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Calorie Counting

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How does calorie counting work?

Calorie counting is just that! You count the number of calories in everything that you eat and drink - if your daily intake of calories is less than the amount your body needs, you'll lose weight.

The chart to the right will give you an idea of the amount of calories used by the average man and woman per day so if you consume less than this, you'll start to see the pounds drop off.

Eat 500 calories a day less than those figures and you should lose around a pound a week. As always, you should ensure that you eat as balanced a diet as possible.

Updated Calorie Recommendations

Some years ago, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition suggested that these figures could be increased by up to 16% which could give a revised daily calorie chart that looked something like this:

Possible revised daily calorie requirements
  Male Female
Sedentary 2550 2200 1850 1600
Average 2900 2500 2300 2000
Active 3250 2800 2550 2200
Very Active 3500+ 3000+ 3250 2800

The original recommended daily calorie intake figures are shown in small print

But experts stressed that this didn't give the green light to start scoffing and the new recommendations will be subject to a lengthy consultancy period.

 

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There are many books and websites which list the calories in foods and drinks and of course take a look at the food packaging which will show the amount of calories and other nutritional information.

As well as calorie counting, use this information to make your diet healthier - avoid saturated fats and go for food with low salt and low sugar options.

Once you've been on the diet for a week or two, it'll become easier to follow as you'll get to know how many calories are in the foods you like to eat.

Many people find that

keeping a food diary

helps them with a calorie counting diet, at least in the initial stages.

What is a Calorie?

The calorie is the amount of energy required to heat 1gram of water by 1degree centigrade. Just to confuse the matter however, in diet terms what we refer to as calories are actually kilocalories or the amount of energy required to heat a kilogram of water by one degree (kcal).

Approx 3,500 kilocalories = 1 pound of body weight. When we refer to calories on this site, we mean the food calorie or kcal.

The calorie works both ways so that the energy your body expends doing everything from sleeping to jogging is also measured in calories (kilocalories) for example sleeping will lose you 60-80 calories an hour while a jog for the same time will burn off 500-600 calories.

The amounts vary according to your bodyweight but the chart right gives a rough idea for someone of 150 pounds (10 stone, 10lbs or 68 kg). If you're heavier than that, you'll burn more and less if you're lighter.

 

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