Eating and Weight

If a person eats one pound of food, does that mean one pound of weight is put on a person? Yes and No. Yes, if a 180 pound person ate one pound of “Death By Cheesecake”, that person would weigh 181 pounds after ingesting the last morsel.

Same thing for water.  A pint of water weighs about one pound. If you drank a pint of water, you would weigh a pound more.

No, that one pound of cheesecake does not mean a person gains one pound of body weight over time. And a few hours after drinking that pound of water, you would weigh about the same as you did before drinking the water. That’s the essence of what the person really wants to know.

It’s about the calories, not the weight of the food. Calories are the amount of energy in food. A pound of fat is about 3,500 calories. For every 3,500 calories consumed beyond what the body needs for basic functions, you gain one pound of weight.

Some foods have more calories than others. Foods high in fat and sugar are also high in calories. A pound of chocolate pie has more calories than a pound of cereal.   If you eat more calories than the body uses, the extra calories are stored as fat.

In addition, foods high in fat usually are high in saturated and trans fats and increase LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, and also increase risk of heart disease.

Another downer of high fat food along with too much food, is type 2 diabetes, or adult onset diabetes. More and more teens and young adults are being diagnosed with type 2  diabetes these days because of lack of activity and carrying excess weight. It is running rampant in our country and is starting to take a toll on our health care system.

The average adult uses or burns 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day. If a person takes in 3,000 calories in a day, he or she could “burn off” that excess 500 calories by being active or exercise to maintain their weight.

Weight loss people are always preaching two concepts about keeping excess weight off. Their advice has not changed in decades. “Eat less, and exercise more”. It is a simple formula. Easy to say, but not so easy to do. But in the end (no pun intended), it’s the only tried and true method that works long term.

There seems to be no magic bullet when it comes to nutrition and weight control. There are lots of commercials and infomercials on television that sell vitamins and diet drugs. A sizable portion of magazine advertising is aimed at weight control. Making lasting changes in eating and exercise habits is the way to lose weight and keep it off. It isn’t about deprivation, it’s about moderation.

Perhaps it comes down to Aristotle’s Golden Mean: “Everything in moderation, nothing in excess”.

Source: and Joan Kortbein, Tomah Memorial Hospital Registered Dietitian



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