A new 3,500 calorie formula?


Anyone who has read Stop Counting Calories & Start Losing Weight, or The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it? or even this post, will know that I have been interested in the 3,500 formula for a long time. The calorie formula states: “To lose 1lb of fat you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories.” It is the reason why so many people, across the world, are starting a diet today aiming to cut back by 1,000 calories a day thinking that they will lose 2lb (7 x 1,000 divided by 3,500) a week, week in week out, for as long as they can keep up that deficit. It doesn’t work. It never has and it never will.

The study being looked at this week is a really interesting article by a US researcher called Dr Kevin Hall who has also been interested in the 3,500 calorie formula for some time. The key differences between Hall and I are 1) he can still do the differential equations that I have long since forgotten! and 2) he continues to work on trying to find a better formula.

There can’t be a worse formula, but I don’t think that trying to find an accurate one is possible or helpful. Anything that ‘promises’ that a specific calorie deficit sustained for a specific period of time will elicit a specific weight loss is a) a lie b) a cruel lie and c) a driver of unhelpful and unsustainable behaviour.

You can read my full review of Hall’s article below. There were two really interesting outcomes from looking at this study and they weren’t what the study concluded.


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