Calories

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Calories
Calorie and body weight basics

Calories are

  • units of energy your body uses to fuel its functions and activities
  • created from proteins, fats and carbohydrates found in our foods and beverages
  • necessary for basic body functions like keeping the heart, brain and lungs functioning (also known as basal metabolism)
  • essential to fuel activity – from the smallest hand gesture to a 5-mile run

The number of calories we need each day depends on how much we weigh, how much muscle mass we have and how active we are.

If you consume more calories than your body needs, those extra calories will be stored as fat.
If you consume less calories than your body needs, your previously stored calories (fat) will be used to supply additional energy.

One pound = approximately 3,500 calories

To Lose Weight

By cutting down 500 calories per day, you will cut a total of 3,500 calories per week – resulting in the loss of 1 pound of body fat. But never consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day.*

If you want to lose more than 1 pound a week, you will need to either reduce your calorie intake further,* or increase the amount of calories you burn with exercise.

To Maintain Weight

Balance calories from food and beverages with calories expended. **

If you are a woman you will need about 12 calories for every pound of body weight (A 150-lb. woman needs about 1,800 calories a day.)

If you are a man you will need about 14 calories for every pound of body weight. (A 200-pound man needs about 2,800 calories a day.)

*Source: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005." U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
**Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture



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