# Calorie Counter

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# Settle this argument with friends

Member Posts: 1,509 Member
I have friends that are honestly convinced that one slice of cake that weighs about a quarter of a pound, including frosting and beung very rich, can make you gain at least a pound of weight.
I say physics makes that impossible. Technically you can gain 1/4 pound from that, most of which will quickly be digested and go away. They think I'm crazy and deluding myself. I'm saying it's not possible gor something to cause you to gain more weight than the item weighs.
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## Replies

• Member, Premium Posts: 3,823 Member
It is impossible for one piece of cake to make you gain a pound of fat.

It is theoretically possible for one piece of cake to temporarily make you gain that much of water weight from the carbs and potential sodium if you have it in conjunction with water, because it may lead to increased water extention. But even that is probably unlikely.

However if you were to step on a scale, weigh yourself, eat a piece of cake without drinking snything, then weigh yourself again, it is impossible to gain a pound.

My guess is that if they think they always gain at least a pound with a slice of cake it's probably because they are usually eating it in conjunction with other stuff.
• Member Posts: 1,509 Member
It's a little more complex, particularly simple and complex carbohydrates, if one wants to be inanely technical.
Besides blood glucose, the sugars from carbohydrates in your body are generally stored as glycogen. Glycogen carries about 4 parts water to glucose by mass.
So eating the cake by itself can't increase mass by more than 1/4, but with water, more could be stored than the weight of the food, assuming it was eaten by someone with empty glycogen storage for it.

Practically speaking, for a person at maintenance or gaining, or trying to figure out long term effects, no, you won't gain weight greater than the mass of food you're eating, or even equal as water from it is lost.

We were speaking of purely just the single item of food, not including anything like water, that you may drink a few minutes later. If you drank water, then you would add thst to the weight of what you are eating. Literally, can you physically gain more weight from any combo of food than it actually weighed before chewing ?
• Member Posts: 1,509 Member
I think the most productive thing is to ask the person, if they eat 1/4 pounds of cake, and nothing else, where does the other 3/4 pounds of cake come from? Honestly, I'd really like to see someone who thinks this try to explain how 3/4 pounds just come into existence.

Right?
That's my argument, lol! The response was "It just doesn't work that way. You (meaning me) are just oversimplifying a very difficult concept. You can have more calories than an item weighs. Duh. "
edited March 2019
• Member Posts: 1,509 Member
113.3981 grams (1/4lb) is approximately going to be right around 300ish calories depending on toppings and what not. To gain one pound you must eat 3,500 calories or so over your total burn. So, no.

However, you can gain more weight than an item weighs depending on what the item is - there are some very hearty calorie foods out there that are light weight - gainers and such.

Otherwise, using that logic, everyone would gain/lose weight in accordance with the food's weight, so we'd all be eating one strawberry a day, right?

But say a food is as calorie dense as possible. Just absolutely maxes out the possible amount of calories. Ignoring any other conditions, such as good or liquid digested besides the "cake", or any caloric burning off you may do. Just retaining every bite of that cake and nothing else, would it suddenly weigh more inside your body than it did on the plate?
• Member Posts: 454 Member
I think the most productive thing is to ask the person, if they eat 1/4 pounds of cake, and nothing else, where does the other 3/4 pounds of cake come from? Honestly, I'd really like to see someone who thinks this try to explain how 3/4 pounds just come into existence.

oh magnus.......The OTHER 3/4 pound of cake? Maybe Im confused. The subject said a 1/4 pound of cake. Isnt tne other 3/4 pound sitting on the cake table for others to enjoy? Perhaps, I am confuused. Im sure I am. Correct me please... 🌹
• Member Posts: 28 Member
ceiswyn wrote: »

Presumably the resolution is along the lines of the 'fat' we gain not actually being pure fat, but leavened with a reasonable amount of water too? So the 3,500 calories == a pound of fat metric actually means 3,500 calories == a pound of human-grade biological fat cells that include a goodly proportion of water too? Does anyone here biology? Can you clarify for the hard-of-thinking?

I was always assuming thats it what it means since even the most fatiest of fat cells must contain some water and proteins to be „alive“.
• Member Posts: 8,428 Member
Momepro wrote: »
I have friends that are honestly convinced that one slice of cake that weighs about a quarter of a pound, including frosting and beung very rich, can make you gain at least a pound of weight.
I say physics makes that impossible. Technically you can gain 1/4 pound from that, most of which will quickly be digested and go away. They think I'm crazy and deluding myself. I'm saying it's not possible gor something to cause you to gain more weight than the item weighs.

