Test Your Weight Loss Wisdom
How much do you know about calories and carbs?
Many people think that all they need to do is cut carbohydrates from their
diet, and they will lose weight. Eating plans that cut out carbohydrates can
only get their nutrients from protein, fats, and alcohol -- there are no other
sources of calories. So if you cut out carbohydrates and load up on butter,
bacon, and hamburger, how can you possibly lose weight?
Well, the answer is simple, and it's nothing new. No matter what you've
heard about net carbs and impact carbs, weight loss boils down one thing:
Calories in versus calories out.
How much do you know about carbohydrates and calories? Take this simple quiz
to find out.
1. True or false: Carbohydrates are all the same, whether they come from potato chips or vegetables.
False. Technically, all carbohydrates have the same number of
calories per gram. But from a nutritional standpoint, they differ greatly. A
soft drink, for example, gives your body little more than simple carbohydrate
calories. Compare that with carbohydrate-rich fruits, vegetables, and
whole-grain products, which are loaded with fiber and antioxidants that keep
you feeling good and also ward off diseases. So your best nutrition bet is to
cut refined carbohydrates from foods such as sugar and white bread, and replace
them with high-fiber alternatives such as whole-wheat pasta, breads, and
2. True or false: You get more calories from foods high in carbohydrates than those made up mostly of protein or fat.
False. Fat has more calories than either carbohydrates or
Much like a ruler measures length, calories measure units of energy. Nearly
all foods and beverages (except water) contain calories. The number of calories
in food and drinks is an estimation of the energy units they contain. Calories
(or, more technically, kilocalories) are used throughout the body, to fuel
physical activity and keep your bodily processes running smoothly. Your heart,
brain, lungs, muscles, and all your vital organs need these energy units to
function (vitamins and minerals also play a key role in all of your body's
Calories can only come from carbohydrates, protein, fats, and alcohol. One
gram of carbohydrate equals 4 calories, as does a gram of protein. A gram of
fat, meanwhile, equals 9 calories, and the same amount of alcohol equals 7
calories. So, gram for gram, fat has twice as many calories as carbohydrates or
3. True or false: Most of us eat too many carbohydrates.
True. Americans eat too many calories, period, and many of
them come from sweets, sugars, and fats. It's not just about too many
carbohydrates but too much of everything, including protein, fat, and
alcohol. Your WebMD Weight Loss Clinic eating plan follows the guidelines of
the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The NAS recommends a diet in which 45%
to 60% of total calories come from carbohydrates, primarily in the form of
low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as
whole-wheat bread and brown rice. The NAS recommends that 10%-35% of calories
come from protein, such as seafood, skinless poultry, and lean meat, and
20%-35% come from healthy fats such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.