4 Much more Facts You Never Know About Calories

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We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!

Only 12 percent of Americans can estimate the calories they eat in a day! Find out why we’re so clueless and get easy ways to stop calorie confusion
By Mara Betsch, Prevention

You know what calories are, and you probably know that if you eat too many, you’ll gain weight. But do you know how many are in your favorite deli sandwich? Or how many calories you should really eat each day? Most Americans don’t. Only 12 percent can accurately estimate the number of calories they should consume in a day someone their age, height, weight, and physical activity, according to a 2010 survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation. So what is it about calories that keeps us baffled? Last month, we shared some reasons you might be confused about calories – here are four more and the simple steps that will help you do the math.

1. Exercise makes you hungry

Though studies are mixed when it comes to whether exercise actually stimulates or suppresses appetite, many people think of working out as a way to eat whatever they like. “There’s definitely a mentality of ‘I have sweated therefore I deserve,’” says Bonci. However, with most people burning about 100 calories per mile, a short workout won’t give you a free pass to eat junk food. “If you walk two miles, eating a handful of chips post-workout can undo the calories you burned,” says Bonci. As mentioned above, gym machines don’t accurately measure calories burned, either.

Stop the confusion: To stop an after-workout binge, fuel up pre-gym, Zied suggests. “Have something before – something with carbs and a little protein, like whole wheat toast and peanut butter or a banana and milk.” Depending on the intensity of your workout, you may need something afterward as well. After a workout longer than 45 minutes, you should aim to eat about 200 calories.

Tips to Stop Overeating After Workouts

2. Liquid calories are ignored
“People are spending hundreds of calories on beverages each day,” says Zied. Unfortunately, a lot of those calories are from sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol, not milk and 100 percent fruit juice. According to a 2007 study, beverage intake accounted for roughly 12 percent of total calories in 1965 and steadily increased to 21 percent in 2002 – that’s 222 extra calories a day from drinks alone! Because bottled drinks often contain multiple servings, it’s best to either pour a serving in a glass or look for mini soda cans and juice boxes.

Keep reading for more info about calories and weight loss after the break.
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