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Calorie Counting

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Calories In-Calories Out= ?

Food Balance

Weight loss in the public eye has been boiled down to one simple equation: calories in - calories out=caloric balance.  If your balance is positive, you gain weight, if you have a negative caloric balance you lose weight.  Seems very simple and cut and dry that if you decrease your intake of calories through diet and the types of food you eat and increase the amount of exercise you do that the weight should just fall off.  Simple right?

No, not so much.  Take into consideration that one pound of fat equals approximately 3500 calories.  Attempting to burn this amount of calories through exercise is extremely difficult and often times impossible.  See the list below of how many calories you burn during one hour of each of these exercises:

  • Aerobics: 791 cals
  • Basketball (game): 745 cals
  • Cross Country Skiing (uphill): 1536 cals
  • Cyclying (vigorous): 931 cals
  • Kickboxing: 931 cals
  • Soccer: 651 cals
  • Tennis: 745 cals 
  • Weight lifting: 558 cals
  • Marathon: 2600 cals

You can run a full marathon and literally only burn 2/3 the amount of calories in a pound of fat and then regain those calories if you have a substantial post race/workout meal. Other factors of your body need to be taken into consideration.  The type of calories you consume play a substantial role in how your body deals with weight gain.  A high intake of carbohydrates elicits a different type of hormonal response than protein.  When a high intake of carbohydrates (pasta, white bread, candy) causing an increase in blood sugar that occurs rapidly causing your body to release insulin and drive that sugar into any cells it can (typically fat cells).  The ingestion of protein does not illicit this type of response.  There is no spike in insulin and as a result no hurry to store the nutrients in fat cells.  Studies have found that with high ingestion of protein that a stimulation of human growth hormone (HGH and not the illegal kind) occurs and can help increase muscle growth.

If you simple can't reduce all carbs out of your diet there is also the pace at which you eat your meals.  The faster you consume your meals the faster your blood sugar increases.  Try breaking you food into thirds and pausing for five minutes between sections of your sections.  If that does not work for you try to expand your meal to a minimum of thirty minutes.  Both of these options will help you control the spike in blood sugar and subsequent weight gain.

Another part of the equation is thermodynamics.  It is reported that Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories a day.  For any normal human being this would lead to immediate weight gain of significant proportions.  But take into account that he spends up to 6-8 hours a day in a cooled lap pool.  Water is 24 times more thermally conductive than air.  When Michael Phelps swims the water literally pulls the heat out of him and his body must work overtime in order to keep his body temperature normal and therefore burns calories at an extreme rate with no fat gain what so ever.

Fat loss can be made more simple but don't go overkill on the exercise, the evidence doesn't support it being effective alone.  Take into consideration some of these other factors and apply them to your life for more effective dieting and weight loss.


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Bibliography

  1. Tim Ferriss The Four Hour Body. New York: Crown Archetype, 2010.
  2. "Response of plasma insulin and growth hormone to carbohydrate and protein feeding." Metabolism. (1968): 901-908.
  3. "ABC Nightline: The Thermal Diet." Hulu.com. 22/08/2011 <Web >

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