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At Chipotle, How Many Calories Do People Really Eat? (nytimes.com)
53 points by knowtheory on Feb 17, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 85 comments



A few points to balance this out:

1. Many people don't finish what they order in one meal. I can generally get two meals out of a Chipotle burrito. Many do, of course, but that can't be sussed out of the data they used. In addition, the chips sides are sized to share, and I'd wager that most people who order those do share with someone else.

2. It's a mistaken assumption that one meal ought to be only 1/3 of your daily calorie intake. Most of the meals came in around 1000 calories, but I also bet that for most people, this is their largest meal of the day.

3. The recommended maximum sodium intake of 2.4g is probably too low based on many recent studies. Sodium intake is only a significant risk for a very small handful of the population, and in fact low sodium intake is as risky if not more risky, and there's good evidence that 2.4g/day is on the low end of long-term positive health outcomes.

Given the freshness and quality of the ingredients at Chipotle, and the simplicity and openness with which the food is prepared, focusing on calorie and sodium counts is an incomplete way to assess the healthiness of the food. I guarantee that a meal with fewer calories from McDonalds or in a microwaveable box is going to be overall far less healthy.


> I'd wager that most people who order those do share with someone else.

I live in a college town and this is definitely not the case here. Most people buy them for themselves. Items are also typically eaten for one meal, but it's college students so that's to be expected.

> It's a mistaken assumption that one meal ought to be only 1/3 of your daily calorie intake

I think what they're getting at is what you're also making a point about; that it doesn't necessarily have to be eaten in one setting. The point of lower calories is is gives you more options with what you can eat without gaining weight (assuming you're not on a weight-gain program for power lifting). What's deceiving is that, while Chipotle offers the full ranges of calories for their food, they don't mention that if you go through with all the things they offer then you usually end up in the 1000+ range. I wouldn't doubt if there are many people downing 1000+ calories thinking that they're closer to 600.

> focusing on calorie and sodium counts is an incomplete way to assess the healthiness of the food

This is correct, but to a point. An excess of calories, unless offset by regular exercise, leads to weight gain, which is collectively unhealthy for our society. There's obviously much more to it (an obese person who can run a mile is considered healthier than a skinny person who can't for example), but that's failing to see the bigger picture. The point is, people in developed countries are shoving more calories into themselves than they need, and places like Chipotle aren't a haven of good health - they're also part of the problem.


> an obese person who can run a mile is considered healthier than a skinny person who can't for example

Do you have a link or data to support that idea? Genuinely curious, as that doesn't sound right to me.


Found one[0], but I'm sure you could also find more. This is stuff that's often taught in health programs at universities during a section on cardiorespiratory fitness. The general idea is that a fat person who can run well can support their body, whereas a skinny person who can't run well cannot support their body.

[0]http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=77036...


Well, "health" isn't unidimensional, but one of the key areas (and one, but not the only, key risk area from obesity) is cardiovascular/respiratory health. Being able to run a mile (or not) is a much more direct indicator of that than obesity/non-obesity is, so at leas in that area of health, it makes sense to see an obese person who can run a mile as "healthier" than a ideal-body-fat person who cannot.


I don't want to look up a source offhand, especially since it would require some reading between the lines, but, 56% of NFL players are obese (97% are overweight), according to BMI guidelines. Going on the same "that doesn't sound right" criteria, saying they're less healthy than a skinny, sedentary person just because they have more muscle (and possibly more fat, but after all, BMI doesn't distinguish) doesn't sound right to me.


> 56% of NFL players are obese... Going on the same "that doesn't sound right" criteria, saying they're less healthy than a skinny, sedentary person just because they have more muscle (and possibly more fat, but after all, BMI doesn't distinguish) doesn't sound right to me.

It doesn't sound right to you because it isn't correct. NFL players, as a general rule, are not obese. Obesity is an excess of fat, by both the colloquial and medical definitions. BMI is an indication of obesity, which is not the same as a definition of same.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obesity

: a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body

Medical Definition of OBESITY

: a condition that is characterized by excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body and that in an adult is typically indicated by a body mass index of 30 or greater


http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=16...

