MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: Do you have to consume a pound of food to gain a pound?

Date: Mon Jan 12 08:36:25 2004
Posted By: Alfred Bushway, Professor of Food Science
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 1071440734.Bc

Hi Sasha,

You have posed a very interesting question, and as you surmise you don't
need to eat a pound of food to gain a pound in weight. Serveral things to
remember include; (1) water is a major constituent of most foods and as such
doesn't contribute to weight gain, but is necessary for normal body
metabolic functions; (2) there are other constituents in foods that are
not or only parially metabolized -- dietary fiber for example; (3) a
significant amount of the caloric content of food is used to maintain normal body
functions, and in the cases of infants, children and teenagers is used to support
growth and devlopment; (4) the amount of exercise you do will also influence
if you are taking in excess calories that will go toward weight gain.
Exercise burns calories that could go toward weight gain. In simple terms
if you balance the calories you consume against the calories you are using
for the above functions, your weight should remain unchanged. I hope this
helps to answer your question.


Al Bushway 
Professor of Food Science

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