Energy Balance for For Losing Weight While Pregnancy
Understanding how energy intake and energy expenditure interact and affect overall energy balance is essential in order to provide appropriate energy recommendations for meeting nutrition and performance goals. Energy balance is achieved when calories consumed through food and liquids are equal to the calories expended by the body to maintain basic physiological processes and perform physical work. Figure 2.1 illustrates this concept by using a balanced scale as a visual aid.
Figure 2.1 Energy balance
Measuring the energy content of the food and beverages humans consume is sometimes termed the “input” side of the energy balance equation. The “output” is the energy humans expend on all metabolic processes as well as any form of activity, including activities of daily living (ADLs) and structured exercise. Athletes must have a thorough understanding of how energy balance affects body weight and performance. If an athlete’s inputs, that is, energy from food and beverages, equals the energy one expends (the outputs) on a daily basis, their weight will stay the same. If the input side of the equation is greater than the output side, then an athlete will experience weight gain. This may enhance performance if the weight gain comes from lean body mass (LBM), or may negatively impact performance if the weight is in the form of fat mass (FM). An athlete whose inputs are less than the outputs will likely lose weight. Depending upon the type of weight that is lost and the rate of weight loss, this may enhance performance if body fat is lost at an appropriate rate as with an endurance athlete who has less body mass to carry, or may impair performance in the case of an athlete whose rapid weight loss results in loss of LBM and inadequate energy. Energy balance is very consequential for weight management and performance.
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Understanding energy balance is crucial for the weight loss practitioner working with an athlete who has weight management goals. Some athletes wish to maintain their weight (input equals the output) and thus should be in energy balance. Some athletes want to gain weight in the form of LBM, and in this case inputs need to be greater than the outputs to be in positive energy balance. Athletes wanting to lose weight need to ensure the inputs are less than the outputs and thus need to be in negative energy balance. This is not as simple and straightforward as it may seem. To support athletes in these goals, the weight loss professional first needs to measure both sides of the equation before any recommendations can be made.
Measuring Energy Input
Measuring the energy content in food has been described earlier and is relatively straightforward. The most accurate form of measurement is a bomb calorimeter, though most often calorie values found on food labels are derived from food processing software. Actually tracking the foods an individual consumes in order to determine total energy intake is a little more complex. Most often, daily intake is estimated using dietary records, or food logs. These require an individual to track one’s food and beverage intake and amount for 1 to 7 days. These paper or electronic logs can then be analyzed using computer software that calculates the energy value of the foods and beverages consumed. Alternatively, smartphone apps allow individuals to record their daily intake throughout the day, and this technology then computes the nutrient analysis without requiring additional software. Regardless of the analysis method, the recorded information must be very detailed to be accurate. A significant and common source of error when estimating energy intake is the underreporting of portion sizes and omission of beverages. Causes of underreporting and omission include poor memory or recall if food is not recorded at the time of consumption, failure to measure portion sizes, and possible self-consciousness over one’s food choices. All of these result in the underestimation of total energy intake. Regardless, food records are still the most practical method available for estimating energy intake. Athlete assessment will go into further detail regarding use of food records (see Chapter 5).
Measuring Energy Output
Because the output side of the equation, energy expenditure, has different components, this assessment is more complex. Total energy expenditure (TEE), sometimes known as total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), is the amount of energy used by the body in 24 hours. TEE has three components: REE comprising 60 to 75 percent of TEE, the TEF comprising 10 percent of TEE, and PA comprising 20 to 30 percent (see Figure 2.2).