Smart Ways to Feed Your Body


By: , – By Joy Bauer, RD, of Woman's Day
  :  39 comments   :  19,017 Views

Q: I've heard that artificial sweeteners can make you crave more sweets. So why do weight loss plans encourage eating foods—like yogurt—with artificial sweeteners? —HILARY SHEFFLER HOWARD, ATHOL, ID

A: Diet sodas get more negative attention because they have zero nutrition. Yogurt, however, has some positives (protein and calcium) along with the artificial sweeteners. My advice is to limit your intake of artificially sweetened foods and drinks to two a day, because they keep the sweet taste on your mind and taste buds, which can make it harder to beat sugar cravings. As for yogurts, I prefer those with a little real sugar. Look for flavored ones with no more than 14 g sugar per 4-oz container and no more than 20 g per 6-oz. (This includes the sugar that's naturally found in yogurt from lactose and from fruit purée, honey or other added sweeteners.) Of course, less is best! Most flavored nonfat Greek yogurts meet my cutoff.

Q: Should I eat more on days when I exercise a lot? —LAUREN BAILEY, NEW YORK

A: Most of us usually don't exercise enough to justify extra calories. But here's a general guideline: Multiply your weight by 13. The total is how many calories you should eat daily, whether you're not exercising at all or if you're working out moderately for an hour or less (walking, swimming, doing an exercise DVD). On days when you exercise for more than an hour, add 100 to 200 calories per additional hour. So if you took a two-hour hike, for example, add 150 calories to a snack or meal that day. If your energy is lagging during a particularly active week, try adding more protein to breakfast (a scoop of cottage cheese, an egg) and snacks (a handful of almonds, string cheese).

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  • 39
    the equation listed is when you are at your goal weight. I was told this by a dietician decades ago. - 2/24/2014   4:01:58 PM
  • 38
    Laughing at this. Everyone is complaining. Everyone is different people, and the equation is for those who want to maintain. - 1/3/2014   11:20:35 PM
  • 37
    262 lbs x 13 = 3406 c./daily I am now eating less than 1500 c./day. Why am I still not losing weight?!
    - 6/22/2012   12:05:32 PM
  • 36
    current weight 184 x 13 = 2392 but, goal weight of 125 x 13 = 1625 that is closer to the amount recommended on SparkPeople to lose weight. - 6/22/2012   1:12:53 AM
  • 35
    I'm trying to LOSE weight, therefore now - currently @ 180 lbs, I'm eating about 1600 calories per day but walking and doing workouts that will burn up to 1000 per day. Are you saying this is wrong??? I'm getting good results at an acceptable pace ... lost 30 lbs since Dec 15 - 6/21/2012   10:30:34 AM
    Has anyone bothered to look into this before attacking her? This same equation is posted all over the place. - 6/20/2012   11:38:16 AM
  • 33
    My goal weight is 175, since I have a large frame & am 5'7" and not 20 years old anymore. 175 x 13 = 2275, way too many calories. 175 x 10 is more reasonable! - 6/20/2012   10:49:12 AM
    It seems more right to me if I multiply my GOAL weight by 13... and I workout a LOT in a day (round 2 hours a day)... - 6/20/2012   10:01:08 AM
  • 31
    Multiply by 13 would make me at 2158 and I'd GAIN on that. LOL - 6/20/2012   12:20:19 AM
  • 30
    hugs - 6/20/2012   12:20:01 AM
  • 29
    Looks like we all agree the x13 is not going to work for weight loss. - 6/19/2012   2:55:43 PM
  • 28
    I've conditoned myself to leave sodas alone. I don't even want a soda anymore, now. Hadn't had one in nearly 12 years. I do eat artificial sweeteners, but I do not have an increased craving for sweet stuff. I've learned that it's all a mind game. I tell myself what I am going to eat, I tell myself what I want to eat, and I have developed the habit of only eating (and wanting to eat) those things. It wasn't easy at first, but I now am addicted to eating a healthy diet. - 6/19/2012   12:57:08 PM
  • 27
    If I multiply my weight x13 - well let's just say I'd be eating more in one day than I do in about 2-1/2. I realize there is probably a good reason this might be used but many of the people here on Spark could mistake this and really sabotage their weight loss efforts.... - 6/19/2012   12:51:22 PM
  • 26
    Perhaps her x13 is for maintainance. I'm almost at my goal weight, so 151 lbs x13 = 1963 calories, which is actually probably spot-on for what it takes for me to maintain my weight (I can lose weight by eating 1700-1800 calories/day). If someone is overweight or obese still then maybe the x13 equation doesn't work. But it probably does work for those that are at a healthy BMI and looking to maintian. - 6/19/2012   10:16:39 AM
    Weight X 13??? What the HECK??? A great way for me to gain back the 70 lbs I lost. Wow. This is NOT good advice - 6/19/2012   9:57:42 AM
  • 24
    Math problems aside... Eat plain yogurt! The only palatable ones are Greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite) or organic - Stoneyfield is delish. Plain Dannon is watery and gross. - 6/19/2012   9:43:45 AM
  • 23
    Do not follow this formula or you will be the next Goodyear blimp--what was she thinking! The formula would give me an extra 1100 calories/day over my true maintenance level (discovered by trial and error by watching the scale), that would result in a 110# weight gain per year! I couldn't even eat that many calories if I had pizza and beer three times a day. Multiplying my weight by 10 doesn't work either--that puts me 500 calories over my true maintenance level, or 50 lb. weight gain per year. On the other hand if I weighed 110# like the charts say I should, that would allow me 1430 per day, and that would probably work. This formula only works for people who are very thin. - 6/19/2012   9:03:42 AM
  • 22
    Sorry this does not really work with either pounds or kilograms - except for VERY SPECIFIC weight-height-age-caloric goal combinations. Divergence from regular scientific BMR calculations (that take age&height into accout, not just weight) is just too drastic.

