do you feel after eating a certain food type? While it’s easy to reach 500 kcal of candy, you’ll struggle to eat 500 kcal of chicken fillet. You could in theory lose weight from only eating candy, but you’ll certainly feel like crap, hungry all the time, and with your energy level at rock bottom. In other words, it’s very important to choose nutrient dense calories to lose weight in a healthy manner.

This is why Lifesum has both a calorie and macro counter. To learn about macros, read our Guide to tracking macros here.

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