Food is made up of calories, which are simply the measure of energy your body can use from that food item. The number of calories depends on the amount of carbohydrate, fat, protein, and alcohol that are in the food or drink. The table below shows how many calories per gram each of these categories provide. Fat and alcohol have higher calories per gram. This means that more calories are packed into a smaller amount of food or beverage.

 
Carbohydrate
Fat
Protein
Alcohol
Calories per 1 gram
4
9
4
7

Calorie Balance

How well your calories are balanced depends on the amount of calories you take in by eating and the amount of calories you use up through activity. Your weight is the result of this balance. If calories in is equal to calories out, your weight stays the same. If calories in are greater than calories out, you gain weight. If calories in are fewer than calories out, you lose weight. When considering your personal calorie balance, remember that your body also burns calories at rest.  Therefore, you do not have to burn the total amount of calories you ate in order to maintain your weight.​

Tracking

One way to know how many calories you are taking in and how many you are using is to track your food and activity. There are many tools you can use. Some popular options are:

Challenge:

Track your food intake and activity for one day this week using one of the tools above and compare your calories in versus calories out. Make note of any surprises you found, like which foods have more or fewer calories than you expected or how many calories you were able to burn during your activity.