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#1
08-06-2009, 08:38 PM
 elfkin477 Member Join Date: Apr 2001 Location: NH Posts: 18,602
Calorie questions

I figured it would be less annoying to start one thread with related questions than two different threads...

a. When a product label on a food item with a sauce or syrup gives the calories per serving, is the number of calories calculated upon the assumption that you're going to consume what it's packed in too? Examples being things like peaches in light syrup, pineapple in pineapple juice, a can of ravioli with meat sauce that contains bits of meat, tuna packed in oil and the like. Obviously things like fruit absorb some of the syrup/juice, but are you eating fewer calories than on the label if you don't fully consume the juice, syrup and sauces? Or more if you do?

b. We're told to lose one pound of body weight we need to burn 3,500 calories more than we consume, indicating that weight lose is a simple matter of calories in vs calories out. If this is true, why do the vast majority of dieters eventually reach a temporary plateau with their weight loss? Is there a physical mechanism involved, or do people inevitably all become careless in regards to diet and/or exercise and think they're burning more or consuming less calories than they truly are?
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#2
08-06-2009, 09:19 PM
 Bijou Drains Guest Join Date: Sep 2008
Calories are per serving which is listed in grams. So it seems if the juice is part of the weight in grams then those calories are included.
#3
08-06-2009, 09:27 PM
 Hirka T'Bawa Charter Member Join Date: Jul 2001 Location: Conyers, GA, USA Posts: 1,271
Quote:
 Originally Posted by elfkin477 a. When a product label on a food item with a sauce or syrup gives the calories per serving, is the number of calories calculated upon the assumption that you're going to consume what it's packed in too? Examples being things like peaches in light syrup, pineapple in pineapple juice, a can of ravioli with meat sauce that contains bits of meat, tuna packed in oil and the like. Obviously things like fruit absorb some of the syrup/juice, but are you eating fewer calories than on the label if you don't fully consume the juice, syrup and sauces? Or more if you do? b. We're told to lose one pound of body weight we need to burn 3,500 calories more than we consume, indicating that weight lose is a simple matter of calories in vs calories out. If this is true, why do the vast majority of dieters eventually reach a temporary plateau with their weight loss? Is there a physical mechanism involved, or do people inevitably all become careless in regards to diet and/or exercise and think they're burning more or consuming less calories than they truly are?
A. Educated guess here, but I believe they do assume you'll eat what it's packed in. If you look at two different cans, where the only difference is sauce or juice it's in the label will be different. For example, peaches in heavy syrup vs. light syrup. The heavy will be much higher in calorie count.

B. There are a couple reason, the most common one is how easy it is to lose the first couple pounds. This is mostly water weight, that you get rid of mainly by peeing and sweating. This is really easy to get rid of, since 500ml of water weighs a little over one pound (1.102lb to be exact). As for after you diet for awhile, the biggest challenge is that as you lose weight, your base calorie requirements (the amount you use by just staying alive) goes down. So even if you eat the same exact amount each day, your calorie deficit will be lowering.
#4
08-06-2009, 09:37 PM
 Markxxx BANNED Join Date: Apr 1999 Location: Chicago,IL Posts: 14,962
What you're talking about is "real weight" versus "transitory weight."

If I step on a scale and weigh 200 pounds, then step off and step on a pie that weighs one pound, then I eat the pie and step back on the scale I will weigh 201 pounds. At least very temporarily, but not everything in a pie is going to be consumed.

For instance fiber takes up weight, but it is transitory. It doesn't stay in our system.
dieticians and nutrianists
Example, I weigh 200 pounds and eat 1/4 of a pound of Metamucil. Almost all of that Metamucil fiber is going to shoot through me. To make matters odder the more liquid I consume the more air and liquid the Metamucil will hold and I'll gain even more and more weight. At least temporarily.

So you could swallow rocks and assuming no problems going in and out that'd be transitory weight.

