How much should I over track my calories?

I know it's a good idea to over track the calories that I'm tracking, just to be safe about weather what the label says is actually correct. I'm just wondering how much should I actually over track, I am currently just adding an extra 50 calories onto every meal I eat, is this too much, too little?
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Replies

  • jameschappell1
    jameschappell1 Posts: 9 Member
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    What’s actually best is to try to be as accurate as possible, using a food scale. Are you weighing all your foods?

    I'll weigh the foods that I make my self, I more talking about if I buy something pre made
  • Evelyn_Gorfram
    Evelyn_Gorfram Posts: 706 Member
    Seffell wrote: »
    Don't overtrack. If your tracking is not accurate for some reason, statistics tells us that on average you will underestimate by the same amount that you overestimate so it evens out. By overtracking on purpose you will introduce an artificial bias. It will make it more inaccurate, not less.

    ETA: the 20% error in packaged food means both 20% under and over.
    Do you have any data on this? I've always thought that food manufacturers tried to err on the high side, to avoid being accidentally caught selling short weight. But I don't have any data on this myself.

  • Lillymoo01
    Lillymoo01 Posts: 2,868 Member
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    What’s actually best is to try to be as accurate as possible, using a food scale. Are you weighing all your foods?

    I'll weigh the foods that I make my self, I more talking about if I buy something pre made

    packets can be up to 20% off... but i figure it all evens itself up over time...

    Not in Australia. Very rarely will you find a serving to be less than indicated by the packaging but quite often it will be over
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,741 Member
    Lillymoo01 wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    What’s actually best is to try to be as accurate as possible, using a food scale. Are you weighing all your foods?

    I'll weigh the foods that I make my self, I more talking about if I buy something pre made

    packets can be up to 20% off... but i figure it all evens itself up over time...

    Not in Australia. Very rarely will you find a serving to be less than indicated by the packaging but quite often it will be over

    you lucky thing!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,609 Member
    "I know it's a good idea to over track the calories that I'm tracking,"
    Disagree. Sounds like a bad idea and likely to create a random inaccuracy rather than improve it.

    "is this too much, too little?"
    That you have to ask should tell you that you are guessing rather than estimating!
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,599 Member
    I didnt ever deliberately over track - but I did track quite loosely and I did accept that package sizes are what they say they are and didnt weigh them.
    This worked for me and my results were what I expected them to be.

    Bottom line - go by results

    Start by logging everything, aiming for neither over tracking or under tracking

    If you are not losing as expected - either tighten up your logging or allow some leeway - either by aiming for less than you should, realising that what you think you track as , say, 1500 calories, is really more like 1700
    OR by quick adding say 50 calories to each meal without actually eating anything for that 50.

    But only tweak like this after about a month, and only if you need to - so you can see what your results are like with tracking to target first.

  • stephieleee
    stephieleee Posts: 113 Member
    Lillymoo01 wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    What’s actually best is to try to be as accurate as possible, using a food scale. Are you weighing all your foods?

    I'll weigh the foods that I make my self, I more talking about if I buy something pre made

    packets can be up to 20% off... but i figure it all evens itself up over time...

    Not in Australia. Very rarely will you find a serving to be less than indicated by the packaging but quite often it will be over
    I believe they may be referring to the margin of error allowed by the FDA on nutrition labels, rather than serving sizes and product weight.

    For instance a company could label 1 serving size is 100 calories, when in reality it may contain 120 calories, so you may end up consuming more than you think.

    I'm not sure what the guidelines are in other countries, but whatever it is it's impossible to track calories with 100% accuracy, we can only do our best estimate with the information we're provided.
  • crisma1974
    crisma1974 Posts: 52 Member
    This is why I follow 1200-1500 calories a day plus I what I burn through exercise. To leave some room for calculation errors like underestimating calories I eat.
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,534 Member
    Lillymoo01 wrote: »
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    What’s actually best is to try to be as accurate as possible, using a food scale. Are you weighing all your foods?

    I'll weigh the foods that I make my self, I more talking about if I buy something pre made

    packets can be up to 20% off... but i figure it all evens itself up over time...

    Not in Australia. Very rarely will you find a serving to be less than indicated by the packaging but quite often it will be over

    I'm finding that too. No actual statistics to back it, but of all the packages I've weighed over the time I've been here, only once have I had something come in under weight.
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,534 Member
    As for overtracking, nope, not me. I aim to be as accurate as possible, and expect that there will be some things I can't control for (restaurant food is the main one). I prefer to not be adding in an additional unknown that doesn't have to be there.
  • jillstreett
    jillstreett Posts: 69 Member
    I will round up to just make math easier, ie: something is 190 calories and I will just call it 200 - always higher, never lower, but that's the only type of rounding I do. I do however do my TDEE at a lower multiplier than I actually think it is and base my goal off of that. I use the light multiplier, even though most weeks I am moderate, and I make my deficit around 500 calories from that. That has helped in the biggest way for me personally. I feel that for the past year that has saved me from assuming I burned more/ could eat more. If one week I ate at that low activity multiplier's maintenance calories or one week I didn't have time to work out as much as I would have liked, the lower TDEE was kind of my safety net to not go way over calorie allotment.
    I will get some nay-sayers but I lost 50 pounds in 48 weeks and did not weigh one thing, not one. So there are different strategies for all, but be as honest as possible with your CICO and adjust as fit.