Validity of approximations in regards to the caloric content of fat

Have you ever heard the phrase “3500 calories is equal to 1 lb”? Did you ever wonder where this comes from?

In the 1930’s a metabolic chamber study was performed to investigate weight loss. Subjects were placed on a 2000 calorie per day deficit. At the end of it all, when averaged out across subjects, 1lb of weight loss was equal to 3046 calories. However, between subjects, the variance was outstanding. Individual responses of subjects to achieve 1lb of weight loss ranged from as little as 1400 calories, all the way up to 6960 calories.

Around the same time, a biochemical study was performed to analyze the caloric composition of 1lb of fat. On average, researchers found that adipose tissue was composed of 87% fat. Using the conversion of 9.5 calories per gram of fat, researchers reached the conclusion that 1lb of fat was equal to 3750 calories.

Now fast forward to 1958. Max Wishnofsky performs a study in which he basically decided to combine and average the results of the 2 previous studies. He concluded that 3500 calories sounds good, and there you have it, a rule is born!

Now hopefully you see the value in avoiding obsolete “rules” for weight loss. Individuals serious about weight loss will highly benefit from the utilization of individualized body composition and metabolic measurements. Ask us today about how you get your very own measurements taken in as little as 5 minutes using our highly accurate Bod Pod!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *