Count Calories? 3 Reasons Your Number Might Be Wrong

calculatorDo you count calories to lose weight?  Even though calorie counting gets some criticism from people who promote fad diets, most registered dietitians and legitimate weight loss experts still stand behind the tried and true method of weight loss.  For many reasons, knowing your daily caloric intake is important for good health, for weight loss and for long term weight maintenance.

But sometimes counting calories doesn’t work as well as it should.  One reason is that your calorie count number might be wrong.  There are a few reasons that even the most diligent calorie counter could end up with an inaccurate number at the end of the day.

3 Reasons Your Calorie Count Might Be Wrong

  1. Portion size and serving size don’t match. Do you know the difference between portion size and serving size? If you don’t it could be the cause of your inaccurate calorie counting numbers.  The Nutrition Facts Label provides a calorie count for a single serving of food. If your serving (your portion) doesn’t match the amount indicated on the label, then your caloric intake will differ from what you record.
  2. Nutrition Facts Label is not exact  The stated calorie counts on packages could be wrong.  In a recent interview with Catherine Lee, Ph.D., a food scientist at Proctor and Gamble,  she explained that  food products can contain as much as 20% more calories than what is printed on the label as allowed by the FDA.
  3. Snacks and nibbles get missed.  Even the most diligent calorie counter will miss a few snacks and nibbles every now and then.  But the calories in those nibbles can really add up.  In fact, best selling author and nutrition expert Elizabeth Somers once told me that each bite of food adds up to about 25 calories.  What if 10 bites of food go unrecorded each day?  That’s a difference of 250 calories!

Don’t Ditch Calorie Counting!

Of course these small inaccuracies don’t mean that you should dump your calorie counting completely.  It should just help you understand that the numbers have some wiggle room. Of course, there is nothing you can do about inaccurate food labels, but you can become more careful about measuring food portions and recording each bite of food.  These small efforts will help you reach your weight loss goals and keep the weight off for good.


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