Here's why people plateau. The less you weigh the less you need.

Supposing I'm 5 feet and I SHOULD weight 100 pounds but I weigh 200 pounds. Now on average a person doing everyday stuff needs 11 calories per pound to maintain his weight.

So if I'm weighing 200 pounds I need 200 X 11 or 2,200 calories a day to maintain that. So if I eat any less than 2,200 I will lose weight. But if I SHOULD be 100 pounds (because I'm small only 5 feet) I should be eating 1,100 calories a day.

As you can see that ain't a lot of food, if you're tiny.

So as you lose weight you need to lower your calorie intake more and more.

So someone starts out at 200 pounds decides to eat only 1,500 calories a day and eventually comes out at 136 pound (1,500/11).

Now this person says "What's UP????" I read on packages I need 2,000 calories a day on average. No YOU don't. Why? Because you're only 5 feet and should weigh 100 pounds.

You could exercise but even fast hard core areboics is only at gonna burn off about 300 additional calories an hour.

So you have to consider "averages" are just that. Now I used extreme example of small people who aren't tall and shouldn't weigh much to easily show the point.

Finally you do have a "yo-yo diet" effect that if you stop and start diets you screw with your metabolism, but research has shown the effect, while real only comes to about 1 or 2 pounds a year. In other words, yo-yo dieter and people who mess with metabolism will lose about 1 or two pound less per year.

You're not going to notice one or two pounds on a person.

Your last comment brings to mind a study we had hear a few years ago at the U of Chicago about calories. They studied dieticans and nutriantists and had them estimate the amount of calories the comsmed. They found the average one was off by one third. The best was around 15% over and the worst was in the 60% range.

OK now this shows you if dietitians and nutritionists are going to be that far off what can we expect for average joes and joanns? I mean those were people who make a LIVING at eating and judging food and they still get their caloric take way off.

It's frustrating 'cause the more you lose the less you have to eat.

It's not like you can 2,000 calories, cut back to 1,200 calories, lose the weight and get where you want to be and then go BACK to eating 2,000 calories again.

People ask me how can you eat what you eat and look like you do. I say it's calories in and calories out, 'cause that's really what it is. When I hit 1,800 calories a day, I stop. Unfotunately somedays that can come at 11am in the morning and it makes for quite a long rest of the day

#5
08-06-2009, 11:45 PM
 Liberal Guest Join Date: Nov 1999
What Markxxx said. Times 60. I've lost 60 pounds (and still going) simply by calories in, calories out. The "11" multiplier is, I'd say, for people who are moderately active. They don't work out every day for hours or run marathons, but they do walk around their yard, do chores, and generally burn up more calories than they take in. A lot of people pay attention to the calories in part, but not the calories out. Just do something. Anything. Do push ups. Walk around the yard or neighborhood. Dance (when no one is watching, of course.) Do things that make you really sweat, like streaming down into your eyes, as you wear a soaked do-rag or sweat band. Just do some work around the house or apartment. They always need something done.
#6
08-07-2009, 12:02 AM
 friedo Charter Member Join Date: May 2000 Location: Brooklyn Posts: 19,246
Quote:
 Originally Posted by elfkin477 b. We're told to lose one pound of body weight we need to burn 3,500 calories more than we consume, indicating that weight lose is a simple matter of calories in vs calories out. If this is true, why do the vast majority of dieters eventually reach a temporary plateau with their weight loss? Is there a physical mechanism involved, or do people inevitably all become careless in regards to diet and/or exercise and think they're burning more or consuming less calories than they truly are?
As others have pointed out, most people reach a plateau because the amount of energy you need to just exist (this is called your basal metabolic rate or BMR) goes down when you get smaller. If you still need to lose more weight after a plateau, you just need to adjust your calories in vs. calories out some more.

