Can a weight loss of one pound a week be achieved with a 3500-kcal deficit? Commentary on a commonly accepted rule.

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Despite theoretical evidence that the model commonly referred to as the 3500-kcal rule grossly overestimates actual weight loss, widespread application of the 3500-kcal formula continues to appear in textbooks, on respected government- and health-related websites, and scientific research publications. Here we demonstrate the risk of applying the 3500-kcal rule even as a convenient estimate by comparing predicted against actual weight loss in seven weight loss experiments conducted in confinement under total supervision or objectively measured energy intake. We offer three newly developed, downloadable applications housed in Microsoft Excel and Java, which simulates a rigorously validated, dynamic model of weight change. The first two tools available at http://www.pbrc.edu/sswcp, provide a convenient alternative method for providing patients with projected weight loss/gain estimates in response to changes in dietary intake. The second tool, which can be downloaded from the URL http://www.pbrc.edu/mswcp, projects estimated weight loss simultaneously for multiple subjects. This tool was developed to inform weight change experimental design and analysis. While complex dynamic models may not be directly tractable, the newly developed tools offer the opportunity to deliver dynamic model predictions as a convenient and significantly more accurate alternative to the 3500-kcal rule.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Keywords

  • Algorithms, Diet, Reducing, Energy Intake, Energy Metabolism, Female, Goals, Humans, Information Dissemination, Male, Weight Loss
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Authorlist

  • Thomas DM; Martin CK; Lettieri S; Bredlau C; Kaiser K; Church T; Bouchard C; Heymsfield SB
  • Start Page

  • 1611
  • End Page

  • 1613
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 12