How To Count Calories June 29, 2016

Calories are the basic source of energy. All the food we consume is eventually broken down into calories. While Protein and Carbohydrates contain 4 calories each in 1 gram, Fat contains 9 calories in the same 1 gram.

3500 calories constitute 1 pound of weight in body. Counting calories and exercising are the only “secret” to lose all that excess flab and believe it or not, it is not a very difficult process at all. In this article, we describe the two important steps involved in how to count calories.

It is just that people are not equipped with right kind of information to do so. There are two steps to achieve the target of counting calories and cutting them:

1. Determine How Many Daily Calorie Count And Requirement Using Harris Benedict Equation

Determine the daily calorie requirement first. Now if you need to reduce one pound of weight, you need to cut (and burn) 500 calories from the given calories.

For example: My Daily Calorie Requirement is 2250. Assuming that I want to reduce my weight by one pound in one week, I need to cut 3500 calories in one week, i.e. 3500 / 7 = 500 less calories per day. This I can achieve by reducing my calories intake by 250 and burning 250 through exercising. So, I will eat about 2000 calories in one day and make sure to exercise and burn 250.

On a side note: While eating, 2000 calories a day looks quite a lot!!! But it practicality it is very less (considering the type of food we eat).

For example, a slice of bread is about 70 calories, so you can assume 2000 calories is not a big number. On the other hand, burning extra 250 calories through exercise seems to be a very small number but it is not, considering we burn 100 calories while walking 1 mile in 20 min. I am not saying this to discourage anyone but just to give an essence of the whole concept of counting and burning calories. It’s not that difficult once you get hold of it.

2. Count How Many Calories Are Being Consumed

Although there are numerous apps and websites which provide information about the calorie count of the food we eat, but generally it is not the exact amount. This especially holds true for the Indian dishes we eat.

I say this because ingredients and proportions of recipes made by two different individuals are rarely same. For example, I cook my lentils (daal) with half teaspoon olive oil and 1 large onion and 1.5 medium tomatoes in it. The calorie count per cup of my recipe will be way less than the recipe which includes 2 tablespoons of Ghee Tadka in it with less or no onion and tomatoes.

On a side note: I personally, evaluate the total calories in my recipe by measuring and finding calories per ingredient. I would really recommend using a proper measuring set of cups and spoons. It is always good to keep them handy so you know how much stuff we are actually using/ eating.

Here is chart of Ingredients we use in daily consumption and their measurement and calorie count:

QuantityFood ItemCaloriesCalories From Fat
1 cupWheat Flour40720
1 cupMaida*45511
1 cupRice Flour57820
1 cupRava / Semolina60117
1 cupGram Flour /Besan35655
1 cupPoha (uncooked)*30045
1 cupWhite Rice, medium grain( uncooked)*70211
1 cupBasmati Rice(uncooked)*60016
1 cupToor Dal (uncooked)70028
1 cupYellow Moong Dal (uncooked)67818
1 cupChole/ Chickpeas (uncooked)728109
1 cupRajma/Kidney Beans ( uncooked)6074.5
1 cupGreen Moong Dal (uncooked)71821.6
1 cupMasoor Dal64916.2
1 cupUrad Dal66225.2
1 cupMurmure/Laiyya/ Puffed Rice*609
1 cupOats (plain,rooled,instant,uncooked,w/t flavor)36066
1Egg (White+ yellow)9063
1 tsp/4.2gmSugar*16
1 cupWhole Milk**15072
1 slice/25gmWhite Bread*677
1 cupWhite Pasta*(penne , uncooked)2009
1 tbspTomato Ketchup***15
1 tbspRefined oil120120
1 tbspMustars oil120120
1 tbspDesi Ghee120120


* High is carbohydrate.

** Whole Milk has 12 gm of sugar.

*** Tomato ketchup has at least 4gm of sugar in 1 tablespoon.

These are few ingredients we use on a day to day basis. To calculate the total calories in a recipe you have to calculate the calories for each ingredient according to its quantity used.

Calories In Fruits


Image: iStock

1 medium/223gm Apple116
1 medium/7”.8”1ongBanana105
1 cup/117.0gCherries(with pits)74
1 cup/92gmGrapes62
1 medium/131 gmOrange62
1 medium/154 gmPomegranate105
1 mediumKiwi46
1 medium/98 gmPeaches38
1 medium 166 gmPear96
1 cup/155 gmPineapple78
1 medium /66 gmPlum30
1 cup Custard apple235
1 cup/152 gmStrawberries49
1 cup/ 123 gmRaspberries64
1 cup/154 gmWatermelon(diced)46
1 cup/80 gmCoconut (shredded)*283(241 from fat)
1 cup/165 gmMango107
1 cup/177 gmCantaloupe60


Note: Fruits are a rich source of vitamin and minerals. These are rich in antioxidants but there are negatives of eating lot of fruit too.

