Infographic: Everything You Need to Know About Calories

Ever wonder what exactly those calories we consume every day are used for? Here are all the answers

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Elwyn Williams
Elwyn Williams

I agree with Lori.  For example, calculating my BMR using their formula, I get 1665 kcal/day.  If I ate that much every day, I'd be a blimp.  I have a really slow metabolism NOT caused by hypothyroidism, so it is not treatable.  I maintain a healthy weight on around half my supposed BMR and do well on $5/day for food.  At least if I get stranded somewhere with little to eat, I know I can survive for a long time as long as I have water!  

(By the way, please don't lecture me on how to increase my metabolism by exercising, etc.  I have a degree in physiology, an advanced degree in molecular biology, and am pretty clear on what will and won't work for me.  I do exercise every day by rowing, biking, ellipse, walking.  I've been eating the same way for over 50 years and am in extremely good health.)

Lori F. Lieberman
Lori F. Lieberman

Love the graphic, hate the article's simplicity! For instance, there are changes in metabolic rate that impact energy balance--ie., the calories your body requires--related to how much you eat. Significant reductions in intake will slow your metabolic rate--so continuing to reduce calories will only backfire. How will you know? Generally heart rate is lower, as is body temp, and weight doesn't drop like you'd expect for the low calorie level and exercise.

Also, the calorie calculators are far from accurate and there is a huge range in healthy weight--way greater thenthe BMI chart would suggest! And those will more muscle need more fuel (calories) even if their current activity level isn't high.

I'll stop here. But feel free to read more at my blog,


This calorie ratio is outdated (saying this as a physician who reviews nutritional literature.)

There is increasing evidence that the body adds fat cells in order to rapidly soak up sugar from the blood stream because sugar is toxic to the lining of blood vessels. (For example, think about how diabetics go blind and have kidney failure because of uncontrolled sugar levels.)

If you want to lose weight, decrease the "sugar stimulus" that informs your body it needs fat cells.  You can do this by eating very few carbohydrates, carbohydrates that are *slow carbohydrates* and having a high protein, high fat diet.  The diet recommended in the 4 Hour Body, the Mediterranean Diet, and the South Beach Diet- all fit this distribution of calories much more closely. 

The more you can remove carbohydrates from your diet, the less fat cells your body needs to have to protect it from "sugar spikes" that damage the lining of your blood vessels.  That means you can eat as much protein and vegetables as you like but avoid eating almost any bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, juice or milk.

Try it for 3-4 weeks and you will be astonished that you can lose weight and never be hungry.