The New Calories per Pound of Weight Loss Rule

The New Calories per Pound of Weight Loss Rule
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Losing a pound of fat can take as few as 10 calories a day or as many as 55, depending on whether you’re improving food quality or just restricting food quantity.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

If the “3500 calories per pound” weight loss rule is bunk, what’s the alternative? How many fewer calories do you have to eat, or how many more do you have to burn, to lose a pound of fat?

There are validated mathematical models that take into account the dynamic changes that occur when you cut calories, such as the metabolic slowdown, and they’ve been turned into free online calculators that you can use to make personalized estimates. There’s the Body Weight Planner from the National Institutes of Health, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s Weight Loss Predictor out of Louisiana State University. Here are the two direct links: the NIH Body Weight Planner and LSU Weight Loss Predictor.  Here are some shortened URLs: http://bit.ly/NIHcalculator.

The NIH Body Weight Planner has been found to be more accurate, since the LSU model appears to overestimate the drop in physical activity, but they both have their own pluses and minuses. The Body Weight Planner tells you how many calories you need to restrict and/or how much more exercise you need to do to achieve a specific weight loss goal by a specific date. If you click on the “Switch to Expert Mode” button you can get a graph and exportable chart showing your day-to-day weight loss trajectory. So, if you’re a middle-aged, sedentary average height woman obese at 175 pounds who wants to be closer to her ideal weight within a year, 2,000 calories a day would prevent future weight gain, about 1,400 calories a day would bring your weight down like this, and then you could maintain that lower weight at 1,700 calories a day. If, in addition, you walked a mile a day, it would give you a little more calorie leeway.

The LSU Weight Loss Predictor, on the other hand, doesn’t allow you to tweak physical activity, but the advantage is that you don’t have to choose a goal or time frame. Just put in different calorie changes, and it graphs out your expected course.

Is there any easy rule of thumb you can use? Yes. Every permanent 10-calorie drop in daily intake will eventually lead to about one pound of weight loss, though it takes about a year to achieve half the total weight change, and about three years to completely settle into the new weight. So, cutting 500 calories a day can cause the 50-pound weight loss predicted by the 3,500 calorie rule—but that’s the total weight loss at which you plateau, not an annual drop, and it takes about three years to get there. A 500-calorie deficit would be expected to cause about a 25-pound weight loss the first year, and then an additional 25 over years two and three. That’s only if you can maintain the 500-calorie deficit, though.

If you’re eating the same diet that led to the original weight problem, but just in smaller servings, you should expect your appetite to rev up about 45 calories per pound lost. So, if you were cutting 500 calories a day through portion control alone, before you were down even a dozen pounds, you’d feel so famished that you’d be driven to eat 500 calories more a day, and your weight loss could vanish. That’s why if you’re dead set on eating the same diet, the same foods, but just in smaller quantities, you have to cut down an additional 45 calories per pound of desired weight loss to offset your hunger drive.

So, to get that one pound off, instead of just 10 calories less per day using the 10 calories per pound rule, you’d have to eat 10 calories less on top of the 45 less to account for the revving of your appetite, so, 45 +10 = 55. So, just changing diet quantity and not quality, it takes 55 calories less per day to lose a pound. So, that 500-calorie daily deficit would only net you about a 9-pound weight loss over time, instead of 50. That’s why portion control methods can be such a frustrating failure for so many people.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Vidmir Raic via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

If the “3500 calories per pound” weight loss rule is bunk, what’s the alternative? How many fewer calories do you have to eat, or how many more do you have to burn, to lose a pound of fat?

There are validated mathematical models that take into account the dynamic changes that occur when you cut calories, such as the metabolic slowdown, and they’ve been turned into free online calculators that you can use to make personalized estimates. There’s the Body Weight Planner from the National Institutes of Health, and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s Weight Loss Predictor out of Louisiana State University. Here are the two direct links: the NIH Body Weight Planner and LSU Weight Loss Predictor.  Here are some shortened URLs: http://bit.ly/NIHcalculator.

The NIH Body Weight Planner has been found to be more accurate, since the LSU model appears to overestimate the drop in physical activity, but they both have their own pluses and minuses. The Body Weight Planner tells you how many calories you need to restrict and/or how much more exercise you need to do to achieve a specific weight loss goal by a specific date. If you click on the “Switch to Expert Mode” button you can get a graph and exportable chart showing your day-to-day weight loss trajectory. So, if you’re a middle-aged, sedentary average height woman obese at 175 pounds who wants to be closer to her ideal weight within a year, 2,000 calories a day would prevent future weight gain, about 1,400 calories a day would bring your weight down like this, and then you could maintain that lower weight at 1,700 calories a day. If, in addition, you walked a mile a day, it would give you a little more calorie leeway.

The LSU Weight Loss Predictor, on the other hand, doesn’t allow you to tweak physical activity, but the advantage is that you don’t have to choose a goal or time frame. Just put in different calorie changes, and it graphs out your expected course.

