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What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

>> Monday, August 25, 2014

While we often talk about how many calories a person needs in a day to maintain or lose weight, it's often difficult to grasp what these numbers mean in real life.

Here's a really interesting graphic from the Huffington Post, with some great examples of what 200 calories looks like.  (You can access a higher resolution version in the original article).  Notice how much 'good stuff' (eg veggies and fruit) you can get for 200 calories, compared to how little of some other foods adds up to 200 cal.  You can think of calories like a daily budget (similar to the Weight Watchers' program) - when you are preparing to pop something in your mouth, think about that budget and ask yourself... is it worth it?

Also interesting is the section on 'Ways to Burn 200 Calories'.  The point is that it takes a loooong time to burn off those 200 calories that may have taken only seconds to eat - 37 minutes of dancing, 25 minutes of running stairs, or 40 minutes of badminton.  (Note that this calorie burn does vary greatly depending on intensity, body weight, gender, etc.).   Again, think about that daily calorie budget - most people don't realize how the calorie burn from a long bout of exercise actually takes very little food to make up again.

Please note that the 'recommended calorie intake' part of the infographic below is not correct - this number varies widely depending on age, weight, gender, and activity level.  You can calculate an estimate of your approximate calorie requirement in the right hand panel of my main page here.

Thanks to Bob for the heads' up on this graphic!

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