How Does Cutting 3,000 Calories Equal To Losing a Pound of Fat?

Not being a nutritionist, I asked Marion Nestle, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University.

“Fudge factors,” she said.

First of all, the actual energy content of a gram of fat is closer to 9.5 calories. But that would only make the discrepancy bigger. The fact is that the number of calories of energy we get from eating a gram of fat is quite a bit less than that because of incomplete digestion, absorption, and metabolism. That’s one fudge factor.

“Another fudge factor,” Nestle continued, “is applied to the number of calories in a pound of body fat. The idea is that body fat is only about 85 percent actual fat.” The rest consists of connective tissue, blood vessels, and other stuff that you’d probably rather not know about.

Thus, in order to lose a pound of real-life blubber, your bottom line, so to speak, is that you must deprive yourself of only about 3,500 calories.

And stay away from the fudge.