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Cutting 3,500 calories won’t make you lose a pound of fat, experts say – INSIDER

Summary

Popular weight loss advice wrongly states that cutting 3,500 calories leads to a pound of fat loss.
Weight loss isn’t constant over time, however, and many factors can influence it, experts say.
Healthier strategies for fat burning include small, consistent changes to diet and exercise. 

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  • Popular weight loss advice wrongly states that cutting 3,500 calories leads to a pound of fat loss.
  • Weight loss isn’t constant over time, however, and many factors can influence it, experts say.
  • Healthier strategies for fat burning include small, consistent changes to diet and exercise. 

Many popular weight loss sources will tell you that to lose one pound of fat per week, you need to cut about 3,500 calories, or about 500 calories per day.

But it’s a myth, according to experts, and such a convincing one that it continues to circulate even among nutritionists, according to research presented at ObesityWeek® 2021, the annual conference of The Obesity Society. 

Relying on it for


weight loss

today could overestimate results by as much as 10 to 15 pounds, compared to more accurate predictors, Jasmine Jamshidi-Naeini, post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University Bloomington, said during the presentation. 

And if you’re trying to lose weight, there are better ways to keep track than cutting 3,500 calories a week, experts say. 

Weight loss isn’t linear, experts say 

The 3,500 calories formula originated in a 1958 paper by medical researcher Max Wishnofsky based on how calories are stored in the body, estimating that one pound of body weight was roughly equal to 3,500 kilocalories (abbreviated to calories). 

But people applying the rule today don’t include Wishnofsky’s original caveats, Jamshidi-Naeini said — one problem is that weight loss doesn’t stay at a constant pace over time for most people.

“Less energy is required to move a smaller body compared to a larger body,” she said. “As we lose weight, we end up needing less energy to exist.”

Food takes energy to digest, too, so eating less means you burn less. 

As a result, the 3,500 calorie rule may become less accurate over longer periods of weight loss, making it unhelpful for most people. 

“To predict weight loss in seven days, it would probably work pretty well. But for predicting weight change in 180 days, a year, 10 years, probably not,” Jamshidi-Naeini said. 

While no model of weight change is perfect, other formulas such as the NIH Body Weight Planner could do a better job of accurately predicting how much weight someone may expect to lose, she said. 

One of the problems with the persistent 3,500 calorie myth is that it’s often used to tell people they can lose weight by eating less and moving more, registered dietitian Rachael Hartley previously told Insider.

“It’s a really old, outdated nutrition myth that’s not based in fact. That’s just not how human bodies work. There are over 100 different factors that influence size,” she said. 

Losing weight can take longer than expected

For people who are trying to lose weight, doing so quickly or restrictively can be unhealthy, Bonnie Taub-Dix, registered dietitian nutritionist, …….

Source: https://www.insider.com/cutting-3500-calories-does-not-equal-pound-fat-loss-experts-2021-11