What is a kilojoule? (And do I really need to know about them?)
Ever wondered what kilojoules are and whether they are relevant to you? We answer your kilojoule queries!
What is a kilojoule? Are they the same as calories?
Kilojoules are the amount of energy found within food and drink, and the amount of energy used up when we move about. It is helpful to think of kilojoules as the way we measure energy, just like we use kilograms to measure weight.
The difference between calories and kilojoules is rather like the difference between miles and kilometres. Kilojoules are the metric equivalent of calories; 1 kJ equals 0.2 calories.
Why is energy important?
Energy is the ‘fuel’ that powers our body, so it is important that we get enough from our food and drink. But if we consume more energy than our body uses, the excess is stored as fat and over time we will put on weight. It’s all about achieving a balance between energy in and energy out.
How many kilojoules do I need?
It is recommended that an average daily intake for an Australian adult is 8,700kJ. However, you will need more if you are pregnant, and children will need less than this.
Is it really practical to keep count of them?
Whilst it can be useful to keep track of kilojoules to lose weight effectively, don’t worry about counting them. It may be more practical to make several small and easy changes to reduce your energy intake:
1. Aim to be more active each day: making some simple swaps in your existing routine can really add up to burn off those kilojoules. A brisk 30 minute walk can burn 500Kj (you can break it up into shorter bursts of 10/15 minutes).
2. Swap from full fat milk and yoghurt to reduced-fat versions: the lower fat versions are lower in kilojoules.
3. Drink mainly water: it contains no kilojoules at all!
4. Choose wholegrain options in foods such as breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, rice and noodles as these fill you up more than refined versions (so you don’t need to eat as much).
5. Limit alcohol. It is easy to forget that alcoholic drinks are often high in kilojoules. Limit yourself to no more than two standard drinks a day (less than this if you are aiming to lose weight).
6. Control portion sizes. It’s hard not to fill big dinner plates so try switching to smaller plates instead. It’s also worth serving up in the kitchen straight onto the plate so no-one is tempted by ‘seconds’.
7. Be snack savvy: choose healthier snacks that are lower in kilojoules but still provide essential nutrients. Avoid snacks high in saturated fat, salt and added sugar like chocolate bars, potato chips, cakes, pastries and soft drinks. Instead, choose foods with the Tick as these are a healthier choice, and remember all fruit and vegies are Tick approved! Download the Tick Shopping Guide for your next trip to the supermarket.
8. Look out for the Tick: Sugar and fat tend to contribute the most energy to certain foods. So, where appropriate, foods with Tick have a kilojoule limit which means they do not contain excessive energy. Find out more Tick facts here.
Losing Weight the Healthy Way
Our guide for achieving a healthy weight through weight loss includes practical and realistic advice.
Take a step-by-step to developing a healthy weight loss plan by clicking here or calling 1300 36 27 87 for your free copy!