Is there any easy rule of thumb you can use? Yes. Every permanent 10-calorie drop in daily intake will eventually lead to about one pound of weight loss, though it takes about a year to achieve half the total weight change, and about three years to completely settle into the new weight. So, cutting 500 calories a day can cause the 50-pound weight loss predicted by the 3,500 calorie rule—but that’s the total weight loss at which you plateau, not an annual drop, and it takes about three years to get there. A 500-calorie deficit would be expected to cause about a 25-pound weight loss the first year, and then an additional 25 over years two and three. That’s only if you can maintain the 500-calorie deficit, though.

If you’re eating the same diet that led to the original weight problem, but just in smaller servings, you should expect your appetite to rev up about 45 calories per pound lost. So, if you were cutting 500 calories a day through portion control alone, before you were down even a dozen pounds, you’d feel so famished that you’d be driven to eat 500 calories more a day, and your weight loss could vanish. That’s why if you’re dead set on eating the same diet, the same foods, but just in smaller quantities, you have to cut down an additional 45 calories per pound of desired weight loss to offset your hunger drive.

So, to get that one pound off, instead of just 10 calories less per day using the 10 calories per pound rule, you’d have to eat 10 calories less on top of the 45 less to account for the revving of your appetite, so, 45 +10 = 55. So, just changing diet quantity and not quality, it takes 55 calories less per day to lose a pound. So, that 500-calorie daily deficit would only net you about a 9-pound weight loss over time, instead of 50. That’s why portion control methods can be such a frustrating failure for so many people.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Vidmir Raic via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

If you missed the first two videos about calories per pound, check out The 3,500 Calorie per Pound Rule Is Wrong and The Reason Weight Loss Plateaus When You Diet.

Here are those body weight calculators I mentioned: NIH Body Weight Planner and LSU Weight Loss Predictor.

I have tons more weight-loss videos already, which you can find here on the topic page, but there are gazillions more coming based on my new book, available for pre-order now.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

73 responses to “The New Calories per Pound of Weight Loss Rule

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  1. If I maintain my weight loss after portion control, does the additional 45 calorie worth of increased appetite ever diminish? Or is it permanent? Thank you

    1. Nasser,

      The hunger is caused by an increased level of ghrelin, which goes up and stays up after weight loss.

      One of the studies I looked at, the ghrelin was still raised after 2 years. The people had lost an average of 24 pounds and were still constantly hungry after.

      1. I will add that the whole moderation weight loss movement is why Keto and Whole Food Plant-Based are so popular.

        99.9% of us who tried to do it that way never reached ideal weight and 99% of the ones who do reach ideal weight gain the weight back. Or something close to those statistics, per the Bright Lines lady.

        If you are overweight because you like food, you will likely fail. because if you were disciplined enough to maintain your weight in the first place, you wouldn’t be asking that question.

        If you are overweight because you were an athlete who no longer exercises and kept eating the higher calories, that might be an exception. You might be able to train again or something and might be disciplined enough and just not have done the math.

        1. My weight gain started with menopause, I have always maintained my weight and have always trained.
          Weight gain is not always caused by lack of self discipline, or control of eating habits.
          there are other causes and exceptions.
          I was very surprised by my sudden weight gain at menopause and I had never dieted in my life, so obviously it took me too long to get it back under control.
          And the advice I was given at the time was not sound, Now I am stuck with the ghrelin.
          as well as the estrogen en progesterone imbalance.

          Ghrelin is not the only hormone in the body.
          Nor is every overweight person a weak willed food lover.
          Thankfully Dr Greger knows his way around this!

          1. Lizzy,

            My mother, who was slender all her life, told me that she noticed that when she approached, went through, and passed menopause, she had to eat less in order to maintain her weight. So she cut out desserts, candies, snacks — or at least down to a lower level. She also cut her portion sizes slightly. She was active, but not athletically inclined.

            So I was forewarned. But I was slightly overweight and out of shape as I headed toward menopause (about 20 years ago). So, I started exercising, and a year later, I was much more fit, but had lost no weight. (Though I only recently realized I hadn’t gained any, either.) So then I changed my eating habits, practicing portion control and making healthier choices, as I’ve described elsewhere, and I gradually lost about 25 pounds over about 18 months — just as I was starting menopause. And by not reverting back to my old eating habits, I’ve kept the weight off.

            But, when my husband and I transitioned from vegetarian to plant based whole foods, dropping dairy products and eggs and making an effort to eat more beans and whole grains, as well as more veggies, fruits and in moderation nuts and seeds, we each lost more weight without meaning to — I lost about 10 lbs. And we’ve kept this weight off for a few years now.

            So it seems that for at least some women, weight gain around menopause was caused by eating habits: in that it wasn’t possible for at least some of us to keep eating the way we did when we were younger, and we had to cut back on how much we ate, and what we ate. Basically, it’s not a “Diet,” but a change in our eating habits for life.

            But there are a lot of reasons beyond weight control to eat plant based whole foods . And we eat this way for all those other reasons.

