Are you curious about how many calories there are in a pound? Read on to find out the answer and learn more about your caloric intake.
How Many Calories are in a Pound?
You reach for your favorite snack in the aisle, and you’re faced with a “300” calorie label for that 100-gram snack. Before you start asking google, “how many calories are in a pound” let’s figure out the basics behind Calories.
What are Calories?
The word “calorie” is a unit of energy, and every part of our body requires that energy function. That includes activities that don’t need much effort, like sitting down or lifting a fork.
Very Well Fit further explains that the “Calorie” count we see on labels is inaccurate. Their blog post on What is a Calorie clarifies that companies aren’t depicting calories but “Kilocalories.” These Kilocalories are equivalent to a thousand small calories.
We now know they are energy units, but this also begs the question: “How many calories are in a pound”?
How Many Calories are in a Pound?
The rule of thumb is that 3,500 kcal is equal to one pound. For example, reducing your diet or burning off 500 calories during exercise over consecutive days will lose you one pound.
In reality, however, we are not entirely composed of fat. Since our body is a mixture of fat, protein, and fluid, the estimate would be 3,500 per pound. It means that the count will depend on the composition of that fat. It can vary from 3,400 to 3750 calories.
Ph.D. holder Denise Webb attests in her blog about weight loss that new formulas have been developed to aid with this situation. This corresponds to a slower but more realistic weight loss rate when embarking on a fitness journey. The new formula considers your height, weight, and of course, your calorie intake and reduction, to name a few.
Calories Fuel Your Body
Everyday Health talks statistics about calories. In summary, an average adult woman will use up to 1600 to 2400 calories daily. Men use more, ranging from 2000 to 3000 calories in a day. These numbers show how much our bodies are in constant demand of energy.
Of course, not everything we eat is used up, and it gets stored in our body as fat. That’s when reducing calorie intake or increasing physical activity comes into play to help us maintain a healthy body.
Low-Calorie Diet Is an Option
Just because food feeds your body energy, doesn’t mean all food is good for you. Low-calorie diets have gained popularity over the years, and it’s not just for losing weight. Cell Metabolism’s study on Calories, a 2018 journal, discovered that it helps slow down aging and fight diseases.
In terms of meal plans, it consists of a 1,000 to 1,200 calorie intake for women and 1,200 to 1,600 calorie intake for men. Of course, the numbers are adjusted considering your age, activity level, weight, and so on.
Do take note that a nutritious, balanced diet is a must when going for low-calorie diets. It won’t be good for your body to cut down on much-needed energy. A healthy eating plate usually consists of vegetables and fruits comprising 50% of your plate. Pair it with some protein and grains.
Portion Size Matters
Be careful when stacking up on your favorite snacks. Eating a lot can mean doubling up on calories as well. Having self-control plays an important role since we often don’t notice we’re on our second bag of chips. Even a tiny bite of cake can lead you to eat two or three slices.
Begin by eating small so that you’ll be able to notice the natural cue of your body when it’s complete. Eating fast doesn’t help but if you’re in a rush, get something easy to chew but fill in every bite. Instead of digging your hand in a bag, it’s a good idea to pour it into a bowl or plate.
Calories Come in Different Forms
There are three main components found in all sorts of food. Of course, they can be more or less of each. A cup of large eggs isn’t going to have the same amount of components as a cup of oatmeal.
One gram of carbohydrates equals four kilocalories. Popular carbs would be rice, wheat, oats, and bread. Out of the three, it’s the quickest to digest.
For one gram of protein it corresponds to four kilocalories. Lean meat, poultry, and fish are rich in protein. It’s also considered a longer-lasting source of energy. That’s because it takes more time for it to be broken down compared to carbohydrates.
One gram of fat will contain nine kilocalories. Healthy high-fat food would be avocados, cheese, and even dark chocolate. Fats usually take the longest time to digest compared to their fellow components.
These three are often used as a basis for diet plans. Just remember that they are not all burned up by your body the same way. It’s essential to keep a balance of all three in your meals.
Labels Don’t Have the Final Say
Finally, the calorie count written on the Nutrition Facts Panel won’t always be accurate. That is because companies are permitted to have a 20% margin of error. A study on the calorie count of common snack foods discovered that it was 4% higher than what was listed.
The number is based on a 2,000 calorie diet as well, and that may not be a reasonable estimate for those trying to get to a certain number on the scale. It’s still a good idea to consult with your physician or trainer when embarking on a weight-loss or weight-gain journey.
It won’t be easy estimating calories with the inaccuracy of labels and the actual count of calories in a pound. Nonetheless, being more aware of your intake, portion size, and the importance of calories is a huge step.
You may not be getting immediate results on day one. However, having self-control and the right attitude will get you feeling better and healthier in and out.
About the Author:
Cory McKane is the CEO/Founder of WeStrive - a platform for personal trainers to manage & grow their personal training business. He enjoys working out and spending time working with trainers on WeStrive on how to manage/grow their business.