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The pros and cons of calorie counting

Last Modified: June 15, 2020

Family Medicine

calorie counter3

This post was written by Morgan Muehlmeyer, NP, PPG – Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery.

Is calorie counting healthy?

Calorie counting is one of the most successful ways to monitor intake and have successful weight loss. A patient must either reduce their calorie intake or increase exercise to lose weight. For example, by removing five hundred calories per day from a person’s diet, it should result in 1 pound of weight loss every 5 days. Most patients find reducing five hundred calories from their diet a little easier than going to the gym 7 days per week without fail. For this reason, we promote calorie counting in a healthy manner at Parkview Weight Management.

How do you calculate a healthy calorie goal?

To calculate a healthy calorie goal, you need to first find out what your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is, or the amount of energy expended while at rest. To begin, try this helpful calculator. Start by entering your age, height and weight to calculate your BMR. Once your BMR is calculated subtract 500 calories and that is an acceptable calorie goal per day. But, remember, a calorie goal should be no less than 1,200 calories per day.

Why is calorie counting an effective tool for long-term weight loss?

Calorie counting is an effective way to reduce calorie intake and promote weight loss. To maintain weight loss, patients will need to continue with calorie counting or smaller portion sizes. Patients must eat within 100 calories of their calorie goal. For example, if your calorie goal is 1,200 calories per day, you must eat 1,100-1,300 calories. There several tools and free applications like MyFitnessPal and Lose It that can help track your calories and intake.

What are the risks associated with restricting calories?

Problems can develop when patients are intaking too little calories. The average person needs about 1,300 calories per day. If a patient is restricting calorie intake too drastically, it could be considered a very low-calorie diet, about 800-900 calories per day. If a patient is on a very low-calorie diet, it should always be monitored by a healthcare professional and only be utilized for short periods. Restricting calories too severely could result in malnutrition, hair loss, eating disorders and many other problems.

Can calorie counting lead to long-term complications?

If a person is consulting their primary care provider and maintaining a healthy calorie goal, there shouldn’t be any long-term complications from calorie counting.


For more information or to take the first step in your wellness journey, visit us at Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery. We want to help you on your journey to a healthier life.

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