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Is Your Calorie Tracker Making You Fat?

January 23, 2015 2 min read


Most of us will start this year off with promises of calorie counting, meal planning, and making promises to live a healthier life in 2015; however, if you don’t know the in's and out's of calorie trackers you could end up on the opposite end of the scale.

There are many apps that will help you to track your food intake, your calories, and even calculate your macro-nutrient content of your foods.  These all can be a valuable tool in reaching your fitness goals, but there is one major component that most people miss; calorie trackers use different methods of calculating your recommended intake for the day.  Neither of the two are better than the other, but one allows you to eat back the calories you burn when you exercise where the other method  does not.

So what exactly does it mean to “eat back” calories?  This means that your exercise and activity level is not used in the formula to determine your caloric intake for that specific app.   So, you may start off with a lower calorie intake recommendation (1310 calories for example) and then you will enter your exercise for the day and it will allow you to re-eat those calories you burn.  This method, called the Basal Metabolic Rate, only calculates what your body burns at rest.  It does not factor in any exercise that you may do throughout the day. So, when you enter an exercise into the calorie counter app it will give you back calories that you can eat during the day.

The other option gives you a higher caloric intake amount in the beginning (1900 calories for example) and does not require you to enter any exercise into the app.  This option is called the Daily Caloric Requirement.  It is based on a formula which already has calculated in your sex, age, activity level, and weight loss rate. When using this formula you do not enter in any exercise for the day as it is already calculated it for you.  This also means that when you are out of calories for the day then you cannot make up for extra food with exercise.

Calorie counters are an excellent tool to help meet goals, but if you don’t pay attention to the system that your tracker is using you could find yourself packing on the pounds due to a flaw in a otherwise perfect system.

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