In addition to lowering your caloric intake even more, one of the best ways to increase your calories out is by increasing your BMR without getting fatter. As it turns out, muscle tissue uses up a lot more energy than its equivalent weight in fat tissue. This is why most people should add some strength training to their exercise regimen. As you build bigger muscles, your body uses more energy all day to keep them alive.

Last edited by friedo; 08-07-2009 at 12:03 AM.
#7
08-07-2009, 12:11 AM
 Liberal Guest Join Date: Nov 1999
Right again. I do a lot of resistance exercises, and again these do not require trips to an expensive gym or club. Do push ups. Lift things you have around the house. A chair will do. Lift it over you head. Just be careful. Use your legs and not your back.

There is, I'm told, an organ attched to the stomach called the "omentum". It's purpose is to store fat. The omentum is the belly that you see on a man who is overweight. It is important to keep the muscles strong so that the body will use the stored fat.

The omentum of a healthy man is about the size of a dish rag. The omentum of an obese person can be as large as a quilt. Keep those muscles toned, and watch that omentum shrivel up.

For some people, this can cause a problem with big weight loss. The skin does not necessarily "retract" after it has been stretched. And if is possible that after you toss the suspenders and wear a belt again that there could be loose skin that only plastic surgery will sovle. You don't want your pants stuffed with skin that used to cover a gigantic omentum.

Last edited by Liberal; 08-07-2009 at 12:15 AM.
#8
08-07-2009, 03:03 AM
 uglybeech Guest Join Date: Jun 2001
A. I don't know the answer to that question specifically, but realize the error on labels is allowed to be rather large - IIRC it's +/-20% - and a not insignificant percentage of food labels when tested don't meet that standard - IIRC at least 10%. So, frankly, you should probably be not that worried about EXACTLY how many calories you're consuming, because the labels alone are introducing a huge error, let alone errors in your guestimation of how much you consume, plus differences in how efficiently you absorb different foods. You're a person, not a bomb calorimeter - so don't sweat the small stuff. Use calorie labels to get a general sense.

B. There are three basic reasons why the efficacy of dieting dies off (and they do after six months to a year, generally).

1. As has been mentioned, your daily requirements go down. But it's not the fat you're losing - it's the lean mass - which is going to be somewhere on the order of 30% of your weight loss. You can more or less neglect the fat mass. Fat isn't all that metabolically active compared to lean mass, and even the extra calories you burn dragging it around doesn't compare to the extra calories you burn from having the extra lean mass associated with fat.

2. Once you lose a certain amount of weight, your requirements per kg also goes down. Your become more efficient metabolically by about 15%. This is on top of the lower requirements due to lower lean mass.

3. Probably the biggest thing is once you lose a significant amount of weight, you just get hungry. About the same point you start becoming more metabolically efficient, your appetite will also increase. That's nothing to sneeze at and it's why losing weight is much much...much...much easier than keeping it off. It takes a lot of motivation to diet in the first place, more still to keep dieting when you're hungry all the time, and even more to keep that up when you're on your third year at the same weight, you're bored with your diet, and the "thrill" of stepping on the scale and finding you're lost more weight isn't there anymore.
#9
08-07-2009, 08:33 AM
 Una Persson Straight Dope Science Advisory Board Join Date: Mar 2000 Location: On the dance floor. Posts: 14,260
Quote:
 Originally Posted by elfkin477 a. When a product label on a food item with a sauce or syrup gives the calories per serving, is the number of calories calculated upon the assumption that you're going to consume what it's packed in too? Examples being things like peaches in light syrup, pineapple in pineapple juice, a can of ravioli with meat sauce that contains bits of meat, tuna packed in oil and the like. Obviously things like fruit absorb some of the syrup/juice, but are you eating fewer calories than on the label if you don't fully consume the juice, syrup and sauces? Or more if you do?
The label assumes you are consuming the portion of the packing material which is edible. That means the juice, syrup, and other items. Calculating the amount saved by not consuming it would require some assumptions which would make things difficult.

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