One pound equals 3,500 calories?

Does anyone know of a study or scientific documentation that proves this to be true?
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Replies

  • WholeFoods4Lyfe
    WholeFoods4Lyfe Posts: 1,517 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    fdhunt1 wrote: »
    Does anyone know of a study or scientific documentation that proves this to be true?

    I am sure someone will come along with one. I will say that It certainly matches up with my numbers because for 16 months now I have lost steadily at 3500 (give or take) calories per pound.

    I don't have a link to a study or anything, but I concur. I'm a data geek and track my deficit and it is right on target within a few hundred calories of my weighloss.
  • michmorden
    michmorden Posts: 3 Member
    Would love to find out more on how you track your deficit
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    fdhunt1 wrote: »
    Does anyone know of a study or scientific documentation that proves this to be true?

    I am sure someone will come along with one. I will say that It certainly matches up with my numbers because for 16 months now I have lost steadily at 3500 (give or take) calories per pound.

    I don't have a link to a study or anything, but I concur. I'm a data geek and track my deficit and it is right on target within a few hundred calories of my weighloss.

    I analyze mine pretty thoroughly. Obviously there is no way to get it exact because energy expenditures are not constant and logging cannot be 100 percent but it is close. I tend to log slightly high so my rate of loss exceeds my deficit rate of loss on a normal basis but that is my style. Lately my NEAT increase is throwing me off but that is a good problem to have.
  • thanos5
    thanos5 Posts: 513 Member
    numbers geeks like me keep a spreadsheet that keeps track of calories in, calories out, and body weight.
  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    Ive been averaging 2lb a week but am eating a 3500 calorie deficit per week, so I have lost 15lb since the 28th April. However my assumption is that as I started at 282lbs and only 6 weeks in (I think?) that 6lbs is the actual weight loss in fat but the rest is water?
  • MikePTY
    MikePTY Posts: 3,814 Member
    nooboots wrote: »
    Ive been averaging 2lb a week but am eating a 3500 calorie deficit per week, so I have lost 15lb since the 28th April. However my assumption is that as I started at 282lbs and only 6 weeks in (I think?) that 6lbs is the actual weight loss in fat but the rest is water?

    That sounds about right.
    1 lb. = about 454g
    1g of fat = approximately 9 kcalories
    454 X 9 = 4,086 kcalories

    My guess: Someone thought they would cut 15% off to make fat loss sound easier, and it stuck.

    hmm interesting. Also maybe to account for some water that continues to always be lost along with fat?
  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    Oh dear, so its actually a 4k calorie deficit to lose a lb?
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    nooboots wrote: »
    Ive been averaging 2lb a week but am eating a 3500 calorie deficit per week, so I have lost 15lb since the 28th April. However my assumption is that as I started at 282lbs and only 6 weeks in (I think?) that 6lbs is the actual weight loss in fat but the rest is water?

    What have you averaged in the last 4 weeks?

  • mirthegeologist
    mirthegeologist Posts: 143 Member
    MyFitnessPal has an article and infographic about calories:

    https://myfitnesspal.desk.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1599931-nutrition-101-calories

    https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Calories-MyFitnessPal-Nutrition-101-Infographic2.png

    The article says:
    “Here’s a quick overview of the math:

    1 pound of fat tissue weighs 454 grams
    Approximately 87% of fat tissue (or 395 grams) is fat. The composition of fat tissue may vary slightly from person-to-person
    1 gram of fat provides about nine calories of energy, though studies have shown it ranges from 8.7 – 9.5 calories per gram
    395 grams of fat at nine calories per gram adds up to 3,555 calories per pound of body fat, which is rounded to 3,500. 1 pound is roughly equivalent to 0.45 kilograms or 0.07 stone.”

    The article does not, however, cite any references or resources, which is what the original poster requested. However, it should clear up some of the questions that some of the other posters have.
  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    nooboots wrote: »
    Ive been averaging 2lb a week but am eating a 3500 calorie deficit per week, so I have lost 15lb since the 28th April. However my assumption is that as I started at 282lbs and only 6 weeks in (I think?) that 6lbs is the actual weight loss in fat but the rest is water?

    What have you averaged in the last 4 weeks?

    Im trying to look at my weight graph which seems to indicate I lost 10lb in the last 4 weeks, I thought it was less than that, I could have sworn that the first week alone I lost 6lbs, that cant be right
  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    Sorry, its 9lbs in the past 4 weeks.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,000 Member
    nooboots wrote: »
    Ive been averaging 2lb a week but am eating a 3500 calorie deficit per week, so I have lost 15lb since the 28th April. However my assumption is that as I started at 282lbs and only 6 weeks in (I think?) that 6lbs is the actual weight loss in fat but the rest is water?

    Keep in mind that MFP or a TDEE "calculator" or your fitness tracker are just giving you a statistical estimate of your calorie needs, i.e., not gospel. There's a strong central tendency in these data (smallish standard deviation) but there is a distribution around the mean: We're not all right at that mean. (Logging is also an estimate, in effect, if course.)

    It's circular reasoning, a bit, but I think a practical truth: Over 4-6 consistent weeks, your loss rate tells you what your deficit is, more reliably than arithmetic based off a "calorie calculator".

    If you're losing 2 pounds a week over a longish time period, your deficit is more like 7000 calories a week than 3500, IMO.

    But yes, water weight loss confounds the observation of fat loss, especially at first.

    The "calculators" and my tracker are pretty far off, for me (based on nearly 4 years of careful logging and bodyweight scale data). Nonetheless, once I got a handle on my actual calorie needs, based on my own data, the "3500 calories = one pound" approximation was a pretty good predictor of what I'd see on the scale, after enough time for water/digestive-contents fluctuations to even out. Not perfect, especially in a case of sudden massive overconsumption, but pretty good.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    edited June 2019
    nooboots wrote: »
    Sorry, its 9lbs in the past 4 weeks.

    That is 2.25 pounds per week which is not really a problem at your current weight and with only a month of data. Are you sure you are only eating a 500 calorie per day deficit not a 1000?

  • nooboots
    nooboots Posts: 480 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    nooboots wrote: »
    Sorry, its 9lbs in the past 4 weeks.

    That is 2.25 pounds per week which is not really a problem at your current weight and with only a month of data. Are you sure you are only eating a 500 calorie per day deficit not a 1000?

    Definitely not!!! I wouldnt survive. It also includes a 10 day holiday where I ate my way through the week. I was 3500 cals over maintenance for that week but made it up the second week.

    I am on around 1800 cals a day. Yesterday I took in about 3k.

    I still maintain that its water is coming off but the fat will be being lost at the same rate as the actual deficit, which is around 3500 per week. I reckon the water will soon stop being lost and therefore the weight loss will then be 1lb per week.

    I dont see it as a problem by the way!