Free Preview - Chapter 1 - Basics of Dieting - Your Body's Efficiency

Have you ever wondered why, for so many people (and especially for anyone older than 30 years old), weight gain seems to be a fact of life? It's because the human body is way too efficient! It just does not take that much energy to maintain the human body at rest; and when exercising, the human body is amazingly frugal when it comes to turning food into motion.

At rest (for example, while sitting and watching television), the human body burns only about 12 calories per pound of body weight per day (26 calories per kilogram). That means that if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg), your body uses only about:

150 X 12 = 1,800 calories per day

Twelve calories per pound per day is a rough estimate - and you can refer to the previous chapter on calories to find out more about how to work out your BMR.

Those 1,800 calories are used to do everything you need to stay alive:

  • They keep your heart beating and lungs breathing.
  • They keep your internal organs operating properly.
  • They keep your brain running.
  • They keep your body warm.

In motion, the human body also uses energy very efficiently. For example, a person running a marathon (26 miles or 42 km) burns only about 2,600 calories. In other words, you burn only about 100 calories per mile (about 62 calories per km) when you are running.

You can see just how efficient the human body is if you compare your body to a car. A typical car gets between 15 and 30 miles per gallon of fuel (6 to 12 km/L). A gallon of fuel contains about 31,000 calories. That means that if a human being could drink gasoline instead of eating hamburgers to take in calories, a human being could run 26 miles on about one-twelfth of a gallon of gas (0.3 L). In other words, a human being gets more than 300 miles per gallon (120 km/L)! If you put a human being on a bicycle to increase the efficiency, a human being can get well over 1,000 miles per gallon (more than 500 km/L)!

That level of efficiency is the main reason why it is so easy to gain weight, as we will see in the next section.

*FREE PREVIEW* Chapter 1 - Basics of Dieting
Introduction
Your Body's Efficiency
Taking Calories In
Sample Menu
The Idea Behind Dieting
Why Diets Tend Not to Work
Building a Sustainable Diet
Cutting Calories
Fitting in Exercise
Weight Loss Myths
Chapter 2 - Understanding Calorie
Introduction
What is a Calorie?
What Calories Do
Basal Metabolic Rate
Your Caloric Needs
Calories, Fat and Exercise
Chapter 3 - Food
Introduction
Proteins
Fats
Vitamins
Minerals
Water
Fibers
I'm Starving...
Chapter 4 - Fat & Fat Cells
Introduction
What is Fat?
Saturated vs. Unsaturated
Fat and Health
Essential Fatty Acids
So What Should I Eat?
Fat Cells
Where's the Fat?
How Fat Enters Your Body
How Fat is Stored in Your Body
Hormones That Act Opposite to Insulin
How Your Body Breaks Down Fat
Brown Fat: Making Heat
Losing Weight and Losing Fat
Chapter 5 - The Atkins Diet
Introduction
What is Low-Carbohydrate Dieting?
The Four Phases of Atkins
The Foods You Can Eat
How Atkins Causes Weight Loss
Benefits and Drawbacks
The Experts Weigh In
Glossary of Atkins Terms
 

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