Calories and their impact on health and nutrition have a negative connotation in the United States. Calories are a buzzed word that many use as an overarching nutritional fact without understanding what they actually are and what their impact is on the body.

So let’s get down to the science of a calorie. Straight from the definition – a calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 degree Celsius. In other words, heat. Better yet, energy. Calories are the energy required for your body to function.

Focus on simple sources and ingredients.

How can calories have such a negative rap when put into context with nutrition? Calories should be praised, they are what helps you do what you do – they are your flow. All food is comprised of calories, better yet, everything that you put in your mouth is comprised of energy. From French fries to kale to skittles to tomatoes, they all have energy, and thus calories. The difference between those foods is the source of that energy. Not all energy is created equal in the eyes of the human body. We are extremely efficient machines, and we are at our best when utilizing simple, non-polymer, non-processed energy, or calories.

Processed energy is a complicated puzzle for your body. The confusion leads your body to do the next simplest thing, store that energy. How do our bodies store energy? As fat. Rather than waste more energy to utilize processed energy, your efficient machine will store that hard-to-process energy around your “favorite” parts of your body. With simple forms of energy such as raw fruits and vegetables, As Dr. Peterson outlined in the previous edition of The Flow, your body can use that energy to fuel the body’s processes without leading to storage.

A calorie is simple, its energy, it is the fuel for your body and everything that you do. It fuels your flow. The source of the calorie is what needs to be the focus. Rather than look at the amount of calories per serving, as the FDA labels state, look at the sources of those calories. Focus on simple, focus on fresh, focus on efficient fuel that your body will love.