A Calorie is a unit of measurement, sort of like an inch or a teaspoon, used to measure energy. People use Calories in their everyday lives to make sure they are feeding their bodies the right amount of energy. This is important because your body expends energy all day long, every day, in order to do everything from breathing to driving cars to sky diving. If you don’t eat enough energy, then your body will start to run down, like a car running on an empty gas tank. If you eat too much energy, your body will store the extra as fat, and you will gain weight. Most doctors agree that adults need between 2,000 and 3,000 Calories a day in order to stay the same weight.
Without a common way of measuring the energy in food, it would be very hard to tell if you were giving your body what it needs. But because Calories are a widespread and easy to use measurement, they can give you an easy way to compare different foods.
Let’s say that you are shopping for cereal. Two different brands and flavors might look a lot alike, but if you check the number of Calories per serving, you would be able to choose which one is better for you. Or if you are at a restaurant, and are trying to choose between a bacon cheeseburger and a Greek salad, if the Calories in each meal are marked on the menu, you can easily compare two meals that really have nothing in common otherwise. If you are craving a snack, it can be very helpful to know that an apple has about 95 Calories, but a donut has about 195.