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Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are the
types of nutrients that contain calories
and are the main energy sources for your
body. The amount of energy in each
varies. Proteins and carbohydrates have
about 4 calories a gram, and fats have
about 9 calories a gram. Alcohol also is
a source of calories, providing about 7
calories a gram.
Regardless of where they come from, the
calories you eat are either converted to
physical energy or stored within your
body as fat. These stored calories will
remain in your body as fat unless you
use them up, either by reducing calorie
intake so that your body must draw on
reserves for energy, or by increasing
physical activity so that you burn more
Tipping the scale:
Cutting calories
Your weight is a balancing act, but the
equation is simple: If you eat more
calories than you burn, you gain weight.
Because 3,500 calories equals about 1
pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need
to burn 3,500 calories more than you
take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut
500 calories from your typical diet each
day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week
(500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).
It isn’t quite this simple, however, and
you usually lose a combination of fat,
lean tissue and water. Also, because of
changes that occur in the body as a result
of weight loss, you may need to decrease
calories further to continue weight loss.
Cutting calories
Cutting calories doesn’t have to be
difficult. In fact, it can be as simple as:
• Skipping high-calorie, low-nutrition
• Swapping high-calorie foods for lower
calorie options
• Reducing portion sizes
Here’s a closer look.
Saving calories by
cutting high-calorie,
low-nutrition items
Skipping one or two high-calorie items
is a good place to start when cutting
calories. For example, you could skip
your morning latte, soda at lunch or that
bowl of ice cream you always have after
dinner. Think about what you eat and
drink each day and identify items you
could cut out. If you think that skipping
your indulgence will leave you with a
craving, try a low-calorie substitution.
Healthier options
Instead of this ...
Try this ...
Flavored latte, 16 ounces
Black coffee, 16 ounces
Chocolate ice cream, 1 cup 285
Strawberries, 1 1/2 cups whole 70
Lemon-lime soda, 16 ounces 200
Sparkling water, 16 ounces
*Actual calories may vary by brand.
Swapping high-calorie foods for lower calorie options
Simple substitutions can make a big difference when it comes to cutting calories. For example, you
can save 60 calories a glass by drinking fat-free milk instead of whole milk. Instead of having a
second slice of pizza, reach for some fresh fruit. Or snack on air-popped popcorn instead of chips.
Lower calorie options
Instead of this ...
Calories* Try this ...
Whole milk, 8 ounces
Skim milk, 8 ounces
Regular-crust pepperoni pizza, 1 slice
(1/8 of a 14-inch restaurant pizza)
1 2/3 cups grapes
Ranch-flavored tortilla chips, 1 snack
bag (3 ounces)
3 1/2 cups popcorn, air
*Actual calories may vary by brand.
Reducing your portion sizes
The sizes of your portions affect how many calories you’re getting. Twice the amount of food
means twice the number of calories. It’s common to underestimate how much you’re eating,
especially if you’re dining out. Controlling your portions is a good way to control calories.
Portion sizes
A typical portion ...
A standard serving ...
Orange juice, 8 ounces
Orange juice, 4 ounces
Buttermilk pancake, 6-inch
diameter (73 grams)
Buttermilk pancake, 4-inch
diameter (41 grams)
Whole-grain spaghetti, cooked, 1
1/2 cups
Whole-grain spaghetti,
cooked, 1/2 cup
*Actual calories may vary by brand.
Try these tips to control
portion sizes and cut calories:
• Start small. At the beginning of a meal, take
slightly less than what you think you’ll eat.
You can have seconds later if you’re truly still
• Eat from plates, not packages. Eating directly
from a container gives you no sense of how
much you’re eating. Seeing food on a plate or
in a bowl keeps you aware of how much you’re
eating. Consider using a smaller plate or bowl.
• Check food labels. Be sure to check the
Nutrition Facts panel and other nutrient
information for the serving size and number of
calories a serving. You may find that the small
bag of chips you eat with lunch every day, for
example, is two servings not one, which means
you’re eating double the calories listed on the
Putting it all
Replacing high-calorie
foods with lower calorie
alternatives and reducing
your portion sizes can
help you cut calories and
improve weight control.
For a successful - and
sustainable - weight
management plan, you
also need to increase
your physical activity.
It’s this combination
of regular activity and
healthy eating that will
help you achieve and
maintain a healthy
Oct/Nov 2013