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1000 Calories Can Kill Us and Save Us

SwimmingforFitness

USA! USA! America is #1!

We are number one at consuming the most calories in a given day! Great… According to Evoke.ie, both the United States and Austria have traded titles over the years as the number one consumer of calories in a day. The top five calorie consumers range from 3500 to almost 3800 and are, from the highest first, the United States, Austria, Italy, Israel, and Ireland, with the United Kingdom barely missing the top five status. We have to start looking at what we eat as calories and how much work it takes to burn off that extra 1000 calories consumed.

According the WebMD and many other medical recommendations, the average daily calorie intake should be 1800-2000 calories per day for women and 2000-2400 calories per day for men. Of course, depending upon your size (height/weight) your actual daily requirements will be higher or lower than the average recommendation. These numbers are the amount of food it takes to live your life and not gain or lose weight AND get the required amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for a healthy body. For instance, a 200-pound man burns more calories than a 130-pound woman doing any task (even just sitting).

On average, Americans are overweight and bordering on obese with lower activity rates and nearly double the daily recommended caloric amount. So, what is the solution? Here is the math:

To burn a pound per week you need to reduce your daily intake of calories by 500 or increase your activity by 500 calories burned in order to total 3500 calories burned in one week as a caloric deficit.

Recommendations to Reduce Calories Consumed

Think of Food as Calories and Work – For instance, a typical normal sized cookie is about 100 calories. If you walk for 20 minutes, you will burn 100 calories. In fact, when I get off the bike or treadmill, I announce, "Well – I just burned five cookies." Once you realize how much work that is -- typically 30 or more minutes, you may also look at food (junk food) in a completely different way.

Drop The Sugar – Reduce on average 500 calories by eliminating (or nearly eliminating) sugar from your diet. Reducing or nearly eliminating your sugar intake is going to lead to a huge decrease in daily calories as on average American adult eats nearly 88 gm of sugar a day. The alarming number is that the average child in America eats nearly 128 gm of sugar a day. Cutting extra sugary foods / drinks will account for 500 calories on average in the American diet (onlinenursingprograms.com). Limiting your daily sugary food and drink intake to less than 40 grams is highly recommended.

In fact, Americans are the highest consumers of sugar per year eating on average 130 pounds of sugar annually! On average, sugar makes up between 500-750 calories in a given daily diet.

Keep the bathroom scale in the kitchen - That is right. Keep the scale and weigh yourself in the morning. Looking at the scale to the left of the refrigerator may help you curb that mid-afternoon or late night snack. You may say, "All I really need is a glass of water."

A Calorie is a Calorie – Sure you can count calories in and do the math to figure out how many calories you burned in a day with added exercise, but not all calories are created equal. In fact, we recommend trying to reduce 500 calories of food intake while trying to add 500 calories of activity to your day. This produces a 1000 calorie decrease in your day and will help you with seeing results in weight loss goals. However, hormonally speaking, 500 calories of sugar will be processed in your body differently than 500 calories of fat or protein. When eating sugar, the spike in insulin to reduce blood sugar levels is pumped into the blood stream after eating. More insulin is needed when your diet is high in sugar. Your body will burn sugar primarily for energy, sitting on its fat reserves. Of course, any calories consumed that are not burned off through living or extra activity will be stored as fat.

Learn About Type 2 Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Metabolic Syndrome -- See links for more information to these preventable diseases.

Recommendations to Burn More Calories in the Day

If you can drop 500 calories a day from your diet by eating less and burn an additional 500 calories by moving more, the results will speak for themselves. Obviously, this only applies to people who are eating well over the recommended daily calorie amounts presently, as well as those who do not exercise regularly. But being conscious of the calories you burn in a day makes for a good daily goal of activity, whether it is 10,000 steps per day of walking or a variety of methods as seen below.

There are other activities that burn 100 calories: More calories burned

Here are a few options for burning 100 calories. Do this or a variety of these activities during a 30-45 minutes workout, or spread throughout the day if you prefer short bursts of activity.

Walking 20 minutes
Dance for 17 minutes
Bowling for 30 minutes
Walking Stairs 11 minutes
Running 8-10 minutes (moderate to fast)
Biking for 10 minutes (fast)
Elliptical 8 minutes (fast)
Swimming – 12-15 minutes (moderate to fast)

So, the 100 calorie cookie you want to eat will cost you 20 minutes of walking or a certain amount of time listed above with various physical activity.

For more activities and the amount of calories burned, check out the exercise list from Harvard Medical School. People of three different weights will burn a different amount of calories during exercise time.

Related Topics

Health General Fitness Diet and Nutrition Stew Smith

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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