Calories in a Pound of Body Fat

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How Many Calories are in a Pound of Fat? There are 3500 calories per pound of body fat. In order to lose just one pound of stored fat we need to burn off 3500 extra calories, which sounds simple, but is actually requires a healthy diet plan and regular exercise to attain.


During a calorie reduction diet some fuel from fat stores will be used as that's the role of excess body fat. The problem is that fat is not the best source of energy for the cells. Muscle cells need a constant supply of oxygen in order to burn fat continuously. At rest enough oxygen can easily be supplied but resting hardly uses any calories at all, we may only burn 50 calories an hour. Remember we need to burn 3500 extra calories per pound of fat so we must actively move to increase the total calories burned, now this is where things can get complicated!


Exercising obviously burns many more calories (see the Exercise Calorie Counter) but due to low fitness levels most sedentary people cannot supply enough oxygen to enable millions of working cells to continue burning fat for energy. The cells must use another fuel, preferably a quick-burning fuel that requires no oxygen - the role of carbohydrates.


The result is carbohydrates and fats are BOTH used to supply the cells energy with carbs being the predominant fuel. The proportion of carbohydrate to fat used depends on factors such as the individual fitness level and the type/intensity of exercise performed. These facts help explain the reason calculations become confusing, dieters reduce intake in calories per pound of fat without realizing that body fat cannot make up all the deficit in calories. The main point here is that we need to burn a far greater number of calories per pound of fat to burn off one pound of fat!!


Reduced Calorie Diet and Weight Loss

If daily calorie intake is cut by 500 less than the body requires it seems logical that fat stores will supply the additional energy requirements. However energy metabolism is complex and can be different between individuals. Which fuel the body uses depends on many factors; fitness levels, present energy stores, motivation levels, type of exercise chosen, genetic predisposition and nutritional state are a few of the important factors.