"STANDARD DEFINITIONS OF OBESITY, which are based on height and weight, may not apply to former National Football League players and other groups with greater muscle mass, according to a new study"

Emphasis mine.

From your own quotation, "typically indicated by a body mass index of 30 or greater"

Body mass index. BMI. BMI being height and weight. A la http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmic...

Ergo, a standard definition of obesity is calculated by height and weight, deemed 'BMI', which does not take muscle mass into account. Which is what my post states. BMI would state they're obese, and that says little about their actual health.


That's not correct.

Obesity IS an excess of fat

Obesity IS INDICATED BY a high BMI

What that means is that when you see a high BMI there's a really good chance you're seeing obesity. But since obesity is defined as excess fat, the unusual cases where BMI doesn't correlate are exceptions to a rule. It should not surprise that professional athletes have bodies that are unusual and exceptional.


Have you ignored the context?

"an obese person who can run a mile is considered healthier than a skinny person who can't for example Do you have a link or data to support that idea? Genuinely curious, as that doesn't sound right to me."

to which I replied

"56% of NFL players are obese (97% are overweight), according to BMI guidelines."

What exactly have you said that disagrees with that? I -agree- that ~real~ obesity, as is generally referred to, is based on fat percentage; I never said otherwise. What I said, very explicitly, was that an NFL who is considered obese ACCORDING TO BMI GUIDELINES (which are used very frequently by layman and health official alike when discussing nutrition and exercise) is actually pretty healthy; the original post questioned whether someone could be obese, able to run a mile, and still be healthier than someone who is skinny but not physically fit enough to run a mile. I addressed that with the qualifier of 'according to BMI' included.


Also, eve if people do pig out, Chipotle has better options for people trying to keep within a calorie budget. A salad bowl with meat, salsa, and guac is really filling and under 500 calories.


I usually eat a Chipotle burrito for lunch on work days. According to their site's calculator, my burrito is 970 Calories, but given that I'm a regular they usually make me large burritos, so I estimate the Calories to be closer to 1200 or 1300. But I exercise regularly and only eat two meals per day, so it's honestly the best thing I could ask for: tasty calories with a lot of protein, made of seemingly real food, that I don't have to prepare for myself.


[deleted]


> A couple 15-minute light walks to and from the bus stop and the apartment/office can bring one's energy expenditure up to 3000 calories in a day

Those numbers seems off. A 10km running session (~1 hour) burns approximately 800kcal. You would need quite a lot of "15-minute light walks" to go from 2000kcal/day to 3000. Way more than 4 times a day.

I do agree that the 2000 calories/day, or 2500 if you exercise moderately, is not the whole story. However, I think it is a very decent estimation for most people, as long as you're not a professional athlete or deviate from the norm one way or another.


this is a pretty good point

metrics involving humans like this one are fraught with uncertainties, and usually the truth leans more towards your own opinion in actuality


Click around with this nice tool: http://www.chipotlefan.com/index.php?id=nutrition_calculator

Skip the tortilla, sour cream and chips and you've just saved 980 calories. Without those it's hard to create a meal that has a calorie issue. Aside from the sodium, Chipotle is darn healthy.


The thing that lets people create 1200 calorie monstrosities is what makes Chipotle my favorite fast food chain. No matter whether I'm trying to add or cut weight I always know that I can tailor a Chipotle meal exactly to my caloric & macronutrient needs. Both from the fact that the food is easy to customize as well as the fat that they have good calorie and macronutrient breakdowns of each ingredients.

Subway, for example, makes it tough to find info on individual ingredients. Some things need to be backed out by comparing, say, a roast beef sub vs a veggie sub to determine the stats on the roast beef individually so that you know what you're getting if you do double roast beef.


You can find individual items as listed on pages 2 & 3 of this pdf:

https://www.subway.com/Nutrition/Files/NutritionValues.pdf

Edit: Actually, on the same Chipotlefan link, there is a similar link for Subway. http://www.nutritionix.com/subway/nutrition-calculator


Since I'm on keto I usually go for a salad, single or double serving of meat depending on how many calories I can have, cheese, sour cream, some type of salsa. This usually amounts to 440-600ish calories and I eat this several times a week for lunch. It's not really like chipotle is much different from other food joints as far as calories go. You could go over 100 getting a burrito, chips, and especially if you get a 200 calorie drink but I can do the same at mcdonalds easily.