There is a negligible amount of fat present in fruits. Some fruits like grapes, Pineapple, custard apple, mango, and Cantaloupe etc., have high sugar content.

Sugars from fruits – fructose – can be cause of concern for people how are trying to lose weight. It’s always good to have fruits in moderation and choosing options wisely.

Calories in Vegetables:


Image: iStock

1 cup/180 gmTomato32
1 cup/82 gmBrinjal20
1 cup/89 gmCabbage22
1 cupBottle Gourd18
1 cup/124 gmBitter Gourd25
1 cup/110 gmBeans34
1 cup/85 gmBeets74
1 cup/154 gmCorn124
1 cup/104 gmCucumber (with peel)16
1 cup/145 gmPeas(de-pod)117
1 cup/113 gmSquash/pumpkin18
1 cup/88 gmBroccoli25
1 cup/100 gmCauliflower25
1 cup/30 gmSpinach7
1 cup/128 gmCarrots52
1 tsp/2.8 gmGarlic4
1 cup/115 gmOnion46
1 cup/133 gmSweet Potato114
1 cup/75 gmPotato58
1 cup/116 gmRadish19
1 cup/130 gmTurnip36
1 cup/120 gmCelery19
1 cup/149 gmCapsicum (red/green/yellow)30
1 cup/100 gmLady finger (Okra)31

Note: Vegetables are high in vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. These make excellent snacks. They have negligible amount of fat and sugar.

To learn more about calorie counting, here is some help. The table given below will help you determine how many calories are present in proteins, fats, carbohydrates and alcohol:

  • Proteins- 4 Calories per gram
  • Fats- 9 Calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates- 4 Calories per gram
  • Alcohol- 7 Calories per gram

Take the above-mentioned table as an example and calculate your daily calorie intake by keeping a track of everything you eat. Most foods consist of a very complex mixture of these basic components; so it is important to know the nutrient value of every meal that you take.

Count Your Daily Calorie Intake

Now comes the actual calorie counting part. The big question here is that how many grams of food should you consume? What is the required amount of calorie intake?

In general, to maintain a weight of 145 pounds, you should eat 1,884 calories. Now 15% of 1,884 = 282 calories. This means if you reduce 282 calories per day, you will be able to reduce 1 pound every 12 days or 2 pounds in a month initially.

Note: Remember just walking for half an hour burns 150 calories.

You can seek information about calories, minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, fiber, etc. from the USDA National Nutrient Database. It is a good and trusted resource if you wish to track your data manually. But one thing which you should remember while counting calories and following a diet is to keep a proper record of the amount of food you eat; else you will end up with eating disorders.

What Is An Eating Disorder?

Eating disorder is a condition that is defined by abnormal eating habits. Symptoms of eating disorders may include self-induced vomiting, usage of enemas, diuretics, and laxatives. It can also be caused by extreme food restriction when you get obsessed with losing weight and you stop eating even the required amount of food. It reaches to a point of excessive weight loss and self-starvation.

Yes, weight management is very important, but it should not be taken to such an extent that it becomes a health risk. It is very important to eat healthy and in appropriate amount and time. It is a basic urge to eat more when you are on a diet. It happens with anyone in the initial days, but as your metabolic system gets adjusted to the diet plan, following the diet without any cravings becomes a regular habit.

Yes, just by reducing the amount of calories intake from your meal will surely help in your weight loss program, but if you work-out daily for just half an hour, you will reap more benefits from your new regime.

Now when we know how many calories are present in each food item, calculate the calorie count to utmost accuracy.

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shwetasarawgi (Glam 'n Gloss)

A Skincare enthusiast, a makeup junkie by choice and a housewife by karma. I am Shweta ,30 years old who have completed my MBA and I am married to a techie. I love makeup and styling. During my stay in USA, UK and India I've picked up lots of different International products and have learnt loads of tips and tricks.
  • Amrutha

    perfectly nice :)

    • shwetasarawgi (Glam ‘n Gloss)

      Thanks :)

  • StyleCraze

    Yes, you can Nisha.