Calories in Foods

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Beyond Nutrition Labels

Nutrition facts come with every package of food or pre-made meal you buy. Yet, because there are so many numbers and hard-to-read lists of ingredients, it can feel like a chore just to flip over the box to read the label. Even if you review the nutritional information, it’s hard to figure out what makes the low-fat mac and cheese lower in fat, why sugar-free cookies are sweet, and how to tell what’s natural vs. added sugar.

YAZIO offers easy-to-read charts that show the nutritional value derived from the calories in food. Alongside the familiar label, our nutrition database displays a pie chart to visualize the breakdown of calories from fat, carbs, and protein. These nutrition charts are available for thousands of foods and products. YAZIO also connects food and fitness by displaying approximately how long it takes to walk, run, swim, or bike off the number of calories in common foods. Regular nutrition facts certainly won’t tell you that!

The Role of Nutrients

There are many different definitions of a balanced diet, and in order to understand them, you need to consider more than the recommended daily values on the nutrition label. Once you learn how many calories your body needs from day to day, it’s important to dig deeper and see if your energy sources – in other words, your food choices – are nutrient-dense and meeting your unique needs.

Each YAZIO calorie chart shows the macronutrients – fat, carbohydrates, and protein – within food. Those are the three main parts that contain energy, and your body needs all of them to function. There’s room for all of these macronutrients in your diet; just be sure that they are healthy varieties, such as fish oil instead of french fries. One aspect of what makes one type of fat better than the other is micronutrients, or the amount of vitamins and minerals that you’ll consume along with the main fuels.

What are Calories?

The flavor in a cooked dish goes far beyond the total ingredients because they elevate one another to make a meal more satisfying than, say, plain carrots. When it comes to the calories in that meal, however, the result is exactly the sum of its parts. To see how much energy is on your plate, you have to work backwards from final bite to original recipe, looking at all the ingredients individually. Knowing calories and other nutrition facts will empower you to lose weight the safe, scientifically proven way.

But hang on, how is energy in what we’re eating? Every body is an engine that needs to be fed – that’s why food is calculated in calories, a scientific unit of energy. Eat extra fuel for your fire, and it gets stored in your body for later. Intake too little gasoline for your revved-up exercise routine, and your body will burn off the extra energy – now in the form of fat – that’s tucked away. Although calories don’t necessarily indicate the nutritional value of each food, they are a way to quantify whether you have too much or too little fuel in your diet.

How to Calculate Calories

The YAZIO website and app will do the math for you, so you don't have to think about the calculations if you choose to keep calorie counting simple. But knowing how that works behind the scenes is a way to gain deeper understanding of healthy eating, and that’s where the nutrition database comes into play. When you become the calorie calculator, you’ll see the exact composition of your favorite foods. For example, it’s easy to recognize that a restaurant cheeseburger is a lot of calories. But which of those calories are good and which ones bad? When you break down a recipe to its ingredients, it’s easier to tweak every dish to be a little healthier based on nutritional information.

Take a close look at your favorite meals, see the nutrition facts of each ingredient, and you won’t necessarily have to give up every comfort food you crave. The first step is to look at the list of ingredients in the recipe and find the caloric value of the amount. In lasagna, for example, the box of noodles alone contains 950 calories. Once you do that for each ingredient, add up the calories and divide by the number of servings. If the entire dish of lasagna serves 6, there would be 158 calories from the noodles per serving. But if the final count is too high, you’ll have to look at the other lasagna ingredients to see how to slash that in half. Maybe there’s too much fatty cheese, which can be replaced with low-fat ricotta. Or the sauce contains too much pork sausage; reduce the amount and add veggies, or look at the calories in food to identify a better option, such as ground turkey.