That's odd some of their values differ greatly from the ones provided by Chipotle themselves. This strikes me as a significant problem, nutritional values are provided and are totally inaccurate. Which one is accurate how can we judge?

http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/nutrition_calculator/nutr...

Looks like the information provided by chipotlefan is from 2009.


Most that I've looked at seem to be within 5-10% which is surely within the variance for food being doled out by scoop. I just preferred the UI of the first one. Which items are way off so I know what to look out for?


White rice is off by 50 calories for example (135 on chipotlefan and 185 on chipotle).


You probably get that much variance depending on the scooper anyway


Great point, very true.


I'd wager the most popular items worldwide stray from the healthy range. I only have personal experience in two college towns to go off, but it's just what I've seen. People don't line up for a healthy salad bowl, they line up for a big burrito.


Maybe that's why I always find Chipotle to be ridiculously bland :)


> The distributions of two other metrics of a meal’s health — salt and saturated fat

Did I accidentally fall into a time machine and end up in the 1980s?


I lost interest in Chipotle pretty quickly and had begun labelling it Chipsaltle when family or friends wanted to eat there. So the sodium data was interesting to me and validated what I felt after eating there (parched a few hours later)

I'm not for or against fast food. I just think Chipotle has wonderful marketing and has really tapped into what people _want_ to believe or have. I want all the conveniences of fast food without feeling like it's unhealthy or responsible for big agriculture. I don't think it's going to end well.....


As a Mexican living in Mexico, I really like chipotle, I eat one every time I'm in the US, they are the greatest mix of American and Mexican food, still I don't understand why there aren't authentic "Taquerias" (taco shops) in the US, I haven't met a foreigner that doesn't love tacos from our taquerias that you can find in every corner in Mexico City. The closest I ever tried was at a Taco Truck in LA, but that was just one food truck.


There are taquerias on virtually every street corner in Houston.

Go deeper into the US, though, and you're right; they become increasingly rare. You can still find gems of authentic Mexican food in almost all sufficiently large American cities, but you have to specifically seek it out in many cases.


> still I don't understand why there aren't authentic "Taquerias" (taco shops) in the US,

In most of California and the parts of the Southwest I've been to, taquerias are very common.

> The closest I ever tried was at a Taco Truck in LA, but that was just one food truck.

If you were in L.A. and you couldn't find taquerias, you weren't looking very hard (or you had a bad guide.)


You are maybe right, when I was in LA I wasn't actively searching for taquerias, although I ate at couple of them , like I said the most authentic tacos were the ones from a taco truck.


My wife and I regularly split a burrito bowl, getting extra rice and beans.Chipotle ends up being one of the few “heathy” places we can eat out for ~$5/person.


No mention of one of the most unhealthy components of the meal, carbohydrates? I think the average burrito clocks in at around 120 carbs


Carbohydrates are most certainly not 'unhealthy'. Care to cite any sources?


Carbohydrates are the most likely to cause an insulin response which causes weight gain. I'm not saying they are "unhealthy" but I think we, in the US, eat unhealthy amounts particularly refined sugars.


The insulin response absolutely does not cause excess weight gain by itself. Many people are confused about how it contributes to weight gain. The only significant effect it has is behavioral: for some people it can cause you to feel like you need to eat again sooner. But if you stay calorically balanced, for the purposes of weight management, it really doesn't matter how much of your diet is made up of carbs.

We in the US eat too much period. It's not about which macronutrient we overeat, though carbs tend to be easier to eat a lot of than fats or proteins, and are cheaper to create. But again, the focus needs to be on caloric intake, not on specific macronutrients.


So are you saying insulin + caloric surplus is what causes weight gain? It seems obvious to me that many people handle different types of food differently. For example carbohydrates are going to affect a diabetic differently than someone without out diabetes. Another point is that many bodybuilders are now using insulin to gain weight. They already eat a ton of calories but the hormone itself seems to improve the ability to gain weight.


