Difference between Calories and Carbs

Many people who are on a diet take count of their everyday calorie and carb intake, since reducing your every day calories and carbohydrates can help you lose weight and this might easily give people thought that both of them are similar. However, calories and carbs have their differences. Calories are said to be a unit of energy whereas Carbs are macronutrients. A low-carb diet is said to offer weight loss results faster but in the long run both low-carb and low-calorie diets are considered to be equally effective. Calories and Carbs are both vital elements of maintaining a healthy diet so they must not be entirely eliminated.

What are Calories?

Calorie also known as salary is said to be a unit that measures the amount of energy released from substrates. This measurement is often used to measure food energy. Thus, 1kilocalorie is equal to 1000 calories.

Obesity has been a common problem that is prevailing these days and due to this people now pay more and more attention to the food and amount of calorie intake on an everyday basis. It is important to maintain one’s calorie count not only because of the above issue but also to know the energy amount of food we are taking in everyday in order to maintain a healthy body.

The energy release differs with different substrates like for example, 1g of carbs and 1g of protein would normally produce around 4 calories, and 1g of fat contains about 9 calories. The food we intake undergoes a process called metabolism and in this process the chemical energy of food transforms into chemical energy of ATP. Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP is known as the energy currency that provides energy to all the functions that is occurring in one’s body. In this case if the amount of calorie consumption is more than the amount of calories burned by the body then it will be stored as fat. This results in an increase in body weight. So, if we want to control weight gain, we can increase the burning rate of fat that is stored by means of exercising.

In another case if the calorie consumption is less than the minimum amount the body needs, then the body weight reduces. In conclusion different individuals need different amounts of calorie intake per day depending on their age.

What are Carbs?

Carbs also known as Carbohydrates are the main source of energy to our body. All carbs are important for our body, but some are even better, this is why many people categorise carbs as good carbs and bad carbs. Depending on the type of food they are categorised either a good carbs or bad carbs. Fruits and vegetables, grains are considered as good carbs and they have a lot of fibre in them. Whereas processed and refined food like white bread, white rice that are not good for our health come under bad carbs.

When an individual has high amount of carbs in his diet, the carbs break-down and produce glucose and absorb into the bloodstream. The cells then absorb these sugars and use it for energy production through the process of combustion.

Similarities Calories and Carbs

  • Both the terms Calories and Carbs are related to energy.

  • Carbs contain energy and release them calories.

Differences between Calories and Carbs

The following table highlights the major differences between Calories and Carbs −

Calories/ Carbs




It is a unit that measures the amount of energy.

It is a macromolecule that contains energy.

Relationship between the both

Calories are included in carbs.

1g of carbs contain about 4 calories.


Restricting the amount of calorie intake and especially eliminating the use of oils that are essential for the body can lead to malnourishment and deficiencies in vitamins and minerals which cause chronic health problem.

Restricting the amount of carb intake can lead to nutritional deficiencies and insufficient fibre, which may lead to constipation, nausea and diarrhoea. Carb intake that is less tang 20grams a day could lead ketosis, which then leads to nausea, headache.

Food labels

The calorie count label is required on all food labels in the United States and the European Union.

Some of these labels also show the amount of carbs in it.


In conclusion, Calories and Carbs play an important role in our body to maintain a healthy body and to also to assess one’s body weight. As we can see a lot of people also depend on the calorie and carbs count to regulate their body weight. These calories and carbs when consumed in the form of different foods produce energy for metabolic activities.

Updated on: 20-Jan-2023

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