Introduction

Nutrient is defined as “a substance obtained from food and used in the body to promote growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissues”, or simply as “a substance that provides nourishment”.

Broadly speaking, nutrients are classified into two groups, namely energy-producing nutrients (also called energy-providing nutrients or macronutrients) and micronutrients. Energy-providing nutrients include carbohydrates, fat and protein. Micronutrients often refer to vitamins and minerals.

Definition and Function

Nutrient: Energy (Calorie)

Description:

  • Calorie is an energy measurement unit.
  • One calorie of heat energy is required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
  • 1,000 calories equal 1 kilocalorie (kcal), which is commonly used in measuring food energy.
  • Estimation of energy requirements for healthy individuals takes account of age, gender, body weight and activity level.

Reference Values*:

Age

Men

Women

(year)

(kcal/day)

18-29.9

30-59.9

≥ 60

2400

2350

1950

1900

1850

1700

Note:

  1. The above values are based on an average body weight of 65kg for men and 55kg for women with a low activity level assumed.1
  2. Adjustment may be necessary for: 
  3. individuals who require weight management;
  4. individuals with increased activity level;
  5. pregnant or lactating women; and
  6. individuals with illness, chronic diseases or in post-operative rehabilitation.

(To be continued…)

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