Nope, I'm saying in a normally functioning human being caloric surplus period is what causes gaining weight. The insulin response is something that has gained a lot of popularity recently because people like complex explanations, but the truth is, as I said, it's pretty inconsequential outside of behavioral impact. It's not that it's not involved, it's that you don't need to understand or manipulate it to gain/lose weight.

It gets tricky in a few places: calories are labeled as the number of calories a food has in it, not the number of calories you net when you factor in the cost to the body of extracting those calories. 200 calories of chicken breasts costs your body more calories than 200 calories of sugar to extract. Especially if you don't end up using the protein to build muscle and convert it to energy. This isn't a massive difference, but it's significant. Regardless, calorie counting is about establishing a baseline and trending downward, not being 100% accurate in your calorie estimations.

As you mentioned, people with specific needs, like diabetics, are going to have different experiences with carbs, but that's a completely different discussion, and not one I know a ton about.

The body builders thing is interesting. I'm a power lifter and I lift with a lot of body builders so I am familiar. Insulin use like this can help the body absorb nutrients more quickly after a workout (specifically carbs, which can help restore glycogen to the muscles which helps with amino acid absorption) but it's not being used without an increase in overall calories (or it shouldn't be). In short, it's helping body builders eat more (especially post workout), not absorb the same amount differently. In my opinion it's a really stupid idea, though when you consider the trash many body builders put in their bodies it's probably less scary than a lot of the supplements and prohormones out there.


"In my opinion it's a really stupid idea, though when you consider the trash many body builders put in their bodies it's probably less scary than a lot of the supplements and prohormones out there."

As someone who has used T, insulin is much more scary. At least with T it's been used for decades, we know how to mitigate the risks and handle side effects. You could easily kill yourself not knowing what you are doing with insulin, or probably make yourself diabetic. These oral prohormones are scary too mostly because of liver toxicity and because people could buy them without really knowing it (when they were/are sold at places like GNC).


Protein can also be fairly insulinogenic.


Protein can be more insulinogenic than carbohydrates. Whey produces a huge insulin spike relative to a fibrous fruit.


Right. Protein breaks down to glucose more than fat does (which is why keto diets recommend moderate protein and high fat). Carbs break down the most into glucose.


> I'm not saying they are "unhealthy"

Umm, I think you did.


You're replying to a different person than the one who stated carbs were unhealthy.


Oh. I thought I'd checked, but I guess I didn't. Sorry, parent.


Carbs are very easy to convert into glucose. A crab-rich meal can easily cause a spike in glucose levels. Glucose gets converted and stored as fat.

Fats and proteins take longer to convert into glucose, and are less likely to cause a glucose spike and subsequent fat storage process.

Carbs are not unhealthy, especially if you can spend the energy immediately. However, it is very easy to consume a large amount of carbs in one go, thus a greater risk for an average person.


See Taubes, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Get-Fat-About/dp/0307474259)


Perhaps unhealthy was the wrong choice of word. But the point of the article was talking about the health issues of eating Chipotle. If one of those issues is weight gain then I would most definitely be concerned about the amount of carbohydrates in that food.

I am not nutritionist. I do know that after struggling for a decade of limiting calories and fat, I gave that up, limited myself too 100g carbs / 15g sugar a day, and lost 60 pounds within a year.

I still enjoyed Chipotle, but only the "bowl" variations of their food.


I think what he's saying (although he didn't say it) is that 100 calories of a nice quality meat is better for you than 100 calories of sugar. (And high-GI carbohydrates are easily converted into sugar by the body.)

People fear dietary fat, but it turns out that fat is filling and actually difficult for the body to convert into energy, while carbs are the opposite.


My question has always been how accurate these calorie counts are. I always get a burrito bowl with no sour cream, which allegedly comes out to 655 calories. But I'm not entirely sure how accurate that is - I usually have to tell the person "a little cheese," because when I don't, they often put a mountain of cheese atop the bowl (probably an extra 100 calories or so).


This is the most important point here.

For my meals out, I prefer to eat at restaurants which publish nutrition information, but I'm under no illusions that these values are anything more than rough guidance. The core of the problem is in employee training. I find that even restaurants which make an effort to publish nutrition info don't bother to adequately train employees to serve the expected amounts of food.