            1. I already eat wholefoods plant based and have done most of my life, (vegetarian – vegan) I have always trained, I still do, ( gymnastics, martial arts, power and ashtanga yoga)I eat no sugar, eat no chips or sweets or cakes or desserts because I don’t like them, I never drink anything fizzy as I hate fizzy drinks.
              In fact no processed foods at all, we even bake our own bread.
              I am one of those people that really likes eating healthy foods, I love sprouts and spinach, and salads, I think I do really well, I am going for a healthy active energetic old age,

              Thought I am not gaining any weight anymore, it’s not shifting either, it is all on my waistline and nowhere else so it’s visceral fat and organ fat.
              How can I induce my hormones to allow me to loose those extra pounds and then stabilize at my original weight?

              I no longer eat like I did before menopause, I changed my eating as soon as I found out what was going on and now eat much less, and more raw foods and I train harder now too, perhaps a long fast is the only way left, any ideas?

              1. Lizzy,

                Just a thought here based on a book I read many years ago. It is called “Sunlight” by Zane Kime M.D. If my memory is correct Dr. Kime recommended sunbathing for women going through menopause that were experiencing the side effects of menopause. From what I can remember when the sun shines on the closed eyes it regulates the pituitary gland which affects the other glands that make the other hormones. Perhaps some proper sunbathing would help regulate your hormones. I only had some hot flashes when I went through menopause and the sunbathing worked like a charm to get rid of them. Didn’t have any all winter until spring came. It was an excellent book on sunshine and health.

                Lea

                1. Liz,

                  There is no lack of scientific information on the benefits of some UV (sunlight) exposure.

                  Check out this publication https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4764124/#targetText=In%20addition%2C%20estrogen%20increases%20the,29%3B%2035%2D37) regarding vitamin d levels and estrogen modulation.

                  In terms of the effect on the pituitary, not so certain, see this experiment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9189734 which did not show changes. However, with that said what about the stress reduction from taking the time to sunbathe and the warmth. Obviously theres more to be explored, but keep in mind the issues with skin cancer.

                  Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

                  1. Lizzy,

                    I live in Pennsylvania. I did my sunbathing in the summer months and had no hot flashes until the spring came. I was only out for about a half hour each day and flipped over onto my stomach after fifteen minutes. I didn’t do it every day, but at least three times a week.

                    Lea

    2. Hi, Nasser AbuJaber! The key is to change your lifestyle habits. If you continue to eat the foods you ate that made you gain weight, then just eating less of those foods will leave you feeling hungry, and the effect may be permanent. If you change to more nutrient-dense foods, you can eat more food, filling your stomach more, while consuming fewer calories. More on that here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/nutrient-density/ Eating slowly and chewing each bite thoroughly can also help you to feel full on less food. I hope that helps!

    3. Don’t know, it’s a hormone, it’s cyclic, it’s circadian, it likely has metabolic ties to those things your stomach can sense, fullness, density, etc.
      But caloric restriction on an unhealthy diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies and starvation unless you’re reducing calories while ensuring superior nutrition.

      Quotes from Dr.Greger
      “consuming diets lower in energy density may be an effective strategy for weight control. This is because people tend to eat a consistent weight of food. So, when there’s less calories per pound, caloric intake is reduced.”
      “it allows people to eat satisfying portions while limiting calories, but also because reductions in energy density are associated with improved diet quality.”
      “Lower energy-dense diets tend to be of healthier foods, so we get the best of both worlds. “

  2. All this calorie counting raises a question, for me at least. From what I’m reading, this seems to be a comparison of the calories we consume through food, compared with the calories that our body uses doing exercise and during normal resting metabolism. If we consume more calories than we use, we gain weight, and vice versa, at least over a long period of time.

    My questions is: how do the calories used by our gut microbiome fit into this equation? It seems that the gut bacteria use some of the food we eat, but then they are excreted. So how are these calories accounted for?

    Fortunately, I don’t have a weight problem after going WPF. But being a curious person, I try to make sure I understand things correctly :-)

    1. some calories make it to the gut biome: see resistant starch.
      what does make it to large bowel are carbs we call fiber because we can’t digest; that’s what supports the microbiome.

    2. Let me re-phrase my question. For long term weight stability, it would seem to me that the equation should be something like:

      Calories used by the body = Calories eaten – Calories used by the gut microbiome

      I’m looking at this from Physics viewpoint. Maybe the nutrition experts define those calories used by the gut microbiome as being included as part of those used by the body? Or perhaps they never even thought of separating the two.

      1. Darwin

        Fibre, defined as nondigestible carbohydrates, was long said to provide zero calories. However, it is now known that our microbiome extracts energy/calories from fibre which our our body utilises to some extent. A lot of that energy would support the microbiome itself of course but some of it is used by the microbiome to eg manufacture beneficial short chain fatty acids.