Is the person being weighed immediately after eating cake or after the 4 oz of cake has been digested? Are they not eating and drinking anything else within a week that might impact their weight?
Body weight or just fat gain? Because body weight can include things like undigested food and water fluctuations.
If you hop on the scale before quickly eating a food and then immediately after eating a food then you will likely only see the body weight increase by the weight of the food. If you wait longer to weigh then other things can be involved in changing the number you see on the scale.

4 oz of cake that is about 400 calories is not going to make someone gain a pound of fat on its own. If the person is exceeding their maintenance calories by enough they can gain a pound of fat but they have to consume more than that 4 oz of cake. If you ate 4 oz of butter (about 800 calories) you would still need to exceed your maintenance calories by 3,500 to gain fat. So you would need to eat or drink something else. Basically you are right that a person will not gain a pound from just 4 oz of cake.

• Member Posts: 1,198 Member
I think the most productive thing is to ask the person, if they eat 1/4 pounds of cake, and nothing else, where does the other 3/4 pounds of cake come from? Honestly, I'd really like to see someone who thinks this try to explain how 3/4 pounds just come into existence.

oh magnus.......The OTHER 3/4 pound of cake? Maybe Im confused. The subject said a 1/4 pound of cake. Isnt tne other 3/4 pound sitting on the cake table for others to enjoy? Perhaps, I am confuused. Im sure I am. Correct me please... 🌹
I should have just said 3/4 pound of weight instead of cake.
• Member Posts: 10,196 Member
It's possible to gain more than the weight of the item if the item is very calorie dense. If we take it to an extreme and talk about 1 pound of oil, that's 4k calories you can possibly gain, which is more than a pound. This, however, is not the case for the vast majority of foods including cake, because some of the weight of the cake is water and it has a mix of macros, not just fat.
• Member Posts: 1,198 Member
Momepro wrote: »
I think the most productive thing is to ask the person, if they eat 1/4 pounds of cake, and nothing else, where does the other 3/4 pounds of cake come from? Honestly, I'd really like to see someone who thinks this try to explain how 3/4 pounds just come into existence.

Right?
That's my argument, lol! The response was "It just doesn't work that way. You (meaning me) are just oversimplifying a very difficult concept. You can have more calories than an item weighs. Duh. "
The maximum calorie density by weight is 9 calories per gram of fats. If one ate a pure pound of pure, compressed fats, I suppose it would have 4,077 calories, while gaining a pound of fat is usually taken to be 3,500 calories because a fat cell is filled with roughly 10% water. So to fill up greater than a pound of fat by eating a pound of fat would still require in take of water.

But when you aren't dealing with other intake like water, thermodynamics / chemistry still holds that matter won't be created nor destroyed. I just don't see where it is being explained where the other matter comes from to violate that.
• Member Posts: 245 Member
It's a little more complex, particularly simple and complex carbohydrates, if one wants to be inanely technical.
Besides blood glucose, the sugars from carbohydrates in your body are generally stored as glycogen. Glycogen carries about 4 parts water to glucose by mass.
So eating the cake by itself can't increase mass by more than 1/4, but with water, more could be stored than the weight of the food, assuming it was eaten by someone with empty glycogen storage for it.

Practically speaking, for a person at maintenance or gaining, or trying to figure out long term effects, no, you won't gain weight greater than the mass of food you're eating, or even equal as water from it is lost.

Chemistry Son, picking up what your putting down..
• Member Posts: 10,196 Member
It's a little more complex, particularly simple and complex carbohydrates, if one wants to be inanely technical.
Besides blood glucose, the sugars from carbohydrates in your body are generally stored as glycogen. Glycogen carries about 4 parts water to glucose by mass.
So eating the cake by itself can't increase mass by more than 1/4, but with water, more could be stored than the weight of the food, assuming it was eaten by someone with empty glycogen storage for it.

Practically speaking, for a person at maintenance or gaining, or trying to figure out long term effects, no, you won't gain weight greater than the mass of food you're eating, or even equal as water from it is lost.

Chemistry Son, picking up what your putting down..

This question is more about biology than anything else, which is why it may be confusing and some may think it means matter is being created from thin air. Because fat isn't stored as 100% fat (has water and proteins), you need more than a pound of fat tissue to store a pound worth of fat energy so it shows as gaining more (relatively stable) weight than you put in without breaking the laws of physics. If we're talking pure fat gain, then there is no way eating a certain weight equivalent of energy would produce more stored energy than you put in.
edited March 2019