If you’ve ever heard the phrase “food is fuel,” you might already have a good idea what a calorie is. The body requires fuel (or energy) to do everyday things, like talking, walking, or even breathing. Food is the source of this energy, and a calorie is a measurement of how much energy is stored in food. In food, calories come from three areas: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates provide the body’s main source
of energy, and come in two forms:
simple and complex. Avocados are only 4 percent carbs, and this portion is mostly made up of complex carbohydrates, which means they digest more slowly and are an ideal food for people with type 2 diabetes. Protein, meanwhile, helps your body fight off infections, builds and repairs body tissue, and can be an energy source for your body. One Hass avocado contains 4 grams of protein, which is one of the highest amounts coming from a fruit.
Fats are a third source of energy that helps you feel sated after a meal and helps absorb vitamins. But there are good fats and bad fats. Bad fats are known as saturated and trans fats. They raise the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in your blood, which creates plaque build-up in the arteries and can lead to stroke or heart disease. Good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they raise the level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which may lower your risk for heart disease.
Calories are funny. Your body needs a certain amount of calories every day to survive, but what’s needed depends on the person. Nutritional labels on food are often calculated for a person who consumes 2,000 calories a day. But where your calories come from (carbohydrates, proteins, or fats) matters. At the rate of 2,000 calories per day, you shouldn’t eat more than 65 grams of fat. As much fun as it would be to eat 1,000 calories of ice cream and 1,000 calories of bacon, it wouldn’t be realistic. Sure, you’d have some energy, but you’d be missing out on fiber, vitamins, and minerals. And your body needs those to survive.