A calorie is a unit of energy. Scientifically speaking, a calorie is defined as the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one gram of water by 1ºC. In nutrition, it is the amount of energy that people obtain from food sources and may also refer to the amount of energy that people use during physical activities.

Health Functions
There are two types of calories: good calories and bad calories. Good calories are rich in nutrients (nutrient-dense). On the other hand, bad calories (empty calories) typically provide a lot of energy but zero (or minimal) nutrients. For example, if we compare cola and orange juice, soda has 38 calories while orange juice has 45 calories. However, compared to cola, orange juice has more nutrients such as Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folate, among others. Cola only provides sugar (sweeteners) and sodium. This is why orange juice is considered as a source for good calories, while cola provides bad calories.

Disease Risk Reduction
Our bodies need energy/calories to fuel all necessary reactions and activities. High caloric intake can lead to weight gain if the calories go unused or not burned off due to lack of physical activity. Bad calories (e.g. from fast food, sugary beverages) are highly associated with obesity. Always remember that although we need calories daily, we must consume moderate amounts to prevent health complications.

Groups at Risk
People who are at risk for high caloric intake include those have unhealthy diets and lifestyles (e.g. fast food, drinking too much alcoholic drinks), people who consume high-calorie food and beverages that are low on nutrients (e.g. fast food, soda), and those who lack exercise or other physical activities.

Intake Recommendations
The average man must take 2,700 calories per day while women need 2,200 calories.

7D VARIETY Recommendations
The date fruit is a good source of calories. It is nutrient-dense and rich in carbohydrates. Everyone (including those with normal nutritional status, overweight, and underweight individuals) can consume Energy Dates. 7D VARIETY recommends you to add Energy Dates to your diet by incorporating it into your meals (as the fruit serving). In general, it is safe to consume 3/4 cup to 1 cup of dried dates per day according to the USDA. Also, dates can help satisfy your sweet tooth. If you're looking for a healthy dessert, you can choose Energy Dates. It contains natural sugar thus it is a healthier alternative compared to pastries and cakes that are packed with refined sugar.