        Fibre potentially delivers 2 calories (compared to 4 calories in ‘digestible’ carbs)

        ‘The energy value of digestible carbohydrates is generally accepted as 4 kcal/g for both sugars and starches. Fermentation of fiber in the gut will produce SCFAs that contribute calories, generally estimated to be ∼2 kcal/g. Few studies have linked carbohydrates to obesity. Indeed, observational data generally report that higher carbohydrate intake is linked to lower body weight.’
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224210/

        Also, aren’t you ignoring the calories excreted part of the equation? isn’t that one reason why (whole) nuts have not been found as fattening as a simple analysis of their calorific value would sugest? Ditto for whole plant foods and processed plant foods. Not only does the body require less energy to extract the calorific value from processed foodstuffs but the calories in whole plant foods are less bioavailable and perhaps more likely to be excreted.

        Certainly, it has long been known for as long time that people on high fibre diets (but not fibre supplements) appear to excrete more fat and protein. Whether this is directly from the food we consume or indirectly from the microbial community that feeds on that food eg fibre – or from both – isn’t entirely clear to me. Perhaps our resident experts on these matters (YR/Latine and John Newall) may have an opinion.

        ‘studies tend to confirm that the consumption of unavailable carbohydrate leads to a decline in the apparent digestibility of other nutrients, but have not explained the mechanism underlying the effect. The work of Southgate and Durnin(7) showed that the faecal energy losses of subjects consuming a mixed British type diet were increased by the addition of higher levels of dietary fibre from a variety of fruit and vegetable sources. These losses were partly due to increased faecal excretion of fat and protein. Subsequent studies, using mixed diets of various kinds, confirm these observations (2,17), though a decrease in the apparent digestibility of fats is not always observed (18).

        In other studies, the effect upon faecal composition of specific types of unavailable carbohydrate, given as supplements to subjects consuming controlled diets, have been observed. Prynne and Southgate (19) gave a 25 gm supplement of Isphagula husk to four subjects, and observed changes in faecal composition which varied between individuals, only one of which displayed any decrease in the apparent digestibility of energy and fat. Two other recent studies, both of which utilised supplements of refined cellulose (20, 21), have also failed to indicate a decrease in the apparent digestibility of fat.’
        http://www.fao.org/3/M2763E/M2763E00.htm

        As to whether individual valculators adequately address these issues, I suspect it varies greatly …. but there is a lot that we do not know and all sorts of other factors including geneticones are probably relevant.

  3. My eyes started rolling back into my head with all this simple arithmetic!!

    I’ve never counted calories; it seems like so much work! Instead, when I wanted to lose weight about 20 years ago, I changed the way I ate, meaning what I ate: I started making healthier choices. For example, I replaced a pastry with a banana to eat with my morning coffee, and eventually a candy bar with another piece of fruit in the afternoon. I drank juice in the morning, but less, and then diluted it with sparkling water (my daughter referred to it as my “non-alcoholic mimosa.”) I tried to eat at least one or two more servings of vegetables a day. And I gradually gave up snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc), candies, and desserts.

    So yes, I paid attention, somewhat, to calories, in that I cut back on what I knew were high calorie “junk” foods, replacing them with healthier fruits and vegetables. And I practiced “portion control” for the decreasing amounts of the junk that I did eat. And I gradually lost 25 pounds over about 18 months. And since I never went back to my old ways of eating, I kept that weight off for the next 15 plus years.

    And, when I switched from vegetarian to plant based whole foods, dropping dairy products and eggs, I lost another 10 pounds without even meaning to or trying.

    Finally, a lot of these calorie counters require bar codes that you scan in the get a calorie count — but most of what I eat doesn’t have bar codes. And that is the point! Whole foods. How many calories in this banana, that apple, my small palmful of nuts? What is the calorie count of the soup I make last night, from onions, garlic, carrots, celery, chickpeas, pasta, spinach, broth, and spices? Who cares? (The soup was very good and very filling, btw; it was my substitute for chicken noodle soup — I used a recipe I found online.)

    1. Similar experience here. Lost 55 pounds when I switched to an Americanized vegan diet. Lost another 30 pounds by going WFPB. Never did any calorie counting or calorie restriction and now have a BMI of <20. According to cronometer I eat between 4000 and 5000 calories a day on a "Starch Solution" style WFPB diet. I also eat the Daily Dozen except usually no nuts. Just the tbsp flax meal.

    2. I would love your recipe for the soup! I agree counting calories is brutal. It makes me very anxious. I focus on nutrient density instead.

      1. Cynthia Zenti,

        Here is the recipe I basically followed: https://cozypeachkitchen.com/chickpea-noodle-soup/

        It’s an Instant Pot recipe, but could be modified for stove top cooking. I cook almost everything I can in my IP. It’s great for cooking beans — especially dry beans! — and whole grains — I could never cook quinoa on the stove top: with my IP, I add the liquid, the quinoa, set my program, and voila! Same thing for polenta — as well as soups, stews, main dishes, side dishes, veggies. I just donated my 2 crock pots, which languished unused in the basement for 2 years before that.

