Are Calories same as Energy?


There seems to be some general confusion when it comes to counting calories and energy from the food we eat. When you read the calorie content of any food from its label, it’s wrong to assume that the food will translate into those many calories.

Let’s make it clear as to what the scientists meant when they used the term calorie:

“Calories are a term created by food scientists to describe the energy released when a unit of food is completely burned (called complete combustion). On burning, the energy released is called the calories of the food”.

Many people make the mistake of counting calories as energy and as a result whenever they feel weak they end up eating more of high calorie foods in the mistaken belief that they will feel more energetic.

Coming to energy, in food it’s a very tricky thing to try to measure energy as such. It all depends on how the human body absorbs, digests and assimilates different foods. It actually depends a lot on the type of each food and the interplay of the food with every individual person’s constitution. For instance sprouts are known to release maximum energy in a person but a large scoop of ice cream may be far higher in calories but invariably giving you very little energy.

Effects of calories and energy

When a woman is pregnant, her family will tend to feed her high calorie diet which is invariably low energy food; things like fried dried fruits, which do no good to either the mother or child. In other cases people sometimes feel tired and lethargic despite eating well or over eating, so they fail to understand why they are low on energy? The fact is that eating healthier foods with lesser amount of calories such as salads, good leafy vegetables and lean meats is much more productive.

When it comes to children, mothers tend to give them lots of milk, butter or ghee in the belief this will energize the child, when in fact too much dairy only makes them lazier.

Whenever we feel weak we end up taking a sugary fruit juice or even a soft drink and sometimes even a nice hot cup of excessive sugar plus creamy coffee; the truth is that drinking such a beverages repeatedly results in over stimulation of the nerves and lack of concentration, an addictive pattern can set in and in the long run is rather damaging to our systems.

Here’s a small list of foods high in energy:
  • Sprouts made of almost all pulses are great for energy.
  • Raw salads made of fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges papaya, cucumbers, carrots and many more.
  • Fruits have a natural fructose content which can give you an instant burst of energy.
  • Non-roasted nuts are very healthy and high on the energy charts as well.
  • Lightly sautéed vegetables and vegetable juices.
Here’s a list of foods high on calories and low on energy:
  • Butter, ghee, full cream milk and processed cheese are all very tasty and nice but an excess of that given to children only make them lazy. Adults should try and avoid the above as much as they can, if one does partake of the above foods then, its best to work off the excess calories by exercising!
  • Fried foods are a big no-no because when you fry things they absorb so much oil only making it fattier.
  • Roasted nuts
  • Sugar, even when it comes to adding it in coffee/tea, try to cut down on the amount while sugar can give you a slight energy buzz there’s no real nutritional value in it.
  • Chocolates and desserts.

It’s wise to be particular about what you eat, a balance of calories is important; the energy will come when you eat the right kinds of food.


  1. Now I know why I feel fresh and active when I’m fasting and taking a lot of fruits
    and feel like sleeping when I eat food items which are fried and hypercaloric.

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