How Much Does Calorie Intake Influence Weight?
average calorie intake for most people has increased 200-500 calories daily
since the ‘80’s. That seems to be the perfect set up for adding extra weight!
The vast accessibility to fast food has increased the process even more. This
is yet another good reason to think before you eat!
In this day and age, it’s literally almost impossible to keep track of what you consume within 50 calories, albeit just as impossible to know how many of those calories you’ve burned. Counting calories is counterproductive because it has you focusing on all the wrong things. There are other things you should consider besides calorie intake like portion sizes.
The fact is that portion size has increased exponentially over the years and larger portions = more calories. Foods eaten outside the home will almost always contain more calories than you might expect – whereas foods cooked at home will most likely contain fewer.
In a recent JAMA study, Dr Martin Katan and David Ludwig published an article entitled “Extra calories cause weight gain–but how much?” They concluded that it would take 370 extra calories daily to gain 35 pounds in 28 years, 680 calories more a day to become obese in 25 years, and 700 to 1000 more calories daily to be 58 pounds overweight by age 17.
This is what Katan and Ludwig concluded:
“small changes in lifestyle would have a minor effect on obesity prevention. Walking an extra mile a day expends, roughly an additional 60 kcal compared with resting – equal to the energy in a small cookie. Physiological considerations suggest that the apparent energy imbalance for much of the US population is 5- to 10-fold greater, far beyond the ability of most individuals to address on a personal level. Rather, an effective public health approach to obesity prevention will require fundamental changes in the food supply and the social infrastructure.
This is because on the personal level, prevention of weight gain means eating hundreds of calories a day less. Moving more, useful as it is, will not do the trick unless people eat less as well.”
What is Your Calorie Intake?
For most women, your daily calorie RDA, (Recommended Daily Allowance), is around 1000-1200 calories per day. For men, its around 1500+. That's how many calories your body requires to stay alive.
You’ll need to add more calories to power additional activities that you do. Combine everything you do, from typing to shopping to bicycling, and you’ll have the total number of calories you require each day. All of these activities require energy to perform. If you are underactive during the day you’ll need fewer calories per day than an overactive person would.
Calorie intake must equal calories output!
That’s the basic formula for NOT gaining weight but clearly not all calories are created equal and your hormones also influence your weight too!
How Calorie Intake Influences Weight
A calorie is simply a unit of energy. Calories that aren’t burned off may be stored as FAT. If you burn more calories than you take in however, stored fat has to be burned to provide energy and you should lose weight.
So to lose weight as you age, you should cut back on calorie intake. Seems simple, right?
Frankly, its not quite that simple!
Lets suppose you like plain celery sticks. Now lets suppose you're on a diet. You eat LOTS of celery sticks every day for a week but don’t lose a pound. You shake your head and can't figure out why not? I mean, C'Mon! You ate minimally all week long, starving to death eating lots of celery sticks. What gives?
The problem is
that your body doesn’t know you’re on a diet. It thinks you are starving to death, so its holding onto your fat in a fight for YOUR LIFE!
Your body is used to chips and fries, but you aren’t giving it chips and fries. You are feeding it celery and your body clearly wants more food! Your metabolism stops in place. There is no fat burning at all!
Very low calorie intake diets
can decrease your basal metabolic rate by 15 - 30 percent. That's why starvation diets don't work.
In fact, low calories make weight loss next to impossible! (A very low calorie diet is considered to be 600 calories or less a day.) Your body will be trying to save you from starving to death and instead of burning fat, it will look for an alternate energy source and start to burn muscle, which is not a desired response.
Then when you stop dieting and start eating regularly, your basal metabolism does NOT return to normal either because your body thinks there might be another 'famine' coming. So any calories you take in, your body holds onto, preserves, and stores. Then you gain even more weight!
7 Proven Ways to Decrease Calorie Intake
In many cases, people actually PREVENT long term weight loss by going on a diet, so avoid them at all costs! Also, if you cut calories without knowing what kind of calories you’re cutting, you’re making another mistake.
One gram of FAT contains twice as many calories as one gram of carbohydrates. However as I mentioned, not all calories are created equal in your body!
Calories come from all sorts of foods but they are also highly prevalent in soda’s and fruit juices. Furthermore, liquid calories don’t work well at suppressing your appetite in your brain center. Too much sugar is one of the biggest culprits of weight gain today.
Nutritional facts and ingredients listed on a label tell a story about the food. If you’re not reading them, your weight loss endeavors will suffer.
The most straightforward way to look at this is to decrease processed foods across the board. Processed foods have a negative effect on the gut and increase inflammation in the body. They’re also easier to overconsume. On the other hand, it’s much harder to overdo on whole foods because satiety is lasts longer.
You're much better off NOT counting calories but eating a balanced diet. It is clear that people on low-fat diets must be calorie restricted in order to lose weight, while people eating low-carb (and high fat and protein) can usually eat until they feel satisfied and still take weight off.
Fat free or diet foods don’t work. They use chemicals to replace ingredients and extra HFCS to compensate for taste. They can lead to increased hunger and calorie intake.
Time after time studies show that tracking what you eat (aka keeping a food journal) assists you in keeping an accurate image of how much you’re actually consuming.
Studies clearly show that the low-carb diet decreases appetite and makes people lose weight without having to control portions or count calories.
In these studies, researchers actively restricted calories in the low-fat groups to make the results comparable. However, the low-carb dieters still lost more weight.
We all need fat and protein and to effectively lose weight. Don't worry so much about your calorie intake and keep your focus on eating the right foods! Make sense?
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
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How Many Extra Calories Cause Weight Gain?
Debunking the Calorie Myth
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