  4. I do not even think of calories. By eating a WFPBD and having nuts, avocado, as well as not keeping snacks does the trick. I did cheat last nigh but all I had to eat was kidney beans and broccoli which on occasion does not have much of an impact as I feel full the next morning. I also find walking on the beach with a friend and our dogs, which I did miss yesterday, or other sports, has a big positive impact on stress eating.

  5. I’ve found every calorie counter/weight loss estimator including these to be grossly inaccurate and a huge waste of tie, useless at best and harmful at worst. My success strategy is:

    1. Diet for weight loss and exercise for fitness. DO NOT mix the two.
    2. IGNORE calories burned through exercise and reduce caloric intake to 500 calories per day – extremely simple and effective, resulting in about 3#/week fat loss.

  6. I do count calories (roughly), but then there isn’t a whole lot to keep track of in a day with what I can eat. The body weight planners are good if people translate allowed calories accurately into healthy food choices. Generally speaking, I find I have to underestimate the amount of exercise I am getting and overestimate the calories I am taking in.

    As to Darwin’s question above, I think Fumbles posted last week about wfpb fiber etc making a 20% (?) difference in what we can eat of wfpb foods. Hopefully Fumbles will correct me on that. I prefer to not add more food, but see it as a gift at the weekly weigh-in :)

    1. Generally speaking, I find I have to underestimate the amount of exercise I am getting and overestimate the calories I am taking in.

      Barb, yes, that is what I am finding and it is because I have a sit-down job and that I am post-menopausal.

      I always was able to lose the weight fairly easily, and did change my diet, but hit the getting hungry and with the hunger wanting the old food back.

      I haven’t lost much weight WFPB, but I haven’t been feeling hungry or wanting the old food back.

      Ironically, I did get a little bit of weight loss this weekend by increasing my fruit intake. I added in a banana and an orange and some pineapple and saw a change. That is fascinating.

      1. I haven’t been eating oranges or bananas or apples or pineapples almost at all, but I had been eating them when I was losing weight near the beginning, so it was just something to try.

        1. Intellectually, I feel like the whole time I have been making the wisest choices, moving away from junk food and sweets and dairy and oils and I was only eating berries for fruit, which seemed like wisdom and leafy greens and cruciferous for vegetables, which seemed like wisdom, but I feel like I must compensate somehow and it is like no matter how much I changed my diet, I must have compensated and moved a little less and poured a little more plant milk in my coffee or something. It is interesting to me that adding in maybe some oranges and pineapple which have more water and a banana, which has creaminess must have tipped the balance.

          I don’t even know what to learn from it, but I can say that the lesson might be that if you are stuck, switching things up might help.

          I am going to use the resources Dr. Greger has shared.

          This series genuinely will help me tremendously. Can’t wait for the book!

          1. Oh, I also added in Dr. McDougall’s cup of soups. I guess that it is increasing watery foods I am working on.

            I still haven’t lost weight since going off of the avocado and nuts, but increasing watery foods seems promising.

            And this will be the comment, which Reality Bites will look like he commented on, and that is okay.

            1. Deb – Quite a while ago I came across a “satiation” list of foods that provided the most and least satiety. I would link it for you if I knew where it was – sorry. But I simply chose to remember the information I wanted which was which foods provided the most satiation since my strategy for weight loss is to be satiated for as long as I can and then eat healthy WFPB. So (drum roll please), the two foods that provided the most satiation were potatoes and oranges. And I have to say that I instinctively knew about the oranges already having been a mountain hiker and found oranges to give me a boost when I was dragging and also let me feel non-hungry for a long time.

              But, also, . . . one of the tricks I use – again for satiety and fullness – is to slice some pear (or apple as they have the same fiber) into my salad. Along with other vegetables like beets, artichoke, kohlrabi, beans (of course) and whatever greens (leafy and hard like broccoli, asparagus, etc). The pear is what I find fills me up – to the feeling stuffed level – and keeps me non-hungry for a long time. Then, if I get hungry after my dinner salad I eat an orange. Grains I try to eat during the day where I can burn them off as I have a non-desk job. Grains with a desk job may be too many calories, I don’t know.

              I, too, found my greatest weight challenge at menopause time. And the beginning of diabetes. Luckily I found WFPB eating and can now easily control my weight and lose a few pounds when needed. Dr. McDougall’s son, Craig McDougall, M.D., operates a WFPB program through Kaiser in Oregon. I saw a short video a while back in which he addressed weight gain on a WFPB diet. He said that from his experience, those who had difficulty maintaining or losing weight on a WFPB diet had too many starches – grains/beans – in their diet and insufficient green and yellow vegetables for their dietary needs. His advice was to change the ratio on your plate and to always make sure that your plate had half the plate in green and yellow vegetables PLUS a side salad at minimum. I found that when I made that change my weight would change in the direction I needed.
              Just sharing . . . .

