# You Need to Burn 7,000 Calories to Lose a Pound, Not 3,500

Posts: 349 Member
Thoughts?

http://vitals.lifehacker.com/you-need-to-burn-7-000-calories-to-lose-a-pound-not-3-1719560948

"If you’ve ever calculated how much weight you’ll lose by cutting out a certain number of calories a day, you know the most famous equation in dieting: 1 pound of fat = 3,500 calories. Too bad that equation is wrong.

It may be right in a strict math sense, like if you burn a pound of fat in a lab, but cutting out 500 calories a day for a week won’t result in a pound of fat loss. We’ve covered this here before: trying to balance calorie intake and burn never quite works out.

Now, there’s a new equation in town, or more specifically a calculator called the Body Weight Planner, based on research done by the National Institutes of Health. Amby Burfoot explains at Runner’s World why we should ditch the old rule and embrace the new...."

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## Replies

• Posts: 6,212 Member
Derp lifehacker article is derp.

They don't link to the actual research.

The whole point of the article can be summed up as "There's no truly accurate way to measure exactly what one's 'CO' is, so many people probably overestimate it and as a result what they think is a 500 calorie daily deficit is really probably closer to a 200 calorie daily deficit"
• Posts: 60 Member
• Posts: 279 Member
My scales beg to differ.
• Posts: 3,409 Member
I managed to lose 48 pounds using based on 3500 cals/lb. I guess I must have imagined it.
• Posts: 1,030 Member
In my case this article is not true. I use MFP to measure my CI and Fitbit to measure my CO and for a period of over 8 months. According to my meticulous spread sheet tracking, I have lost 101.64% of a pound per 3500 calorie deficit. BOOYAH!
• Posts: 5,589 Member
Life hacker isn't a source I would ever reference for anything other than a good laugh. Basically, it's not what they claim because that would violate the laws of thermodynamics. It's actually a computer simulation with changes over a long run. If I put in I want to lose 10lbs in 350 days I get 6160 calories to lose a pound but if I want to lose it in 10 weeks it's 3696 calories for a pound.
• Posts: 1,847 Member
Yeah, sorry this sounds like misportrayed derp to me. I mean, of COURSE weight loss slows down over time if you dont adjust your calories out. Your CO changes as you lose weight as a result of losing weight. Who ever thought you could just eat at the same number every day of your weight loss journey and never have to reduce (provided your activity level remains the same) that to keep the deficit at 500/day? That's not how this works. You can't just pick the number you ate to lose weight at 300 lbs and keep eating that much at 130lbs. This article seems to take that very idea and use it as proof that "it's actually 7000". So, nope.
• Posts: 5,589 Member
edited February 2016
Derp lifehacker article is derp.

They don't link to the actual research.

The whole point of the article can be summed up as "There's no truly accurate way to measure exactly what one's 'CO' is, so many people probably overestimate it and as a result what they think is a 500 calorie daily deficit is really probably closer to a 200 calorie daily deficit"

Actually if you follow the links enough you come up to this tool : http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/body-weight-planner/Pages/bwp.aspx But life hacker is just a click bait site so overblows it. If you want to lose a pound this week it's 3500 calories, but if you want to lose that same pound in the future, and have lost some already then it will, in theory, cost you more in the present. It's like calculating present value of an financial intrument in a way. It's a fairly sound model from what I see but you have to actually understand what you are looking at and the article doesn't really explain it properly.
• Posts: 2,528 Member
7lenny7 wrote: »
I managed to lose 48 pounds using based on 3500 cals/lb. I guess I must have imagined it.

I'm delusional, too. 24 lbs in 24 weeks. Eating 1750 a day on average. Either my daily total burn was 2750 (nope, not obese, not very active, not a young male), or I did lose at a 500 cal deficit (yep, cuz science, real science, not 7000 cal/lb fat derp science).
• Posts: 217 Member
calorie logging naturally has a lot of error. but I have scale data and food logs that very closely corroborate that a 500cal defecit = 1lb weight loss per week.

now its quite possibly that my calorie logging has a large systematic error and I am truly eating a much higher defecit than I think...

but does it matter, if I feel good, and the weight is coming off exactly as planned?
• Posts: 5,589 Member
edited February 2016
7lenny7 wrote: »
I managed to lose 48 pounds using based on 3500 cals/lb. I guess I must have imagined it.