Your cheese example is a good one. Based solely on anecdotal evidence, I'd wager most people who order cheese at Chipotle end up being served 1.5-3x the intended serving size due to generous and unmeasured portions. I love cheese as much as the next guy, but an extra few hundred unexpected calories adds up very quickly. This also renders any analysis of nutritional value misleading if not useless.


Important rejoinder: http://www.vox.com/2015/2/17/8051367/obesity-snacks

The underlying issue with overeating isn't large meals, it's snacks. So sure, Chipotle's meals are big, but that's not the root of the problem.


That huge tortilla has so many empty calories in it. Just like the Subway health fad. Jared lost weight eating 6" veggie subs without cheese or mayo. People load up that huge foot long bun with cheese and sauce, an oven roasted chicken breast sub is 960 calories with mayo and cheese. Add in a soft drink and a bag of chips and you're triple what Jared would eat.


Describing calories as "empty" is not really a useful way to think about nutrition. Carbs are not "empty," they are your primary energy source.

In fact, as you point out, Jared lost weight primarily by removing fats from his diet, not carbs.


He removed calories from his diet.


so much for Chipotle being healthier than Mickey D's.


"Healthy" is a lot more involved than calorie count.


Why did they have to tear all of these innocent burritos open? Savages...hopefully they at least let someone eat the remains...


Calories are a very broad way to measure what we need in terms of food. Eating 200-2500 at 50-60% carbs tends to make me fat-ter than eating 3000 at 20%.

I cook most of the food I eat, but I take calories into account very broadly, more narrowly when I diet.

Just to say, 1000 kcal might be half day worth of your energy needs on paper, in reality it's much more complex than that. In fact, if you are eating decent food and keeping fat% at ~30-40, I guarantee you that you will have troubles eating more than 2500 kcal per day. If you drink lots of soda and crap like than, then yes, you can manage even 3000. But eating a lot of calories is not such an easy task as many people think.

Edit: Wow, this generated quite a lot of debate. Just to clarify, I have never said that you lose wait eating as much as you want, I said I think we should consider the number of calories more broadly. Use ranges and look into the weekly intakes too. Check what you eat. Kill all the refined sugars. Kill all the complex foods. Start cooking. That will help you more than counting kcals to the gram. It's about how you shift your way of thinking about food. Lots of food out there is almost poison if eaten regularly, lots of this food is even labelled as "healthy", again, it cannot be only about kcals, it's _also_ about kcals.


> Eating 200-2500 at 50-60% carbs tends to make me fat-ter than eating 3000 at 20%.

This is horse shit. It does not matter what form the calories are in, if you are eating too many you will gain weight. If you eat less than you need you will lose weight.

Source: I lost over 100 lbs in 2010-2011.


Not necessarily "horse shit". We know sugars produce insulin responses. We know insulin causes growth/weightgain. We know carbs most directly convert to sugar, followed by protein, followed by fat. So in theory you may be able to eat more fat and protein without gaining AS much weight. Now if you are at a calorie deficit you aren't going to gain I agree with that but I can consume more calories of high fat / low carb and still lose weight.

The bottom line with dieting is find something that works for you.


The two sides of this argument always talk past each other. As someone who lost 100lbs I'm sure you know this but lots of people don't.

* Calories in vs. calories out is 100% what determines how much weight you gain or lose.

* Your macronutrient ratios determine how that weight is partitioned (muscle vs fat) and have some control over hormones that contribute to hunger, like leptin.

The end result is that cutting out carbs can help people get to a calorie deficit without feeling hungry like they would on a "standard" low fat diet.


Cutting carbs helps because carbs aren't filling/satisfying. That's true. But he wasn't making that claim. He was making the old woo-woo claim that you can eat way too many calories in fat and still lose weight.

The only way to lose weight is to have a calorie deficit.


> Calories in vs. calories out is 100% what determines how much weight you gain or lose.

No, its not. Muscle and fat don't take the same calorie surplus/deficit per pound to gain or lose, so calories in vs. calories out will not tell the whole story of how much weight you gain or lose.

I believe, in fact, that it takes less of a calorie surplus to gain a pound of muscle than the calorie deficit to lose a pound of fat, so that its actually possible to gain weight over time on a net calorie deficit, within certain bounds.


