How Calories Relate to Dieting - dummies

By Jane Kirby, The American Dietetic Association

Part of Dieting For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Protein, carbohydrate, and fat make up the calorie content of all foods. Although not considered a nutrient, alcohol also provides calories. Take a quick look at what various foods add up to calorie-wise:

  • 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories.

  • 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories.

  • 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.

  • 1 gram of alcohol contains 7 calories.

The remaining nutrients — water, minerals, and vitamins — don’t provide calories nor does fiber or cholesterol.

Because there are 3,500 calories in a pound and 7 days in a week, you must cut your daily calorie intake by 500 to lose 1 pound a week (3,500 divided by 7 = 500).

To lose 1-1/2 pounds per week, you need to cut 750 calories a day. A 2-pounds-a-week loss means eliminating 1,000 calories a day. A faster rate of weight loss is generally associated with weight regain and yo-yo dieting. Eating less is one way to cut calories, but if you add exercise, you don’t have to restrict your intake so severely to lose the weight that you want to lose.