    Out of curiousity, I did run some quick graphs to see where the 'weight * 13' line even crosses any of caloric goal ranges (calculated for inactive female at 20yo and 50yo, 5ft, 5'6'' and 6ft). In short - for low end of HEALTHY BMI, short-to-average height female -pounds*13 is somewhat similar to MAINTENANCE kcal range - but as soon as you are but 10 pounds away from convergence point, that' s a 130kcal/day difference right there, so this formula is not something to safely rely on. Also, for tall females convergence point is in anorexic range - so the punds*13 will always OVERestimate the recommended caloric intake.

    Kilos*13 - quite the opposite, UNDERestimates caloric intake for most. This underestimate is around 750 a day (drastic weight loss goal) for most of the obesity ranges. For BMI in 47-50 it does even match 500kcal deficit a day - what might be a believable weight loss goal. - 6/19/2012   5:20:49 AM
  • 21
    I do this in KG and it comes to 975, which I can do, but still seems a bit extreme (I'm losing with exercise and 1,200). The alternative, pounds, is also way off, almost 2,200, which is WAY too much. There is something wrong with this equation. - 6/19/2012   4:35:58 AM
    I am thinking this is in kilograms as then it equates to 1001 calories for me which is about right. Perhaps convert your weight to kg's and see if it makes sense then? :) - 6/19/2012   3:02:43 AM
  • 19
    The calories I eat are my weight x 8 and I still have to work out just to maintain. I eat less than that now that I am trying to lose weight. Not to be redundant after the many other comments below, but that general guideline of x13 seems to be missing some sort of caveat. - 6/18/2012   10:44:41 PM
  • 18
    x13? No way. - 6/18/2012   8:18:33 PM
  • 17
    What do you mean to calculate my weight times 13?!?!?!!?!? That is way too many calories to consume when attempting to lose weight. Even when I achieve my goal weight, that would be more calories than I feel comfortable consuming.

