Cutting 3,500 calories may not always equate to losing a pound of body weight.
It seems like a simple math equation. If you want to lose weight, just burn more calories than you take in by moving more and eating less. It's generally accepted that you have to have a deficient of 3,500 calories to burn a single pound. Well, it used to be generally accepted.
According to new research from the National Institutes of Health, that simple math equation may not be so simple. Researchers created a mathematical model and an online weight simulation tool of what happens when people of different weights, eating habits and exercise patterns try to lose weight. And what they found was that when it comes to weight loss, a calorie isn't always a calorie for everyone. In fact, they found that the commonly held belief that cutting 3,500 calories through diet or exercise doesn't always equate to losing a pound of body weight. According to the computer simulations, people usually have to burn more than 3,500 calories to lose a pound. This is because everyone has a slightly different metabolic rate, and as people change their behaviors — like eating less — their metabolism changes further. This helps explain why some people drop weight quickly, while others don't when eating the same diet and following the same workout plan.While the computer program was created as a research tool and was not meant as a weight-loss guide for the public, the researchers say that they hope to refine it so that it can be used for everyone.