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

You’ve 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, it’s 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 (BWP). It allows you to plot a realistic weight-loss strategy so you can measure your progress according to verified benchmarks rather than the theoretical (and wrong) 3,500-calories rule.


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