Calories and how to lose weight

By on April 1, 2013

(NC)—Calories get a bad rap as we blame them for limiting how much we can consume before our jeans feel too tight. But bad-mouthing calories is like faulting oxygen since we need both to live.

Dr. Sharma, an obesity expert at the University of Alberta clarifies that, "There's nothing bad or magical about calories. Just like a kilometre is a measure of distance, a calorie is a measure or unit of energy – and that energy is needed to fuel our bodies for everything from keeping our hearts beating to lifting weights at the gym.”

“While many people believe that body weight comes down to a simple equation of calories in minus calories out – the devil lies in the detail," explains Dr. Sharma. “Not only is the amount of calories we require in a day different for each of us based on our sex, age, height, and physical activity, but these requirements change in response to eating fewer calories.”

Although there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, simply eating 500 calories less a day to lose one pound each week doesn't work.

Dr. Sharma clarifies: “As you eat fewer calories, your body responds by reducing its caloric needs both by slowing your metabolism and by burning fewer calories with exercise. This makes it difficult for people to continue losing weight over time and prevents most people from achieving and maintaining their 'dream-weight'.”

Nevertheless, being aware of the daily calories you need and consume is an important aspect of weight management. Dr.Sharma notes that recent moves to put calories on menu boards and moving calorie labels to the front of food and beverage packages should allow more consumers to keep track of their caloric intake thereby making it easier for them to manage their weight.

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