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Published: 29.09.2017

Not a long time ago its majesty the Calorie played a crucial role in defining the nutritional value of food. The main principle was: if it is high calorie, it is good. And corpulence was even considered a sign of good health.

However, things have changed with time and overeating together with obesity are now considered a serious problem for the society (though gluttony and obesity were condemned even in the old times). The attitude to defining products’ value based on their calorie content has also changed. There are more and more people urging to stop using this approach at all. In the light of the latest scientific results the “calorie method” seems too simplified, but before we make a conclusion, let’s examine how burned calories are counted and how is the energetic value of food defined.


Tables showing calories burnt during different activities are very popular. They are made in the following way: a person is placed in a special isolated room. After that, very precise thermometers measure how much heat he releases in a given period of time while performing different activities. Such experiments are, of course, made many times and with different people. Researchers use various techniques to achieve precise and reliable results, but the gist of this method remains the same. Later, average data is counted and published. Here are some examples of such tables.

Table. Calories burnt by occupation (according to A.I. Bodrov)

Table. Calories burnt while running 1.5 km (according to K. Cooper)

Table. Calories burnt by activity (for a person weighing around 70 kg, according to Vinarzhitskiy)

Such numbers are mostly interesting for comparison purposes (if you are not a specialist, of course). They give you something to think about and allow you to compare the exhaustion degree of different types of activities and sports.

Calculate your Normal Body Weight

Calculate the percentage of Adipose Tissue

The number you get represents the degree of obesity and daily need of energy (for 1 kg of body mass), as shown in table.

Table. Correlation between the body mass and daily need of energy in a condition of complete rest

By multiplying the number you calculate with Adipose calculator by your actual mass you get the basic daily need for energy. This number represents how much energy you spend per day while resting.

Find general daily energy expenses depending on occupation type.

Table. Calculated energy required by the organism taking into account energy spent for work during one day.

So we have calculated your requirement for calories. But everything is not as easy as it seems. All the formulas calculating your “normal weight” do not take into consideration your body type and muscle volume. It is clear, that a skinny sedentary person should weight much less than a naturally strong fighter, though their height can be the same. Numbers showing the daily requirement of energy per kilogram of body mass is also quite disputable and it is even harder to define how much energy exactly one spends at home and at work. Still, it is interesting to estimate the need of energy, even if it is very approximate. But what should you do with this number later? Weight every piece of bread and butter you eat? Or make the dishes strictly following the recipe? As we will see now, there is no need to do that.

Text: from the book A.Eddar “Treatise of nutrition”. Interpreter: Liza Dukhova


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