Will Calorie Balance Keep You at a Good Weight?

The idea that calorie balance will lead to weight regulation over the long term comes from the Caloric Balance Hypothesis, the popular notion that overeating and sedentary behavior causes weight gain.

Since we control our weight by our eating and exercising habits -- which are consciously regulated behaviors -- our weight therefore must be consciously regulated. Any discussion of the physiology of fat metabolism is besides the point. When you are obese, the problem MUST be in your head. You're a glutton, you're a sloth, or you're some combination thereof.

To hammer home this point, let's refer back to the energy balance equation, from which the Caloric Balance Hypothesis derives.

Energy Stored in the Body = Calories In - Calories Out

Weight maintenance, according to this theory, is achieved when you achieve a balance of calories. From the USDA's website:

"How can I move toward a healthier weight? Reaching a healthier weight is a balancing act. The secret is learning how to balance 'energy in' and 'energy out' over the long run. 'Energy in' is the calories from the foods and beverages you have each day. 'Energy out' is the calories you burn for basic body functions in physical activity... Your weight will stay the same when the calories you eat and drink equals the calories you burn."[1]

Since the calories we eat and the calories we burn are clearly under conscious control; therefore, the theory predicts that the fact that we maintain our weight at a relatively constant level over time must also be because we're somehow consciously manipulating calorie balance all that time.

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Return to page on the calorie balance hypothesis

Return to page on the debate over why fat is so hard to gain or lose


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10.18.11 Beyond Caloriegate Cover Art

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References


1. mypyramid.gov. Steps to a Healthier Weight (April 15 2009)

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