I'm delusional, too. 24 lbs in 24 weeks. Eating 1750 a day on average. Either my daily total burn was 2750 (nope, not obese, not very active, not a young male), or I did lose at a 500 cal deficit (yep, cuz science, real science, not 7000 cal/lb fat derp science).

To be fair, it's not the science it's the explaination. It's a mathematical model that tries to show you how future weight loss affects present planning for constant calorie intake over a period of time. However, NOBODY every does it this way, we make adjustments as we go.
• Posts: 24 Member
edited February 2016
I've lost 137 lbs in 16 months. So average of 8.5 lbs a month or roughly 2 lbs a week at a 1000 calorie a day deficit. It's getting harder, but seemed to work for me so far.
• Posts: 10,183 Member
Lately, my daily deficit is about 1000 calories and my loss has been about 1/2 lb per day. Now I'll look at that site and see how that compares.
• Posts: 5 Member
basically I find 3500=1 lb to be correct. If one truly stays correct with the calories. I am wondering if a runners body has learned somehow to reserve the calories for energy.

• Posts: 5,589 Member
Qu1ckerMe wrote: »
basically I find 3500=1 lb to be correct. If one truly stays correct with the calories. I am wondering if a runners body has learned somehow to reserve the calories for energy.

They get a bit more energy efficient but not a lot due to both biological adaptions as well as efficiencies in stride but it doesn't make a huge difference.
• Posts: 10,183 Member
The BWP compared to my results is reasonably accurate in my case. It says that my target weight is more than 8 months away at the rate I'm moving now. I suspect that I'll get there sooner because I suspect that I under-estimated my activity level.
• Posts: 6,212 Member
edited February 2016
Derp lifehacker article is derp.

They don't link to the actual research.

The whole point of the article can be summed up as "There's no truly accurate way to measure exactly what one's 'CO' is, so many people probably overestimate it and as a result what they think is a 500 calorie daily deficit is really probably closer to a 200 calorie daily deficit"

Actually if you follow the links enough you come up to this tool : http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/body-weight-planner/Pages/bwp.aspx But life hacker is just a click bait site so overblows it. If you want to lose a pound this week it's 3500 calories, but if you want to lose that same pound in the future, and have lost some already then it will, in theory, cost you more in the present. It's like calculating present value of an financial intrument in a way. It's a fairly sound model from what I see but you have to actually understand what you are looking at and the article doesn't really explain it properly.

Yeah I found the tool, but the article makes the claim that it's based on research by the NIH, but they don't ever point you TO said research to see what it really said. If they're making the claim based on the mathematical model of constant calorie intake in the face of a declining CO as one loses weight, then they should say that, not cite 'research'. And yes, I'm fully aware that expecting anything remotely resembling journalistic integrity from lifehacker is a laughable concept in and of itself.
• Posts: 1,179 Member
Derp lifehacker article is derp.

They don't link to the actual research.

The whole point of the article can be summed up as "There's no truly accurate way to measure exactly what one's 'CO' is, so many people probably overestimate it and as a result what they think is a 500 calorie daily deficit is really probably closer to a 200 calorie daily deficit"

Lifehacker is clickbait. I can't take anything they say seriously.
• Posts: 1,945 Member
Glad this is cleared up. Back to work everyone.
It's insane out there.
• Posts: 10,413 Member
The bottom line is that cals in and cals out are both just estimates. What you estimate coming in may or may not be accurate. What you estimate going out may or may not be accurate. Because of that, for some people 1lb loss = 1000 cals, for others it could be 5000 cals.

If you're not losing weight, eat less and/or move more. End of story.