Monday, January 18, 2010

The Great Calorie Sabotage

Why you think you are within your calories but still gain a 1lb a week!

I was reading through some information on the freedieting site (it has a healthy weight gain pregnancy calorie calculator i was looking at) I found very interesting. According to the most recent information is you are using the most common daily calorie calculator, and trusting the calorie count on your food labels then a 5ft tall 130lb woman who may think she's staying at a maintenance level may actually be gaining more then 1lb a week and 56lbs a year! How very frustrating must that be to think you are doing good and still gaining weight! Here's why.

The calorie calculator that is most accurate is the Mifflin-St Jeor according to the most recent research (2005) by the American Dietetic Association. However the calorie calculator that is most commonly used still on almost every other site I came across is the Harris-Benedict Formula, which was developed in 1919 and overstates needs by quite a bit, in fact mos the other sites came up with numbers even higher then just strictly this formula calls for.

lets say you have a 5ft tall (60 inches) woman who is 25 and 130lbs who doesn't exercise and works a desk job. According to the Harris-Benedict Formula she needs 1662 for maintenance. According to the site calculator of sites like , and she needs 1705. according to she needs 1716. according to the site like she needs 1773. According to the most accurate calculator by the ADA research for today (Mifflin-St Jeor a calculator can be found here- ) she really needs 1509 to maintain her weight.

So lets take the lowest and most common number found on sites for daily calorie calculators. 1705. Now lets say the woman is counting calories to get exactly 1705 somehow every day. She using the food labels on her food. But she doesn't know that according to federal law those food labels have a 20% leeway of accuracy. That means that something that says it has 100 calories can really legally have 120. So lets say worse case scenario all food manufacturers of the food she eats takes advantage of this law to appeal to their consumers.

So to begin with she thinks her healthy maintenance calorie intake is 1705 when it's really closer to 1509. Then on top when she think she's getting 1705 because of the 20% leeway in accuracy she's really getting closer to 2046. She'd be eating more then 500 extra calories a day. That's more then a pound gained a week and if she somehow goes a year without noticing and cutting her calorie intake to accommodate that's 56lbs gained over one year!

I just found that interesting and more then a little horrifying. It's also a good reminder to research research research.

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I'm a semi crunchy stay at home wife and mama of two boys. Extend Breastfeed, Cloth diaper, Cosleep, Babywear, Homeschool, Homebirth. My sons and I have some serious health concerns (allergies, growth hormone, kidney, lung, spine, etc...). We didn't realize they were genetic (or I had) until after Trace's birth. Tristian had some big medical and possibly/probably autism related delays in early childhood but also taught himself to read at 2yrs and started on math equations at 4yrs. Trace is bit delayed across the board by about 6 months, but as he's 1yr+ behind in height... it's not very noticable ;-) Trace is very musical and hands on. With plenty of common sense, love, good doctors and faith we are doing wonderfully!

This wonderful chapter in my life of discovering the green subculture has (mostly) ended. Living green on a budget has changed from the thrill of discovery to habit. This blog remains in rememberance- with occasionally crossover posting. I hope you join me- the same green mama on a budget, in a new blog celebrating life's daily experiences- LIFE O'KAY Still lots of crafts & crunchiness- with even more sweet family moments.

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