Counting calories: Facts for healthier habits

Counting calories: Facts for healthier habits

This tiny measuring unit looms large as Americans' waistlines expand, so we're running the numbers from the table to the scale:

1994 — Year when the FDA began requiring most food manufacturers to provide labeling for calories, fiber, fat, nutrients, ingredients and other information, on their products.

2,674 — The number of calories, on average, that Americans consume per day, up from 2,057 in 1970. The increase - which hasn't been offset by higher levels of exercise - has contributed to a growing obesity problem in the U.S.

1,600 — Governmental recommendations for calorie intake for a sedentary woman age 51 or older, whose lifestyle consists of day-to-day light physical activity. Men of the same age with the same sedentary lifestyle are recommended to consume 2,000 calories.

While younger, more active people need more calories, what's clear, experts say, is that most of us consume more than we need.

8 — Estimated calories a person weighing 175 pounds would burn for every minute spent shoveling snow, compared with 1 calorie burned for every minute spent reading.

3,500 — The number of calories we have to burn, over and above what we consume, to lose 1 pound.

119 — Calories in just one tablespoon of olive oil. Not that it's bad for you. Despite its density, dietitians considered it a heart-healthy substitute for vegetable oil and other pan greasers.

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You can go a little further re: how exercise assists in burning fat and creating lean muscle which take less space in the body than fat - creating a leaner toned body. AND, it's what kind of calories a person consumes.

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