The Truth about Calories

The fourth instalment of Function Jigsaw’s Fit for Industry programme was delivered to us at Cross Productions by the lovely, inspiring Debbie Bliss. This time entitled ‘The Truth about Calories’, Debbie opened our eyes to what calories really are and how best to burn them.

Recent studies show that many people are getting nearly half their daily calories from pure junk food. The average male should consume 2,500 calories per day and the average female should consume 2,000 calories per day. Children should be consuming between 1,600 – 2,200 per day and boys aged 14-17 should have 2,500 – 3,000 per day (so stock up if you have any adolescent boys in the house!).

So, what is a calorie? It’s a measurement of energy within food seen of packaging and labels as Kcal. We’ve all checked the Kcals on the labels every now and then at least but how accurate are these measurements? Can we trust them? We were shown a study that was conducted to accurately measure the calories in a pork pie. The label stated that it had 370 calories but the study found that it actually had 410 calories. That’s a big difference for calorie counters and misleading to the general public. The same study found that a bangers and mash ready meal said it had 419 calories but it actually had 458. Debbie revealed this information to us to make the point that there is no use relying on calorie counting and that eating healthy, preferably made-from-scratch meals are best.

But possibly most importantly, we talked through ways to burn calories as Debbie has always been adamant that we should enjoy what we eat and not waste too much time counting calories. As a group we discussed what strategies people take to when they go on a ‘diet’ and concluded that often, people think over-exercising, under-eating and eating ready meals will help them achieve their goals.

Debbie shared another study with us that focused on three couples. The first couple were had to have a hard core one-hour session at the gym in the morning. The second couple had to complete four whole hours of housework for the day. And the third couple were told to sit around doing nothing all day in front of the TV. The gym couple burned 834 (male) and 729 (female) calories. The housework couple burned 826 (male) and 629 (female) calories. And the TV couple naturally burned 60 calories per hour meaning it would take 10 hours to burn off a 600 calorie breakfast for example. The idea Debbie was trying to put to us was that calorie counting and putting ourselves through unnecessary limitations and challenges takes the joy out of life. So basically eat and exercise in moderation!

Full of entertaining and surprising facts, Debbie then went onto explain how our bodies digest foods with interactive methods and personal stories making for a fantastic hour of team building. And on top, bespoke helpful advice and massage therapy for each of us has us feeling revived and ready to take on the rest of the week.