              1. Hello Ruth This sounds like solid advice, Could well be I am eating too many grains, I shall look up the McDougall too, We do bake our own bread, which is delicious, I’ll cut down in that.
                Although it is whole mixed grain flour from the mill and contains no additives at all so it’s not unhealthy.
                I’m looking forward to the new book, “How not to diet” to get my BMI down from 23 back to 19, from a 12 back to a 4 I have a taste for purple and red vegetables, beets and purple sweet potato, and red cabbage, so yellow food will make a difference, and I’ll eat more oranges, oddly enough I just bought a load of pears to put in my salads, which I like really dark green usually.
                There has recently been some good advice round and about concerning hormone levels and menopause, I still have to read through it.
                Thank you so much for sharing. it’s something I can get started on today.
                Lizzy

          2. Nice that you enjoyed adding in some more fruit Deb! I eat probably 5 servings /day, which is more than what Dr Greger has for us in the Daily Dozen list. I eat as much or more of veggies too. Nothing wrong with your berries, cruciferous, or salads etc .. all terrific choices! But we’re in this for the long haul so developing diversified menus will only help to keep us nourished, and keep us interested.

            One thing that happened to me when I added more fruit is that my blood pressure went down. Anyone else notice that?

  7. RB, no one is offering health advice here. The frequent commenters often engage in discussion, so if that is not to your liking, seek entertainment elsewhere. Your constant berating of people is tiresome.

    1. These kinds of snarky comments seem to be for RB’s own entertainment. It’s quite repetitious, sophomoric and condescending. But much easier than actually saying something informative.

    2. Coming a bit late to this discussion, so I missed RB’s contribution. I was just about to say how refreshing it was to see a civilised discourse online!

      My experience with fasting: I started IF (5:2) in Feb/March, 2012, after I saw a study that said it could help prevent prostrate cancer by lowering IGF-1 (I was then 75) – but I thought going down to a quarter of 2500 calories was a bit drastic, so I just cut my meals in two – half on Monday, the other half on Wednesday. Almost immediately I began to lose weight I didn’t know I had to lose – WW had said I should be around 10.10, so I tried to keep to that. But I had a middle-aged spread, which I thought was normal – and that started disappearing.

      In August of that year, Michael Mosely ‘s Horizon programme on IF – ‘Eat, Fast and Live Longer’ was aired on the BBC – so I then went down to 1/4 of my calories. By October, I was trim and down the bottom end of 9 stone, where I’ve remained ever since. I quit 5:2 and adopted a once a week 24 hour fast. I have to say I have so much energy, these days – I feel 28 rather rather than 82. I should say I went plant-based 15 years ago. My main meals when I was 5:2ing were veg stews: I can make a huge amount of veg curry for 125 calories – too much to eat at one go. Looking forward to Gr Greger’s other videos on IF.

    1. Dorothy,

      Other minds would say, why count calories when we have the caloric density of foods and we know that increasing fruits and vegetables will decrease the quantity of other foods we eat.

  8. My take is that this video is an illustration of how calorie counting is not effective. Dr. Greger may follow up with a video on calorie density for weight loss. Eat lots of vegetables, fruit, legumes, starches, and whole grains (and temporarily limit/eliminate soy, avocado, seeds, and nuts due to high fat content and caloric density) and you will always feel satisfied and the maximum you can eat in a day is nutrient dense but calorically light. This rapidly equates with fat loss without effort. Exercise for fitness.

  9. I never count calories but when my jeans are tight after a vacation, I count grams of fat.

    60g a day for me is not punishing. And with all the added veg, no hunger.

    Oh, and I have to cut back on the beer.
    Alcohol goes straight onto my belly.

  10. Interesting. If you put a relatively small weight loss over a small number of days into the NIH calculator, you get the result that reducing about 3500 cals. will result in about 1 lb. of weight loss. That’s where “the rule” actually comes from. The rule is not bunk, this video distorts it (again) by ignoring the change in calories burned as weight is lost. Distorting the math is not helpful. Keeping in mind the science behind calorie deficits is.

    1. Mark,

      First, I go back 9again) to the fact that Dr. Greger is reading someone else’s words. That is why we can read the sentences while we listen to him speak.

      The person who wrote the journal article is not distorting the math. He is explaining the science. You are assuming that all of the people who eat the fewer calories will know the science works and he is pointing out that the vast majority of people do not realize the science and that most of the calorie counters do not take the science into account and the whole weight loss industry overestimates what you will lose. These videos are about explaining the science and you think because you already add the science in that he is wrong, but he is talking to people who do not know the science.

        1. Dr. Greger is reading a journal article, which is explaining that you have to adjust the calories you eat based on science if you want to lose weight and that it isn’t just calories which have to be taken into account.

            1. Thank you Dr. Greger. I’ve not seen people losing weight with just portion control. Need to change what they eat.
              What I notice about the obesity epidemic is that in most people the weight is gained around the middle, not all over the body. And we know that having belly fat is metabolically worse.
              Old photographs show most people were not overweight, but even those who were usually had the fat distributed.
              Was it their diet, hormone changes, fact they were more active?
              Wish the good Doc would address that. What has happened?

