Thursday, June 23, 2011

How many calories are you really consuming?

When trying to lose weight, calories always come into play in one form or another.  They have to after all weight loss = more calories being used than being consumed.  Eating healthy is always a good place to start when it comes to losing weight, the right kind of calories make a big difference.  Did you know that a 30 year old, 150lb female, 5'5" needs 1464.5 calories a day to maintain the 150lbs.  That might not sound too bad and fairly easy to keep to, but in an average day - how much "healthy" calories are you really consuming.

Have you stopped and looked at the label of foods you are eating - I mean really looked?  Do you know how many calories are in the fruit you are eating - and if so have you paid attention to the size of the fruit or the ounces/pounds etc.

Nutrition Facts

Calories and Nutrition Facts Label for  apple, large-sized, with skin - Fat, Carbohydrate, Protein, Fiber Points, Vitamins and Minerals

An apple - something simple don't really think about.  Did you know that an apple has as much as 110 calories?  Is it a big deal that an apple has that many calories?  Next to the serving size you can see the size.  Apples come in all shapes and sizes - when calculating your calories this needs to be taken into consideration.  This is an easy label - 1 serving is 1 apple.  Check out the next...

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup:  [change]
Amount Per Serving
Calories 180
Calories from Fat 10
% Daily Value*
Total Fat  0g
Saturated Fat  0g
Cholesterol  0mg
Sodium  0mg
Total Carbohydrates  40g
Dietary Fiber  7g
Protein  4g
Vitamin A  2%Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0%Iron  2%
Zinc  6%Thiamin  6%
Riboflavin  2%Niacin  4%
Vitamin B-6  4%Folate  2%
Vitamin B-12  0%Phosphorus  10%
Magnesium  15%Vitamin D  0%

The above is for a cup of pasta.  This is straight pasta (obviously different types will have different amounts) without any sauce.  1 cup of pasta - 180 calories.  Have you actually measured how much pasta you are putting on your plate?  1 cup of pasta really isn't that much.  So, two cups?  360 calories.  For the above female that is 25% of her total calories for the day!  This is just a small insight in how food labels can be your best friend when used right but your enemy if used wrong.

So many people (myself included), have looked at food labels and said to themselves, oh it's only 70 calories.  Yup it's 70 calories for approx. 15 M&Ms but the whole bag?  261 calories.  The label gives the calories in an X amount - make sure the X amount is what you are calculating.

I was going to do a whole thing on reading food labels but decided that just giving a link to a website that has done all the explaining is easier and more informative than I could do.  So, for more information on food labels and how to read them go here for US residents.

 For British labels, and/or

Oh and btw to work out how many calories you need to consume to maintain a specific weight follow one of these formulas:

Women:  655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

Men:  66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)


  1. Calories! My best friend and my worst enemy! Great post. xx

  2. It's surprising how quickly those calories add up! Thanks for the guide to know how to calculate how many calories we should be consuming to maintain current weight.