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How Many Calories In Pound

Calories=1 Pound: Is It True

How Many Calories To Gain a Pound

It has been believed that there are 3,500 calories in a pound, so therefore it would seem that if you reduce your diet by 500 calories a day, or exercise and burn off 500 calories a day , that you would lose a pound a week.

This is not, however, an exact science. When it comes to weight loss, there are many different variables to take into consideration including ones metabolism.

The answer is: All calories are not the same

For example, a gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories and the same goes for a gram of protein. A gram of fat provides 9 calories. Carbohydrates generally digest the fastest, then protein and fat digest more slowly. Because each of these food groups impact metabolism differently helps to support that all calories are not alike.

Its best to not just look at the number of calories you take in, but instead, focus on the kind of calories youre consuming. A balance of the three is optimal.

The fact is: Label calorie counts are a guide, not gospel

Calorie counts on labels are permitted to have a 20 percent swing. Its important to remember that the Percent Daily Values on the Nutrition Facts Panel is based upon a 2,000 calorie diet.

This amount is more calories than many of us need and not enough for others .

Problem #: Weight Isnt Only Body Fat

The 3500 calorie rule applies strictly to one pound of body fat.

The problem, however, is that we track losses and gains of body fat by tracking our body weight, and weight can be a lot of things besides strictly body fat.

For example

  • Stomach Content

Why does this matter? Because we never lose or gain only body fat. The other things on this list are constantly being lost and gained right along with it.

For this reason, our body weight rarely changes at a perfect 1:1 ratio to our body fat. In fact, it can sometimes be off by a significant amount.

For example, its extremely common for a person to lose body fat but yet see their body weight stay exactly the same or sometimes even go up! In many cases, this scenario can last for weeks at a time thereby causing the person to falsely believe their progress has stalled all while fat is still being lost just fine .

Whats happening in this scenario is that they are gaining something else that is counterbalancing their weight on the scale , thus preventing their fat loss progress from actually showing.

This is why its so common for people to gain 2-5lbs overnight after one bad day of eating. Theyll then think oh no, I gained 2-5lbs of fat in a day!!when in reality, all they actually gained is 2-5lbs of temporary water weight because theres no way they ate the insane 7000 17,500 additional calories necessary for 2-5lbs of actual body fat to be gained in a 24-hour period.

How Many Calories In A Pound Of Fat

QUESTION: How many calories are there in a pound of fat? Ive heard people say that there are 3500 calories in 1lb, but Ive also heard people say that this old rule is just a weight loss myth. Whats the truth?

ANSWER: Good question, and there are two important facts you need to understand in order to properly answer it. Lets start with the easiest fact

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Doing The Math With A Bmr Calculator To Make Weight Loss Work For You

To lose a pound, you need to have a good idea of how many calories you burn on an average day. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average adult woman expends roughly 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, and the average adult man uses 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day. Yet age, activity level, body size, and body composition all influence how many calories a person burns through each day.

Once you know your current daily caloric requirement, you can create your own formula for losing weight. Simply put, as long as you are eating fewer calories than that number, or you increase your daily caloric burn with exercise, you will lose weight, explains Audra Wilson, RD, CSCS, a bariatric dietitian and strength and conditioning specialist at the Northwestern Medicine Metabolic Health and Surgical Weight Loss Center at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Illinois.

For example, you might eat 500 fewer calories, work off 500 more calories through exercise, or do any combination of the two actions to achieve a deficit of 500 calories. For example, you might choose to eat 250 calories fewer than your daily caloric requirement and then do a workout that burns another 250 calories, she says.

In terms of the 3,500-calorie rule, that would mean that if you achieve that 500-calorie deficit at the end of each day, you would lose 1 lb of fat in seven days. Unfortunately, that equation tends to oversimplify and overestimate losses, so dont expect to lose that much that fast.

A Few Basic Weight Loss Tips

Pounds &  calories

In addition to cutting calories, there are several steps you can take to lose weight in a sustainable, long-lasting manner:

  • Practice mindful eating.Mindful eating involves limiting mealtime distractions and paying close attention to your dishs texture, taste, and smell. Plus, this practice may reduce food cravings and promote long-term weight loss (
  • Stock up on healthy foods. Following a healthy diet is much more challenging when you have a kitchen full of processed foods that are high in sugar and calories. Instead, stock your fridge with plenty of nutritious ingredients and healthy snacks.
  • Find support. Studies show that social support may aid weight loss. Find a friend or family member with similar goals, join an online weight loss forum, or check for support groups in your area to set yourself up for success .
  • Try meal prepping. Many people find that meal prepping is a convenient way to eat well and save time. Pick one or two days to prepare your meals ahead of time so that you can enjoy delicious dishes all week long.