              1. Marilyn,

                I love it that you participate. You are such a valuable asset in this community.

                People are so lucky to be one of your patients and I say that sincerely.

                I appreciate so much that you are spending your time learning and thinking so deeply about these topics. I know that your time has to be so limited if you are anything at all in the medical field and I just want to thank you.

                The world needs more people like you.

                1. Your comment caused me to look up stress and weight gain, which they always felt contributed to belly fat and I found these sentences FASCINATING. Honestly, the whole article is really very interesting.

                  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958156/

                  It was also found that a lower family income [32] and lifetime exposure to trauma [33] were associated with a higher HCC. In adults, however, a past trauma corresponded with lower HCC [6••, 34–36], whereas in the acute phase, cortisol levels were raised [37]. For example, a recent study shows that permanently staying asylum seekers have lower HCC than the reference group whereas recently fled asylum seekers have higher HCC, but no differences were found between the recently fled asylum seekers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those without PTSD [38]. Possibly, a traumatic experience temporarily raises systemic cortisol levels, which fade over the course of time leading to subsequent lower HCC.

                  1. Halfway through they discuss the mechanisms which contribute to cortisol and I don’t understand all of the initials yet, but I look at the list and I already have the chronic sleep deprivation and chronic stress from too much work and not having a high income. Pre-WFPB, I also ate high glycemic index and before buying the MicroPulse ICES I had chronic pain and being up all night for a decade, I had night eating, though I am not sure it was a syndrome.

                    There are several mechanisms that can potentially contribute to higher cortisol levels in individuals with obesity. First of all, there could be an overactivity of the HPA axis, including increased CRH and ACTH. This could be due to the intake of food with a high glycemic index [71], chronic stress [72], chronic pain [73], alcohol [74], and chronic sleep deprivation [75]. HPA activity also seems higher in patients with the night eating syndrome [76], although it is not known whether the actual timing of meals may influence the HPA axis. Secondly, inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6, TNF-alpha, and IL-1β can influence the HPA axis [77]. Thirdly, it is conceivable that the different cortisol levels may be due to individual variation in enzymes that are involved in cortisol metabolism, such as 11-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases enzymes type 1 and 2 (11βHSD1 and 11βHSD2). The enzyme 11βHSD1 catalyzes the regeneration of the inactive cortisone to its active form cortisol.

                    I also did look up hormone replacement and the fact that it helps weight loss is the one area where I would be tempted to do it (in spite of the other risks, which Dr. Greger covered recently, which I almost remember something about, but not quite. I am going to say heart attacks.)

                    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11436191/

                    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5770528/

                    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12917709/

                    That tells me that I lied about the whole vanity thing. But I am years past my period and my brain would have already adapted to keto if that study was true and late HRT made things worse for Alzheimer’s if started late, so that is the other side of my brain in the ping pong match.

                    Dr. Barnard wrote a hormone book recently. I haven’t read it yet. I watched an interview, but I wasn’t so sure if it was for me or not. It would have helped quite a bit when I was younger.

                2. Deb, you give me far too much credit, but thank you.
                  I read the article on cortisol you posted. That led me down all sorts of rabbit trails. :)
                  Although it’s really just about correlation, it makes sense. I also thought that there are more reasons for stress. The article mentioned high glycemic diet, sleep loss, inflammation etc.
                  It made me think of a number of other factors to add. More people living in cities which increases loneliness due to loss of community and green space. Breakdown of family life is stressful.
                  Many people spend a lot of time watching TV programs and identify with the stress portrayed which raises the heart rate and blood pressure. Even sports programs do that.
                  As far as diet is concerned, does eating meat, especially Cafco type cause the stress hormones these poor animals produce to increase stress hormones in those who eat them? Consumption of animal protein has gone up as these foods have become cheaper.
                  Anyway, thank you for posting the article. It’s given me a lot to think about.

    2. I wonder how respiratory quotient (RQ) figures into this. At rest typical person has an RQ of 0.85 which means that for each calorie burned 50% is from carbohydrates and 50% is from fat. So in theory a 500 calorie reduction actually burns 250 calories of fat. So over the course of the year a person would burn 25 lbs of fat instead of the predicted 50 lbs which is similar to what was noted in the video. Now that the person is 25 lbs lighter they burn less calories so if they don’t adjust their calorie intake they burn less calories so the weight loss slows down. Maybe that contributes to only losing 25 lbs in years two and three. I am no scientist just thinking out loud. I have had my RQ tested several times and the topic interest me.

  11. Strange reply on this site. Eating Whole Foods, exercising for enjoyment, decreasing stress and knowing what foods work for or against you personally will most likely do it !

  12. Reality Bites,

    I am actually going to agree with you about internet advice and say that, the exception is when you are trying to follow the scientific advice and are in the midst of a like-minded group, who are discussing issues daily and are sharing from experience.