    This blog was not helpful at all!
    - 6/18/2012   5:32:04 PM
  • 16
    What with all the comments, I don't quite know what to make of this blog... - 6/18/2012   2:35:52 PM
  • 15
    Just a wild guess - that multiply by 13 is maintenance rather than weight loss. That's the only way the number makes sense.

    In fact that whole calculation is suspect given that it is supposedly the same whether someone is not working out or working out moderately for under an hour. Sorry, but for me 40-55 minutes of moderate cardio is around 4200 calories burned a week. That's 600 more calories a day that I need as fuel that I wouldn't need if I stopped working out.

    Guess I know who NOT to listen to. - 6/18/2012   12:23:09 PM
  • 14
    that would be 1000 calories more than I need just to maintain what I now weigh - 6/18/2012   12:03:01 PM
    That formula would put my calorie intake at 3796 calories. That would be a ridiculous amount of time in the gym to overcome that. I don't think I was consuming that (all the time) when I wasn't watching my intake. - 6/18/2012   11:20:01 AM
    I sometimes have trouble eating 1250-1500. How in the world would I be able to eat 2900+ calories? - 6/18/2012   10:51:57 AM
  • 11
    That's crazy. I would have thought spark reviewed their guest blogs. If that were a true equation than their own trackers would reflect that. And since many of us know from our own weight loss experiences that it is wrong, it is kind of scary to think of someone who is new to spark and trying to learn about health and nutrition reading this and thinking it's correct. They won't get very far and probably become discouraged. - 6/18/2012   10:26:22 AM
    The equation may be reasonable / applicable if you weigh say 100 - 135 lbs and you are trying to maintain that weight. However, it is completely ridiculous if you weight anywhere upwards of 160 and are trying to lose weight! Sorry, donít use it! If anything, go by what youíve calculate in your Sparkpeople profile based on your current weight and goals! - 6/18/2012   9:57:48 AM
  • 9
    I'm confused? That seems like way to many calories. - 6/18/2012   9:51:57 AM
  • 8
    That equation is NOT helpful! That many calories daily (even occasionally) and I'd be a double-blimp in no time. Maybe if one is at goal weight, it's closer to reasonable, but for anyone with significant weight to lose, it's ridiculous. I think the poster needs to consider her audience (or SP needs to edit for context). - 6/18/2012   9:19:15 AM
  • 7
    I thought the equation seemed fairly reasonable but I would like to know what happens if I am exercising more vigorously? Does the same thing stand true? - 6/18/2012   9:12:53 AM
  • 6
    My weight times 13???? No way am I going to eat over 3000 calories a day!!!! There is something fishy about that!!! - 6/18/2012   9:11:44 AM
  • 5
    Her multiplier seems way too simplistic and "off" to me. I weigh 207. There is no way that 2691 is going to maintain for me. Obviously muscle mass burns more than fat, so those of us who have a higher percentage fat can't use this multiplier. - 6/18/2012   8:22:29 AM
  • TARAH85
    I always thought the old adage was to take your weight and add a zero for maintenance. So for example, if I weigh 130 lbs. (maybe one day, right?), then 1300 calories should be what I'm eating. I'm sure that that's not 100% accurate and that there are many other factors involved, but it seems a bit more useful than trying to consume 3200 calories a day! - 6/18/2012   7:58:20 AM
  • 3
    Ditto. Of course I am older and don't need the calories I did as a 20 year old. No wonder people believe obese people constantly eat if the science says I am eating nearly 3,000 calories daily to maintain my weight. I have been tracking on Spark People for nearly 4 years and I am consuming nowhere near that and don't lose weight. Of course I am a mystery to science, lol. - 6/18/2012   7:25:45 AM
    Multiply your weight by 13? Me thinks not. I am eating a little over 1,500 calories for my continued weight loss and this equation would put me over 4,000 calories. Whoa! - 6/18/2012   7:02:37 AM

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