Frequently Asked Question’s (FAQs)
1. How can I get enough nutrients without consuming too many calories?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages you to choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages to help achieve recommended nutrient intakes. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods can help you get the nutrients you need without excess calories. Avoid excess calories by limiting consumption of foods high in added sugars and solid fats, and alcoholic beverages; these provide calories but are poor sources of essential nutrients.Because caloric intake must be balanced with physical activity to control weight, stay active.
2. When I eat more than I need what happens to the extra calories?
Consuming extra calories results in an accumulation of stored body fat and weight gain. This is true whether the excess calories come from protein, fat, carbohydrate, or alcohol.
3. How can I burn off my stored body fat?
We all need some body fat, but if stored fat is excessive it may increase risk of diet-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. This is particularly true if excess fat is in the abdominal area.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or higher is an indication that your weight may be unhealthy. And a waist circumference of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women indicates excessive abdominal fat if BMI is 25 or higher.
The best strategy for losing excess weight and stored body fat involves calorie reduction, increasing physical activity, and a behavior change plan.
4. How many calories do I need to burn to lose a pound of weight?
You need to burn off 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 lb. This translates into a reduction of 500 calories per day to lose 1 lb in a week, or 1000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds in a week. (1-2 lbs per week is generally considered to be a safe rate of weight loss.) This can be achieved by eating fewer calories or using up more through physical activity. A combination of both is best.
5. I’m on a diet to lose weight. Do I still need to exercise?
Physical activity is a key component of helping you move toward a healthier weight, as it can help you achieve the appropriate calorie balance. People who exercise regularly may be more likely to keep the weight from coming back after losing weight.
6. I would like to gain weight. How can I do this in a healthy manner?
Losing, gaining or staying at the same weight all depend on how many calories you eat and how many calories your body uses over time. If you eat more calories than you use, you will gain weight; conversely if you eat fewer calories than you use, you will lose weight.
Because many Americans are overweight, there are many resources geared toward losing weight. Some of these resources explain the principles of weight balance and can provide guidance for you to gain weight in a healthy manner; you will just need to focus on portion sizes for weight gain, rather than weight loss.
If you would like personalized advice, or you want to know how many calories or what types of foods are best for you, Registered Dietitians (RD) are health professionals who can physically assess you and your needs.