    I watch every WFPB doctor I can find, but I learn so much from these comments and these comments are the people who are walking it out.

    How do I know that Tom and Barb and Dr. J. and you aren’t Bot’s, well the snarky comments, for one.

    1. I will add that all of the people around me who are walking with their doctors are either Keto or being told to do moderation or are being told that dietary solutions do not work. My cousin is being told to eat 5 egg omelets.

      1. “My cousin is being told to eat 5 egg omelets.”
        – – – – – –

        Wowsie, 5 eggs in one omelet? Talk about egg overkill! How often, once a week, every day, or what?

  13. At 2:06, Dr. Greger offers a rule-of-thumb, “… every permanent 10 calorie drop in daily intake will eventually lead to about one pound in weight loss…”
    ———————–

    The highlighted source text, however, shows the phrase, “equivalently, 10 KILOcalorie per day per pound of weight change…” That seems quite different– the missing element in Dr. Greger’s statement seems off by 1,000.

      1. Thanks– the same energy in a dietary sense is understood as “cal”, but in a physics context as “kcal”. However, it is unclear why a medical researcher interested in diet would use the term kcal.

  14. I submit that practically no one has had or will have the patience to count their calories at every meal, every day, for years (barring someone who is obsessive-compulsive). I doubt that even these more precise mathematical models account for the effects of energy density and dietary fiber on the percentage of calories that are absorbed and burned by thermogenesis, compared with the number consumed. In any case, it’s the wrong message: it was 50 years ago, and it still is. Poor eating HABITS are what cause excess weight gain, and better eating habits are the answer, which is why we have studies like those done by Barnard et al which show that people can eat unrestricted amounts of [low energy density] plant foods and still lose weight.

        1. YR, decades ago I spent a lot of time looking up various calorie values for foods I ate. Having always eaten whole veggies, fruits, beans etc not much has changed since then, so it is rare that I have to look something up. If I pick up a small apple say, I can no more “forget” 60 or 70 calories than I could the colour red.

          imo, a real stumbling block for some folks is eating out in restaurants where there are no labels of nutrition facts to keep people conscious of how much they are ingesting.

    1. Rick Weissinger,

      I agree with your position. Which I think is also the over all message here at Nutrition Facts. I think the videos are describing the short-comings of calorie counting for weight loss. To say nothing about health. Which calorie counting doesn’t: it says nothing about over all health. But eating HABITS do. One way or the other.

  15. Are calories really something to be concerned about on a whole plant based diet? I don’t count calories at all and at age 61 I am extremely lean (some say too thin) – and I love beans and greens.

  16. Am I the only one that found the necessity of an additional 45 calorie per day decrease to account for the hunger drive bizarre? I mean, it makes sense if you say that it will take *longer* to lose weight given the additional hunger drive that causes the increased consumption of an average of 45 kcal per day among people who are not strictly measuring and limiting calories, but it makes absolutely no sense to say you need to increase the deficit from 10 kcal to 55 kcal to account for the “hunger drive” if you are not actually eating more calories. In other words, if you strictly limit calories regardless of your increased hunger, the 10 kcal deficit should not need to be increased to 55. But that’s not how it was explained.

    1. Patricia, you’re right; however, the point is you won’t be able to limit your calories because the hunger will overcome logic. We are emotional humans, not Vulcans, and regardless of how much you believe you can starve yourself and go hungry day after day, month after month, you won’t.

      ” If you’re eating the same diet that led to the original weight problem, but just in smaller servings, you should expect your appetite to rev up about 45 calories per pound lost. So, if you were cutting 500 calories a day through portion control alone, before you were down even a dozen pounds, you’d feel so famished that you’d be driven to eat 500 calories more a day, and your weight loss could vanish.”

    2. Hi, Patricia! I agree that the wording could seem confusing. The additional calorie deficit is required because weight loss results in metabolic changes. It is possible to eat more food and still lose weight if a lifestyle change is made to focus on the most nutrient-dense foods rather than calorie-dense foods. The point is that it is difficult to maintain weight loss simply by reducing portions of the foods that resulted in weight gain. The additional hunger will likely drive people to eat more. Switching to a more nutrient-dense diet as a permanent lifestyle change will make it easier to satisfy hunger without breaking the calorie limit. I hope that helps!

  17. I’m obese, struggling with weight loss, and have seen much faster results with keto. Keto believers have stated that weight loss is not possible for someone overweight as long as glucose is in our bloodstream. When switching to vegetarianIsm, do I need to just be patient? Do I need to cut fruits entirely? Maybe I’m not losing because I’m eating brown rice? Any guidance is appreciated.

  18. Hi, Mark! You can find lots of information about weight loss here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/weight-loss/ Everything about keto diets may be found here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/weight-loss/ You do not need to eliminate fruit or brown rice to lose weight. You should concentrate on the most nutrient dense foods, such as greens and berries, and minimize or eliminate calorie-dense foods, especially those high in fat, and any processed foods. I hope that helps!

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