Healthy Habits

DETV’s Healthy Habits | Episode 2 | Calorie & Energy Balance

“Energy balance, or the balancing of intake of calories (energy) with the expenditure of calories, is the most important factor in body fat loss or gain.

When calories ingested exceed calories burned, a person is in a positive energy balance. A positive energy balance isn’t a good thing for those of us with the goal of reducing body fat. The excess calories, that aren’t utilized, will be stored in the body’s fat cells.

When a person is burning more calories than they take in, they are in a negative energy balance. A negative energy balance is good for those of us looking to reduce body fat or lose weight. This is because the body will utilize those calories, stored as in fat cells, for energy.

One pound of stored body fat contains around 3500 calories. According to experts, the average adult will burn between 1600-3000 calories per day. This makes it virtually impossible to lose one pound of fat, in a single day. So, a person with a goal of multiple pounds of fat loss is going to need to stick to a planned calorie deficit, for a long enough duration to reach the goal amount of body fat lost. The Mayo Clinic and other reputable organizations recommend, between a 500-1000 calorie deficit per day. This would result in a total of 3500-7000 calorie deficit, for the week. That would translate to about a 1-2 lb reduction in body fat per week. At this rate of loss, a person with a goal of 10 lbs of fat lost, is looking at a minimum of 5 weeks of sustained calorie deficit/ negative energy balance.

There are some issues with long-term calorie deficit, that we will get into in another video, such as adaptive thermogenesis. Which is an adaptation to a long-term negative energy balance, in the body, that cause a reduction in energy expenditure. We will talk about navigating this and other weight management obstacles in an upcoming video.”

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