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any of several units of heat defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius (1°C) at a specified temperature. The calorie used in chemistry and biochemistry is equal to 4.184 joules. Symbol cal. See also nutrition.

In referring to the energy content of foods it is customary to use the “large calorie,” which is equal to 1 kilocalorie (kcal). Every bodily process, including the building up of cells, motion of the muscles, and the maintenance of body temperature, requires energy, which the body derives from the food it consumes. Digestive processes reduce food to usable “fuel,” which the body “burns” in the complex chemical reactions that sustain life. The amount of energy required for these chemical processes varies. Factors such as weight, age, activity, and metabolic rate determine a person's daily calorie requirement. Nutrition experts have computed daily calorie requirements in terms of age and other factors. These tabulations serve only as guides; they cannot, of course, embrace all individual variations.

From its daily intake of energy foods, the body uses only the amount it needs for energy purposes. The remainder is stored as fat. If the average adult consumes more calories than the daily requirement, he or she will gain weight. However, if consumption is less than recommended daily requirements, the body will supplement its energy sources by drawing upon stores of fat and the person will lose weight.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Abbreviation for large calorie.


Abbreviation for small calorie.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


calorie (large calorie)


1. calorie (mean calorie)
2. calorie (small calorie)
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Abbreviation for:
calculated average life
chronic airflow limitation
clinical attachment level
computer-assisted learning (Medspeak-UK)
conditional associative learning
coracoacromial ligament
coronary artery lesion
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Abbreviation for small calorie.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about cal

Q. In which sports do you burn the most calories? I heard that in a spinning session you can burn up to 1000 calories and that Bikram yoga is also very good for burning lots of calories. Do you know of other sports?

A. Running and cycling are considered high-expenditure sports. Generally, the higher you get your pulse during the exercise the higher your calorie expenditure is. However, the burning fat is optimal at a certain pulse, usually not the highest you can get yourself to.

You may read more here:

Q. Low calorie desserts - any suggestions? I’m having my in-laws for a dinner next week, and since my husband has started a diet lately I’m looking for a low-calorie desserts to end the low-fat meal I’m preparing. Any idea?

A. You can find suggestions and recipes here:
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Q. Is it true that alcohol has lots of calories? if so, then how can it be that people who are alcoholics are not all very fat?

A. Alcohol carries about 7 Kcal per gram. 1 gram of fat gives 9 kcal & 1 gram of carbohydrate gives 4 kcal. but vast amount of alcohol can suppress the need for food, so they can pass out every afternoon and forget eating. obesity is a better situation. trust me.

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