Danielle Hamo Blog

Does 3,500 calories really equal 1 pound of weight loss

For decades consumers have heard that 3,500 calories equals one pound, and to lose one pound in a week, 500 calories a day need to be cut. I myself have told this to my clients. However, while reading this months Today’s Dietitian, I found out how this may not always be true.

Screenshot 2015-11-19 14.02.57

The origional equation is called Wishnofsky’s Rule and is based on a study done in 1958, that wasn’t so well designed. Based on this, you can see how this science may need to be rethought.

Current research has shown that people lose less weight then expected in this 3,500 calorie rule. Factors involved include age, height, weight, gender, differences in metabolic rate, differences in physical activity routines, and metabolic adaptations during weight loss.

A new model to better predict weight loss has been developed, called “Body Weight Planner” by the National Institute of Health. Current recommendations still continue with cutting 500 calories a day for weight loss, however if you do not get the results you expected, you now know there are many factors at play.

Try using this Body Weight Planner here: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/bwp/

you can enter goal weight, and time frame to reach that goal, and you will be given a plan based on your height, weight, gender, and age. The downside to this tracker is, that it limits your weight loss goal by the guidelines given by the USDA, however it can still be useful to get going.