Physical Energy, Calories and Enzymes

Physical Energy, Calories and EnzymesIn this Q&A session, I asked David why, if calories are energy, do people who consume very large numbers of calories often have very little in the way of energy for an energetic, physically active lifestyle.

I also ask how enzymes are relevant to energy and growth.

Here is the full transcript of the question, and David’s response…


Hi David,

Can you tell us please, whilst calories are energy, as we all know, why is it that the amount of literal physical energy a person has is different, as in if you imagine a person who is clinically obese from consuming many thousands of calories of ‘energy’ a day, the opposite is true in terms of how ‘energetic’ they are lifestyle wise?

So in order to have energy, I guess we need to consume calories, which provide this, but is there also some kind of balance, or other issue? How also are enzymes relevant to energy and growth? I understand these can be found in raw foods?


James, your query had its own answer inbuilt. To quote you: a “clinically obese” person would be carrying more weight than average and therefore need much more energy to get through the day.

There is a measure called the Basal Metabolic Rate which indicates the amount of calories needed for a given weight simply to keep breathing, eat, excrete, pump the blood around the body and all the other autonomous activity we need to survive. Obviously that increases as the body mass increases.

So yes we need to keep that in balance and to offset the total calorie intake not only against BMR but also the demand of our lifestyle e.g sedentary, active or very active.

Enzymes are complex protein molecules linked to a non-protein cofactor that might be either a metal ion (iron, magnesium etc) or an organic molecule. These (enzymes) act as catalysts for all biochemical processes in the body, speeding them up.

They usually end in the suffix ase and are grouped according to the function they assist e.g oxidases add oxygen; lipases breakdown lipids. This takes place at the cellular level – so the very foundation of activity.

Perhaps the most obvious example of enzyme activity is in the digestive system where the component parts of our food are broken down for absorbtion by the body in the presence of enzymes.

They are a prerequisite to health and can be found in a variety of foods, but as you intimate, mostly phyto chemicals i.e. plant foodstuffs.

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