Myth Buster: 3,500 calories in a pound; Are all calories created equally?by Sonja Rose on Jun. 05, 2010, under Health
There are 3,500 calories in one pound. So that’s how many calories you have to burn to lose a pound.
So if it were that simple, why wouldn’t more people be losing weight? It’s a simple math formula, right? I’ll let you in on a little, well-kept secret; a calorie is a unit of heat, or energy – that’s it. A calorie doesn’t know if it’s a fat calorie, or protein calorie, a sugar calorie or a fruit or vegetable calorie. No matter what diet plan you are following, what I have found out in all my years of dieting is this: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. And to lose a pound, 3,500 of them have to go.
Calories are really quite innocent. They don’t even know if they are an olive oil calorie or a vegetable oil calorie or a Pam spray calorie or a trans fat calorie, they are just a calorie. And you simply have to send out more than you put in your body in order to lose weight. That’s why, my friends, no matter what diet I went on, it worked. It could be fancy, it could cost a lot of money — or be out of a magazine or book, but if I took in less calories than I burned, the weight would come off. Why? Because I was burning calories.
Calorie Quiz: True or False
1) If I eat cake, the calories immediately go to my thighs.
2) The calories in trans-fat oil are a different kind of calories than those found in vegetable oil.
3) Three hundred calories of chicken isn’t the same as 300 calories of pasta (Hint: this is the same as the brain teaser, What weighs more? A pound of feathers or a pound of butter?)
4) If I can’t get close to figuring out how many calories a food item has, then I will screw up and it won’t matter so I might as well not even try.
5) People who count calories are as crazy as people who check their weight on the scale every day.
Answers to all: False
I suppose I should be sad that I gave thousands of dollars to the weight-loss industry in order to figure all this out, but at least I finally gleaned enough information from each and every diet I ever went on to have kept off 50 pounds loss since 2001. Now I would like to help other people with tips I have learned along the way. These days it’s automatic for me to add up calories in my head when I eat meals, or go out to eat. If I am up one pound in the morning, I think back to what I ate the day before, and realize that I may have eaten too many calories, or perhaps just had a salty meal, or might just be involved in a weight fluctuation — but vow to cut calories this day. Because it works, and I’ll be back down in no time.
My Overeaters Anonymous friend, Judy (not her real name) consumed meals that included large amounts of low-calorie foods, i.e., an entire bag (10 ounces) of green beans (94 calories) and three cups of puffed rice cereal (150 calories), simply because she didn’t like to feel like she was being deprived by having to eat tiny amounts of high-calorie foods. She also ate a lot of fruit and treated herself to “real” bubblegum (5-15 calories a piece) to help satisfy her sweet tooth. It worked for her — she was thin, wore cute clothes and jogged five times a week. Calorie counting can be fun.