Does 3500 Calories Equal One Pound Of

There was a time when dieters played strict, and sometimes exclusive, attention to total caloric intake with little regard for total carbohydrate consumption, fat intake or variables such as metabolism. The dieter's life was rather simple. Just count calories, cut a certain amount from the diet and fat loss will follow. However, there's a little more to it as illustrated below.

Food scientists tell us one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. That is, when a total of 3500 calories is omitted from the diet, one pound of fat should be shed. That's what they tell us, but it's not exactly the full story. Let's take a look using two individuals as an example.

A) John eats 3300 calories a day.

B) Jane eats 1800 calories a day.

Both reduce their caloric intake by 500 daily creating a weekly caloric deficit of 3500 calories.

A) John now eats 2800 calories a day.

B) Jane now eats 1300 calories a day.

A) John reduces his calories by 500 a day, 3500 a week or by 15%.

2800 is 15% less total calories than 3300.

B) Jane reduces her calories by 500 a day, 3500 a week or by 28%.

1300 is 28% less total calories than 1800.

Using the popular premise that 3500 calories will equal one pound of body fat, the two individuals actually see very different results. John can expect to lose one pound of fat a week because he has reduced his calories and is creating a one week deficit of 3500 calories. Furthermore, he can expect continual fat loss at a clip of roughly one pound each week. Of course, he may eventually run into plateaus. But it's safe to assume the body will recognize the 3500 caloric reduction and give up a pound of fat as fuel for at least a few weeks. Furthermore, the reduction in calories is mild, at 15%. And we learned mild reductions in calories are effective in coaxing the body to give up body fat as fuel while greater reductions in calories often cause a down regulation in the metabolic rate where it adapts by decreasing the total amount of calories it burns each day. Aggressive dieting usually backfires as the body accommodates to large caloric reductions by burning less fuel.

Jane may be a less fortunate. She too will lose a pound in the first week because, like John, she has reduced her weekly caloric intake by 3500. However, not all reductions are the same. She has reduced her intake by 28%, almost twice that as John's 15% and the body will likely respond by shedding lean muscle mass along with body fat which slows the metabolism. In addition, cuts in fuel intake greater than 15% can make the dieter feel less energetic and less energetic people tend to expend less fuel in any given day. So while Jane may lose a pound of weight each week, it wont be exclusively fat but a combo of fat and muscle and muscle is the dieter's closest ally as it keeps the body's internal engine, called metabolism, elevated.

In trying to shed fat, aim for a reduction in calories as a percentage of your base diet. Reducing by 15% will lead to fat loss without slowing down the metabolism as smaller cuts tend to burn exclusively fat - never muscle. While a 15% reduction from a base diet may not total a pound a week, it it could add up to one pound in 2 weeks or a pound every 10-12 days. More important, a reduction of 15% will not send the metabolism into a downward spiral making fat loss nearly impossible. Ideally, Jane should have made a reduction of 15% or by 270 calories a day eating 1530, down from 1800 calories.

AQIf I bum 3500 calories a week through exercise will I lose a pound of body fat?

Yes, expending 3500 calories will lead to a pound of fat loss. However, an individual can burn body fat, even by expending less than 3500 per week. If a person walks very briskly for an hour, he may be able to expend 200-250 calories. Though it would take a bit more than 2 weeks to burn off a pound of body fat (3500 calories), it may be more beneficial over the long term because a less aggressive approach to expending calories is akin to a mild reduction in calories. That is, going overboard and trying to burn off huge amounts of calories with excessive amounts of exercise will back fire as quickly and as dramatic as reducing calories. Extremely heavy bouts of exercise increase Cortisol levels in men and women which is a stress hormone with "muscle wasting" capabilities. In effect, over exercising causes the over secretion of this hormone which, in turn, promotes the burning of lean body mass! So, the extremely heavy exercisers engaging in hours upon hours of aerobic work each week will never burn exclusively body fat. Due to rocketing Cortisol levels, the body shifts fuel sources and begins burning muscle tissue along with body fat. Eventually, the drop in muscle tissue - the result of over exercising - causes a slow down in the metabolic rate. Thyroid levels, the calorie burning hormone that drops with prolonged low calorie dieting also drops with extreme increases in calorie expenditure. So don't think embarking upon some outrageous exercise plan will melt every last ounce of fat off you. The likely result; a compromised hormone flux that slows the metabolism. Over zealous men engaged in heavy exercise will also experience a drop in testosterone levels, the male hormone that supports lean body mass and encourages fat metabolism. Lower testosterone levels translate into less muscle, a compromised metabolic rate, and a compromised ability to burn body fat. Stay away from crazy diets and stay away from crazy amounts of exercise.

AQHow about exercise and dieting? Isn't that the best way to go?

Exercise and dieting at the same time may lead to better progress but many find the combo too overwhelming... committing to daily exercise and recording food consumption at the same time. For many, the best results may come from dieting alone or from exercising alone with no radical changes in eating habits. At least for those who are just getting started. Of course, a mild reduction in calories coupled with exercise is a great combo because any type of exercise bumps up the metabolic rate making it easier to burn calories and weight training would increase lean body mass causing the body to burn more calories in any 24 hour period.

When embarking upon a diet and exercise plan, know that a combined 3500 calories can be burned off/or reduced from the diet causing a pound of fat loss. To create a 3500 calorie deficit in 10 days simply eat 350 less calories each day (3500 calories/10 days = 350). Or reduce calories by 175 while expending another 175 daily. (175 + 175 = 350. 350 x 10 days = 3500 calories.)

It may surprise many that such small alterations in diet can lead to fat loss. Thus, another reason to keep records of all the foods eaten each day. It's easy to forget what was eaten during the day and equally easy to overeat 300 calories each day which could cause one's body weight to increase by a pound over a 12 day period.

Many hate the idea of becoming a food accountant, recording every item of food eaten each day. Instead, they opt to haphazardly cut calories or to make huge cuts hoping to force fat off the body. Losing body fat while holding onto metabolic boosting lean body mass requires willpower, knowledge and action. Many have the will, hopefully this book will give you the knowledge, but only you have the final say. Unless you commit yourself, are dedicated and keep records, all your willpower and dedication may be a futile effort. Now get to it!

Lose 10 Pounds Naturally

Lose 10 Pounds Naturally

Studies show obesity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death in America. Are you ready to drop those extra pounds you've been carrying around? Awesome. Let's start off with a couple positive don't. You don't need to jump on a diet craze and you don't need to start exercising for hours each day.

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