At the heart of an effective weight-control strategy is the vital fact that weight will only be lost when calories burnt are more than calories consumed.  Simple enough, but it means you have to know the calorie-value of everything that goes into your mouth.  Here’s a simple guide to how these figures are determined.

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Calories in food are derived from protein, fat and carbohydrate. Alcohol also provides calories. Vitamins, minerals and water provide no calories.

Calorie values per gram

  • Fat/Oil ~ 9 Calories
  • Carbohydrate ~ 4 Calories
  • Protein ~ 4 Calories
  • Alcohol ~ 7 Calories

Note that fats have more than twice the calories of protein and carbohydrate. The higher the fat content of food, the higher the calories.

Sample calculation Quarter Pounder® with cheese has 534 calories derived from:

  • 30g Fat (x 9 cals/gram) = 270
  • 38g Carbohyd.(x 4 cals/gram) = 152
  • 28g Protein (x 4 cals/gram) = 112
  • Total Calories = 534

Calorie levels for weight loss

Begin with a calorie-controlled diet that allows a moderate weight loss of 1/2 – 1 kilogram per week. Weight loss is usually much larger in the first few weeks due to extra fluid losses. Note: It is better to increase exercise rather than reduce food calories too drastically.

Suggested calories for weight loss

  • Women:
  • Non-active 1000 – 1200
  • Active 1200 – 1500
  • Men:
  • Non-active 1200 – 1500
  • Active 1500 – 1800
  • Teenagers:
  • 1200 – 1800
Calorie King
CalorieKing's mission is to provide the best information, tools and education to Australians to help them conquer their weight.

CalorieKing is the brainchild of Allan Borushek, registered dietitian, co-found here at and author of "Allan Borushek's Pocket Calorie & Fat Counter", Australia's best-selling calorie counter for over 30 years.

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