The main difference between carbs and calories is that the carbs are organic compounds, comprising of one H2O molecule per carbon atom whereas calorie is the measurement of the energy content of a particular food or the amount of energy released by a physical activity. Furthermore, the main role of carbs in the body is to serve as an energy source while calories come from carbs, proteins or fat.
Carbs and calories are two important parameters when talking about the energy used by the body during various functions and basal metabolism.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Carbs
– Definition, Structure, Role in the Body
2. What are Calories
– Definition, Production, Role in the Body
3. What are the Similarities Between Carbs and Calories
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Carbs and Calories
– Comparison of Key Differences
Basal Metabolic Rate, Calories, Carbs, Complex Carbs, Energy Source, Simple Carbs
What are Carbs
Carbs or carbohydrates are biomolecules made up of carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O), and hydrogen to oxygen ratio is 2:1. The main functions of carbs in the body are as follows.
- Serve as an energy source, regulating the body glucose
- Store energy inside the body by building macromolecules
- Spare the use of proteins and fats as an energy source
Based on the complexity, two types of carbs can be identified; complex carbs and simple carbs. Since complex carbs take time for digestion and absorption by the body, they are also known as good carbs. Complex carbs are polysaccharides such as starch, glycogen, cellulose, chitin, etc. On the other hand, simple carbs are readily digested and absorbed by the body; hence, they are identified as bad carbs. Simple carbs quickly raise the blood glucose level. Both disaccharides and monosaccharides are simple carbs. They are found in milk, fruit, and vegetables.
What are Calories
A calorie is a unit used to measure the amount of energy present in food. It can also be used in measuring the amount of energy lost by the body during a physical activity. Therefore, calories are essential in maintaining the basal metabolic rate and the physical functions of the body. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) refers to the rate of energy expenditure per unit time by endothermic animals at rest. This energy is used to perform the basic functions of the body such as breathing, blood circulation, and cell production.
All types of food contain a specific amount of calories. Some foods among them are significant sources of calories such as peanut butter, candy bars, cheese, sausages, processed meat, and fried foods. Animal fats, fish oils, and vegetables are also considered rich sources of calories. This means, apart from carbs, both proteins and fat can also produce calories. Generally, fat is the most calorie-rich source and it produces 9 calories per gram. Both carbs and proteins can produce 4 calories per gram.
Similarities Between Carbs and Calories
- Carbs and calories are two types of parameters important in describing energy usage of the body.
- Energy is used in various metabolic reactions, repair, building, and maintenance of the body.
- Excessive usage of both carbs and calories can cause weight gain, obesity, and diabetes while the lack of carbs and calories can cause weight loss.
Difference Between Carbs and Calories
Carbs refer to any of a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues, which contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1) and typically can be broken down to release energy in the animal body whereas calories refer to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius.
The body obtains some carbs through the diet and others are synthesized by the body while calories either come from carbohydrates, proteins or fat.
Cereals, potatoes, bread, noodles, and fruits are rich in carbs while peanut butter, candy bars, cheese, sausages, processed meat, and fried foods are rich in calories.
Role in the Body
The main role of carbs in the body is to serve as a source of energy while calories are used to maintain basal metabolic rate and the functions of the body. This is the main difference between carbs and calories.
The recommended carbs intake is 225-325 g per day while the recommended calorie intake is 2,500 calories per day for men and 2,000 calories per day for women.
The excessive usage of carbs can cause nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and ketosis in diabetes patients while the excessive usage of calories can cause heart problems, nutrient deficiencies, and other chronic health problems and the lack of calories can cause high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
A diet with low carbs can help to lose weight from the body while high-calorie diet without carbs can help to lose weight from the body.
Popular Diet Plans
A popular diet plan that deals with carbs is Atkins diet while Weight Watchers diet deals with calories.
Carbs are a form of organic molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, with a 2:1 hydrogen to oxygen ratio. The main role of carbs is to produce energy. Calories are the measurement of energy included in a particular food or the amount of energy released by the body during physical activity. Both proteins and fat can also produce calories. The main difference between carbs and calories is their role in the body.
1. Magee, Elaine. “Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Why Carbohydrates Matter to You.” WebMD, WebMD, Available Here
2. Frey, Malia. “How to Change Your Basal Metabolic Rate for Weight Loss.” Verywell Fit, Verywellfit, Available Here