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Physical Effort and Food Energy

Fitness for mind and body.

In terms of nutrition, energy is measured in calories. However, in reality, from both a biochemical and physiological standpoint, calories are not equivalent depending on the food products in which they are found.

Regardless of the calorie content, a food product is measured in terms of its nutritional value, in other words, according to what it contributes to the organism. Hence, evaluation of the calorie/nutriment balance is essential for each food product.

However, the caloric value of any particular type of food is in no way indicative of its nutritional value.

Calories in foods

For example, water, which has some nutritional value, provides zero calories. On the other hand, refined sugar, low in nutrients, has high caloric value. Conversely, potted pork mince, of relatively less caloric value than butter or margarine, affords many more nutritional qualities such as proteins, vitamin B, etc.

Specific nutriment requirements are estimated according to physiological and nutritional theory, and also in relation to individual situations such as pregnancy, breast-feeding, high level sports activities, teenager growth, old age, etc. They also must take account of cultural differences.

Actually, use of food molecules for energy acquisition requirements makes necessary the presence of nutriments and micro-nutriments. Hence, highly nutritional foods necessarily have substantial caloric density.

Thus, some nutritionists have even come to the point of distinguishing particularly "favorable" calories.

"Calories" do not all play the same role from the standpoint of energy. Some nutriments, the content of which in food is expressed in calories, are primarily used for construction; and others exclusively for energy production. For example, the use of proteins is very limited for energy production, but they are indispensable for the development of certain cellular structures. Nevertheless, they still remain caloric nutrients.

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