Unless your protein intake is severely lower than 50g/day the partitioning is minimal at best.

Also you will never be fully satiated on any meaningful caloric deficit, 40-60g/fiber per day usually increases satiation. What exactly do you mean by 'standard low fat diet'?


> What exactly do you mean by 'standard low fat diet'?

Sorry, I was referring to what has been the standard recommendation for losing weight and being healthy - low fat, low protein, high carb.

> Also you will never be fully satiated on any meaningful caloric deficit, 40-60g/fiber per day usually increases satiation

I disagree a million times over. I'm a 6'1" 190lb male who frequently cuts on 1700 calories and I can feel stuffed all day by consuming lots of lean protein and vegetables. For example two pounds of chicken breast each day would leave me absolutely stuffed with room for another 750 calories for carbs and fat.


> Sorry, I was referring to what has been the standard recommendation for losing weight and being healthy - low fat, low protein, high carb.

I've never in my life heard anyone recommend "low fat, low protein, high carb" for losing weight and being healthy (as a maintenance diet for people without special needs like losing weight, sure, I've seen that.) Even 30ish years ago, while "low fat" was prominent, a focus on lean protein sources as a main source of calories was common. And, "low carb" to the extreme has been the common recommendation, in various forms, since the late 1990s.


>Also you will never be fully satiated on any meaningful caloric deficit

My personal experience is quite the opposite. When I did the whole low carb thing, I was having to intentionally supplement my calorie intake because I was eating 800-1000 calories per day otherwise which I felt was too low (my BMR at the time was ballpark 3000 calories, so figure burning around 3600/day even sedentary).

The only other time in my life that I've had to make a conscious effort to eat enough was when I was on prescription adderall in high school and would sometimes forget to eat for an entire day. Outside of that, I eat, and eat too much, honestly.

I quit the keto thing after about 6 months because, frankly, I missed pasta too much, but the whole appetite suppression thing with it is very real in my experience and is one of the most commonly reported side effects I've seen online.


I'm not qualified to discuss this in detail, but we shouldn't necessarily discount the biochemistry of people and how they differ. Some people process carbohydrates much less efficiently than others, making it harder to lose weight. While the baseline is absolutely true (you can't stuff an excess of calories in your body on a no-carb diet and expect weight loss), it is more complicated than that.


In fact it does matter where the calories come from. It matters dramatically.

You eat doritos, white pasta, white bread, pizza and Mt. Dew. Consume 2,000 calories per day.

I'll eat broccoli, chicken breasts, eggs, and bacon at 2,000 calories per day.

Let's compare results after six months. Can you lose weight by keeping your terrible diet below X calories - good luck with that - but yes you can, assuming you can handle what the hyper carb diet does to your body's sense of being full and energy levels. However we will not have the same results, and you can eat more calories in my diet than you can in yours, because to process my diet burns more calories than yours, and the protein in my diet will aid your muscle retention a lot more than the high sugar diet.

Hint: protein is a vastly superior intake vs junk carbohydrates. 300 calories from chicken are NOT used or processed by the body the same way as 300 calories from a Mt. Dew. Broccoli burns a lot of calories during the process of digestion relative to its calorie count.


You are 100% wrong. First off, neither of us are going to significantly lose weight at 2k/day. That's not much of a deficit unless you are really, really fat or really, really active.

Secondly, yes I can eat garbage like McDonald's and Wendy's and only eat 1500 calories/day and lose weight. That's exactly what I did.


> It does not matter what form the calories are in

This is horse shit.

Carbohydrates are very easy to transform to glucose, therefore you get a spike in glucose levels from a carb-reach meal. An excess of glucose gets converted and stored as fat. The same amount of calories consumed as fat or proteins would take much longer to process, thus not causing a spike in glucose level, thus not triggering a fat storage process.

Reference: http://www.livestrong.com/article/264767-how-is-excess-gluco...


The calorie range you listed is the difference between a cut and a bulk for most people. There is no possible way you could achieve better weight loss running a calorie surplus relative to a calorie deficit.

