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  • Writer's pictureIevgenii Kompaniiets

What's the Deal With Calorie Counting?

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

Everything sounds easy: if you want to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. Nothing special. So you started weighing your meals and tracking daily caloric intake, but your weight isn’t coming off.

Don’t worry, it’s a common problem. According to USDA people often miscalculate their daily calorage, underestimating the caloric intake.

Moreover, there are a lot of factors affecting your calculations. Let’s look closer on them.

At first, we need to understand how much calories you really need to burn to lose excess weight.

WARNING! IT’S THEORETICAL INFORMATION. DON’T TRY TO REPEAT THIS AT HOME! One pound of weight is equal to approximately 3,500 calories. Thus, losing 1 pound a day means burning 3,500 calories daily, while not consuming anything. In case you are eating the normal amount of 2,000 calories, you need to spend 5,500 calories to lose 1 pound daily. For instance, 2 hours on elliptical machine equal to 500 calories, so to spend 5,500 calories a day you need to run the whole day.

Let’s switch to a more realistic situation. To lose 1 pound a week the daily caloric intake should be shortened by 500 calories. Not too much, but it isn’t easy to burn that many calories, especially when we are miscalculating daily intake.

One of the main reasons for the mistake is equipment.


Going to the gym, we are tracking caloric expenditure using exercise machines. It’s very comfortable to run on the elliptical machine and view how many calories you burn. But stop, according to the University of California research, exercise equipment overestimate the number of burnt calories by 19 per cent. Furthermore, overestimation percentage can vary to 42 per cent making our calculations completely useless.

“But I’m using the smartwatch to track my caloric expenditure!”

Sorry, but I have bad news for you. A Good Morning America study says that wearable technologies overestimate the caloric expenditure by 28 per cent. Probably, you are not burning as much as you think.

Assuming that you are tracking expenditure 100% correctly, another problem arose - intake.

Yes, I know that you are adding every piece of 0-fat cheese to your calorie counter. But sometimes a problem isn’t in calories, it’s deeper. No, everything is labelled correctly. However, make sure that you are reading the whole label, not only the calorage section, because the problem is always hidden in high-sodium products. These products cause water retention, making your weight shred too slowly.

However, usually, the main reason for miscalculating your macros is in “forgetting” to add data about the meals you’ve ordered at a restaurant. “It is too nerdy - weighting all the food at a restaurant.'' Honestly, I totally agree with you - you need to enjoy your meals, weighting everything you’ve just looked at is more like to mania.

However, if you really want to lose weight, you need to track what you eat wherever you are. For such a purpose, I strongly recommend using the Nutritionista app. At first, it is much easier to click several times on the screen than weight all the ingredients of your meal. Secondly, this application never miscalculates the data allowing you to track your caloric intake as close to the real one as possible. Nutritionista is designed to be your own personal concierge and nutritionist planning out your meals. The idea is to simplify users lives by planning meals out for them, and helping them discover new dishes that they might not have ordered for themselves. Everyone knows go-to meals around a given spot, but they don’t know what are the best meals for healthy eating. Nutritionista solves that problem.⠀

So, where is your mistake in calculations? Hopefully, now you are ready to fix it!

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