In addition to decreasing your daily calorie intake, the tips outlined above may support long-term weight loss.

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How Many Calories In A Pound

There are approximately 3,500 calories in a pound.

This number can vary slightly depending on your body composition and activity level.

To lose a pound, you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories.

This can be done by eating fewer calories, exercising more, or a combination of both.

To gain a pound, you need to consume an extra 3,500 calories. This can be done by eating more calories, exercising less, or a combination of both.

Calorie deficits can also be created by increasing the thermic effect of food or by increasing physical activity levels.

Covered In This Article

What Exactly Are Calories

Calories are units of energyalso found in food that keeps our bodies running. We use calories to perform every function, from breathing to running. And whatever isn’t converted to energy is stored as fat unless we use them by eating fewer calories than our body requires, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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Does A Pound Of Weight Loss Really Equal 3500 Calories

Anyone who has ever even considered going on a diet or losing weight has heard of the idiom 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of weight loss. So, what does that actually mean? Before we get into that, it is important to master the concept of the often dreaded calorie.


A calorie is simply a measure of a unit of energy. In its most scientific definition, a calorie is the amount of energy that is required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. Because energy is only transferred it cannot be created or destroyed scientists use whats called a bomb calorimeter. Essentially, food is burned inside of the bomb cell and scientists note to what extent the temperature of the surrounding water increases. Pretty fancy and intricate way of counting calories thank goodness for food labels.

Bomb Calorimeter

However, the calories that you see noted on a food label are in bigger units times 1,000, in fact. They are denoted with a capital C Calorie, or in the research world known as a kilocalorie . However, for ease of this article, calorie and Calorie will be used interchangeably.

The phrase 3,500 calories equals 1 pound of weight loss then means that in order to lose 1 pound of weight, one must create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. It is important to mention that in this conversation, we are talking about total weight loss including both fat and sometimes even muscle.

What does the science say?

Protein and exercise

How Many Calories Are There In A Pound Of Chicken Breast

3500 Calories in a Pound of Body Fat. Yes and NO

A pound of chicken breast has approximately 464 calories. The number of calories in a pound of chicken breast depends on how much protein, fat, and/or moisture is in the chicken. Most of the calories in a pound of chicken breast come from protein, which is the source of most of the energy stored in the body. The number of calories in a pound of chicken breast varies based on the type of meat. Chicken breast is made up of approximately 65% protein, 14% fat, and 11% moisture. A pound of chicken breast also has approximately 73 grams of protein, 0.6 grams of fat, and 2.3 grams of moisture.

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How Many Calories Does It Take To Lose A Pound

Youve probably heard the weight-loss rule that it takes 3,500 calories to lose a pound. The idea is that you can lose one pound by creating a 3,500-calorie deficit either by burning 3,500 calories or by eating 3,500 fewer calories.

But its not that simple. How many calories it takes to lose a pound varies from person to person, and it can change from week to week. Heres what you need to know about calories and how many you need to reach your goals.

How Can You Tell If Youre Eating Too Many Calories To Lose Body Fat

If youre trying to lose body fat, its important to make sure that youre not eating too many calories.

While it may seem like a simple task, there are actually a few different ways to tell if youre overeating.

For example, if you find yourself constantly snacking or grazing throughout the day, its likely that youre consuming more calories than you need.

Additionally, if youre always feeling tired or sluggish, that can also be a sign that youre eating too much.

Finally, if youre carrying around excess weight, particularly in your midsection, thats another indication that your calorie intake is too high.

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What Are Some Tips For Reducing Caloric Intake Without Feeling Deprived

If youre looking to reduce your caloric intake without feeling deprived, here are a few tips to get you started.

First, focus on filling up on nutrient-rich foods. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains are all excellent choices.

Not only will they help you feel full, but theyll also provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Second, make sure youre drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated will help to prevent cravings and overeating.

Third, cut back on processed foods and sugary drinks.

These foods are often high in calories but low in nutrients, so they can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Can The 3500 Rule Still Apply To Weight Loss

How many calories are there in a pound?

All in all, the 3,500 rule isn’t perfect. But fortunately, it’s still a decent guideline to follow for people who want to lose weight.

“It’s true that if you cut 500 calories from your daily diet, you’re going to lose weight,” Dr. Rifai says. But weight is only partly fat, so losing a pound of weight and losing a pound of fat are two different things, he adds.

To avoid shedding lean tissue and fluids rather than fat, the Mayo Clinic recommends a slow-and-steady rate of weight loss, which means no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. That means, if you’re using 3,500 as a guideline, you should aim to cut or burn a maximum of 7,000 calories every seven days.

And of course, as you progress on your weight-loss journey and your body composition changes, you may need to adjust your calorie deficit. That’s where a calorie tracker like’s MyPlate app can come in handy, to help you track what you’re eating and burning and help you understand how that’s affecting the scale, so you can tweak your numbers as needed.

“If you âmeasureâ a pound of human fat, it’s still going to be about 3,500 calories,” Dr. Rifai summarizes. “But we understand the science behind weight loss a little better now, and âburningâ a pound of human fat is a much different story.”

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How Many Calories Do You Need To Burn In A Day

So, lets attempt to determine how this information can benefit you. As we mentioned earlier, the 3500-calorie rule is meant to be a functional rule. The usual method of using this rule is to reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories per day. Since 500×7=3500, it is assumed that you can lose a pound per week in this manner.

Here is some interesting research to consider. In this study, researchers attempted to find a mathematical formula that would allow them to predict human metabolic rates with a greater degree of accuracy than Wishnofskys rule. Unfortunately, their model doesnt seem to be completely accurate either.

When we look at the graphs and charts associated with this study, we find that their dynamic model still had flaws. It was definitely more exact than the 3500-calorie rule, but outliers and exceptions still kept the equation from being completely reliable.

We can get a little more information from this study. Although these researchers were also unsuccessful in finding an accurate way to predict metabolism, they did find one very useful detail: The fact that all the data changes when the subject gets their total body fat down to 30 kg or less.

How Many Calories Equals A Pound

Food calorie count is a way to understand how much energy your body is getting from the food you eat. Weight loss calorie count is a way to measure the calories in the food you eat each day. To measure a calorie, you need to use a calorie counter. The calorie calorie count is the number of calories a person needs to maintain his or her weight.

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For Healthier Weight Loss Stay Active And Not Just For Burning Calories

While adding hours in the gym won’t necessarily help you lose weight, it can help you maintain weight loss and metabolism, research suggests.

Exercise helps you retain muscle, particularly if you focus on strength training. Having more muscle can help keep up your resting metabolic rate the calories you burn just by existing as you lose weight.

Are There 3500 Calories In A Pound

How Many Calories In A Pound


There are about 3500 calories stored in a single pound of body fat. This old rule is not a myth at all. Its absolutely true.

But heres where things get a little complicated, because while the 3500 calories = one pound rule is indeed true, it rarely works out that way in the real world.

Heres why.

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Does This Make The 3500 Calorie Rule Wrong

After taking all of the above into account, many people will conclude that the 3500 calorie rule is wrong, or a myth, or a lie, or a scam, or maybe even proof that weight loss is about carbs or sugar rather than calories.

And all of those people would be wrong.

The truth is, despite the flaws that prevent it from working out the convenient way wed all like it to, the rule of there being 3500 calories in a pound of fat is still an extremely useful method for estimating how much weight a person will lose or gain.

We simply need to be aware of these flaws so we can use this rule for what it is and not as some 100% perfectly accurate guaranteed method for knowing exactly how much weight we will lose or gain.

As long as you do that, youll be doing it right.

How Many Calories In A Pound Of Chicken Breast

For a decade or more, the Department of Agriculture has been changing the calculation of how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight. This is the most recent change to the estimate of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are designed to help Americans eat a healthy diet and be active. However, the latest change was largely aimed at the elderly, although many younger people would benefit from the change. In the coming years, you will need to recalculate how many calories you need to eat every day to maintain your weight. The new guidelines are more stringent and require people to eat fewer calories than they did under the previous guidelines.

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You Might Need To Rethink How Many Calories Are In A Pound

New calculator shows that you need to burn more than 3,500 calories to lose a pound

Youve probably heard the number-one rule of weight loss: It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit between calories consumed and calories burned to produce a one-pound drop in body weight. This old chestnut is more than 50 years old. Problem is, its wrong.

Physiologists, nutritionists, and unsuccessful dieters have long regarded the 3,500-calorie-rule with suspicion. But few understood why, and even fewer had a better rule to propose.

But now, there’s an explanation. Last summer, the National Institutes of Health, with a big assist from weight-change mathematician Kevin Hall, Ph.D., unveiled a weight-loss Body Weight Planner . It allows you to plot a realistic weight-loss strategy so you can measure your progress according to verified benchmarks rather than the theoretical 3,500-calories rule.

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Hall is not a doctor, nutritionist, or exercise scientist. Hes a mathematician who specializes in mathematical modeling. He created the BWP by analyzing the best weight-loss studies, and then by constructing a model that fit the results of these studies.

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The 3,500-calorie rule dates from 1958, when Max Washnofsky, M.D., wrote a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluding that 3,500 calories is the caloric value of one pound of body weight lost.

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