> In fact, if you are eating decent food and keeping fat% at ~30-40, I guarantee you that you will have troubles eating more than 2500 kcal per day.

2500 calories per day is what I eat when I'm running a cut, and I'm usually hungry even after hitting my macros. Daily caloric needs are individual.

People interested in estimating their caloric needs should check out if it fits your macros: http://iifym.com/iifym-calculator/

The calculator will also suggest daily nutritional macros to hit depending on your goals (losing weight, maintaining, gaining weight etc).

I would also recommend http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ for tracking your calories and macros.


> Daily caloric needs are individual.

To that point, when I eat about 1500 a day, and feel fullish but will lose about 1lb a week. When I go to 2000 a day i start gaining weight.


As a response to some of the other commenters, weight loss is a more holistic thing than just number of calories.

Even if we assume a calorie is a calorie, and that what kind of calorie has no effect on how fast your body naturally burns them (and that's debatable), the body response may be such that you naturally exercise more if you eat a diet geared one way or another.

That is, the poster may find that after eating carbs, especially simpler ones, their energy spikes, but they're too full to comfortably exercise. But by the time they'd be comfortable exercising they're too tired, and they simply don't. Whereas with higher fat/protein, they feel less full, and/or maintain energy levels longer, and naturally exercise more. Or whatever.


> Eating 200-2500 at 50-60% carbs tends to make me fat-ter than eating 3000 at 20%.

Assuming that's a typo and you mean 2000-2500 at 50-60% carbs, that's not at all as implausible as some response seem to make it seem -- if it has an effect on your activity level. Its not implausible that a subtle effect that doesn't even consciously register could make a 500 calorie difference for someone who isn't actively tracking activity (a 1000 calorie difference is less likely without noticing the activity impact.)


> Eating 200-2500 at 50-60% carbs tends to make me fat-ter than eating 3000 at 20%.

This is obviously factually incorrect.

Relevant story: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/


Unless you have just successfully dismantled the second law of thermodynamics, this is impossible.


Human metabolism is a (set of) complex process(es). You are not just burning the plate of food in a furnace.

Of course if you eat less calories than the bare minimum needed to sustain life, you will loose weight no matter what, but that is an unhealthy way of doing it and no sane nutritionist will risk advising you to do so.

On the other hand, it is actually possible to gain weight by restricting calories just a little. Humans did not evolve in an environment where superabundance of food required voluntary abstinence to keep in good shape. When you just cut calorie intake your body enters "starvation mode": metabolism slows down, non essential processes get suspended, you tire out more easily, etc. The result is that if you do not overcompensate with will force and do exercise, you will end up undercutting your calorie usage below your reduced calorie intake, and grow fast.

The body is wise: it knows when things begin to go bad, they always can get worse.


You body is not a 100% efficient machine and it does not take into account calories to the decimal point.


Without agreeing with the OP's point this is a stupid retort. Even with a jet engine you're going to have different amounts of output even with the same amount of input fuel, based on differences in combustion efficiency.


What about other factors? Sure thermodynamics says if you burn more calories then you take in you will lose weight but what about other factor like insulin that cause weight gain? Is eating 300 calories of sugar really the same as 300 calories of fat? I know from personal experience I can eat the same amount of calories on a keto(low carb high fat diet) and lose weight. Although eating fat makes it much easier to cut down on calories and accelerate weight loss even quicker because I'm simply not hungry like I usually am.


The comment you replied to only mentions calories input. kfk didn't say that they were burning the same amount of calories in each scenario.


There are very few activities that let you meaningfully adjust your metabolism, the effective ones are thermogenic in nature. The only one of these that's at all fun is swimming. I spent all of last year trying to exercise to lose weight, the only thing that worked was lowering my intake.

People say weightlifting works, but it only helps when you're already relatively skinny. I know, I tried. You can be strong and fat. People say running works. It has a small effect but it's nothing to write home about. My sister runs marathons and still struggles with her weight. The problem is that exercise is maybe 10% of the picture, whereas intake is the other 90%. It's easy to fool yourself into thinking you're making progress on your weight goals by exercising, then throwing it all away on extra snacks. People get caught up in chasing mushy health goals and forget about the hard empirical facts.


So there's 0 calories in human waste then?




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