Calculating Your Total Caloric Intake

Have you ever asked someone how to lose fat weight? If so, you probably heard the phrase, “you have to burn off more than what you are taking in,” as the response. It seems simple enough; nonetheless, how do you truly know exactly what you’re taking in if you don’t write it down and calculate it? What if you cut back on what you’re eating? Will you lose weight as a result? Probably; but, once again you have to take a look at what you are losing when that scale number drops. Is it fat, muscle, or water? If you cut out too many calories (kcals), your body will want to hold onto your fat and be more apt to burn your muscle off first. Your metabolism drops as a result; or worse—your metabolism may potentially be damaged. (See my previous article “Want To Lose Weight? Well…Perhaps, You Should Eat More!” to learn more about metabolism and starvation mode.)

When you look at a food label, it shows you how many calories are in a serving size; where did that number come from? Take the total grams of protein (PRO), carbohydrates (CHO), and fat in food, as well as the grams of alcohol in beverages, and multiply them by their respective caloric factors.

1g of PRO = 4.3 kcals
1g of CHO = 4.1 kcals
1g of Fat = 9.3 kcals
1g of Alcohol = 7 kcals


Chobani Greek Yogurt – Strawberry Flavor

Serving Size = 8 oz.
Calories = 188 kcals

Total Carbohydrates = 26g × 4.1 = 106.6 kcals
Total Protein 19g × 4.3 = 81.7 kcals
Total Fat = 0
Total Calories= 188.3 kcals

Sometimes the numbers don’t add up. When you look at the total amount of kcals per serving, that number might be slightly lower than if you were to calculate the macronutrient ratios out individually and then add them up. This discrepancy might be due to the insoluble fiber in carbohydrates not being accounted for, since it passes through our body without providing energy or calories.

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