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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It’s All about the Calories!

1. Total calorie needs are determined based on a number of factors, including basal metabolic rate, gender, age, muscle mass, exercise, and voluntary movement.

- Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories that you need at rest for those functions that are not under your voluntary control. This includes your heart rate, digestion, respiration, maintenance of blood pressure, and body temperature.

- BMR is responsible in most of us for approximately 60%–75% of the calories we need per day.

- Your muscle mass determines your BMR, so men have a higher BMR than women because men have more lean muscle mass.

- Another source of calorie burning is the thermic effect of food, which means the calories it takes to digest your food. Depending on what foods you eat, this makes up about 10%–30% of your total energy expenditure.

- Exercise can augment or facilitate this dietary-induced thermogenesis.

2. How many calories do we require?

- Total energy intake is the number of calories you take in, composed of protein, fat, and carbohydrate.

- Your total energy expenditure is determined by your BMR, the thermic effect of food, and your physical activity.

- To estimate your basal energy expenditure: Calculate your ideal body weight by using the Hamwi equation; then multiply your ideal body weight by 10 to get the calories you need per day for your BMR.

- You have to add back into this the amount of calories you are burning through purposeful activity and through nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).

3. Most people outeat their exercise.

- If you walk 3 miles, you burn around 300 calories, but if you eat a 450-calorie cookie, you outeat your exercise.

- In general, you should not account for the amount of calories you are taking in during average physical activity.

4. How do you add exercise into your caloric needs?

- Exercise and movement can be quantified by adding about 30% to your BMR if you are sedentary.

- If you are unbelievably active, you could double your BMR calories.

- If you fall in the middle, you can add about 50% to your basal energy needs.

5. The best calorie-burning activity is whatever you enjoy and will be able to sustain.

- The benefits of regular exercise far exceed controlling weight.

- The biggest benefit can come to people who are currently doing nothing; they get the greatest blood pressure lowering effect just from starting any activity.

- Keep in mind that you need to lift weights to maintain functional lean mass.

- It takes burning 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of body fat.

- To lose 1 pound of body fat, at 100 calories per mile, you have to walk 35 miles.

- The challenge is sustaining an activity, enjoying it, and making it consistent.

6. Frequently asked questions.

- Can I rev up my basal energy needs? Yes: The more functional lean mass you add, the higher your basal metabolic rate.

- The Hamwi equation is for adults, but what are standards for children? Children require more energy than adults per pound of body weight. The best advice will come from your pediatrician.

- What are the best calorie-burning exercises? Whatever you enjoy!

- What are the best activities for someone who is wheelchair bound or on crutches? They can stay fit with physical therapy.

- The challenge for all of us is always going to be staying lean and fit.

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