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Energy Balance

Calories (Energy) IN = Calories (Energy) OUT

Energy balance is key to maintaining a healthy weight and fitting all foods and beverages into an active healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible diet based on balance, variety and moderation, and regular physical activity.

Energy balance describes the relationship between the calories (energy) consumed in foods and beverages and the calories (energy) burned by the body. For most people, when calories (IN) = calories (OUT), body weight remains stable, which is a desirable condition for adults who are at a healthy weight. When intake consistently exceeds expenditure, body weight increases. When more calories are consistently burned than consumed, weight loss occurs.

Although energy balance may seem a simple concept, long-term health requires actively managing both sides of the energy balance equation. This includes understanding the body’s energy needs, including the impact of physical activity, and gaining knowledge about the calorie content of foods and beverages. It also includes learning behaviors like portion control and calorie budgeting to help manage energy intake. Research suggests that small everyday decisions like how often and how much to eat and drink, whether to take the stairs or the elevator, and even whether or not to monitor body weight can have a big impact on body weight and health over time.

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