This activity page will offer:
opportunity to create a daily food record
chance to compare nutrient intake with minimum requirements
opportunity to apply critical thinking to healthy food choices
and Expended Calories
Gain or losing of weight depends on a balance between calories consumed
and calories expended. When the amount of consumed calories is greater
than the number of calories needed to maintain a healthy body, the
excess is stored as fat. In contrast, if the consumed calorie amount
is less than the number of calories needed to maintain the body,
fat is burned in order to make up the difference. This results in
a weight loss.
To best understand your calorie balance, you should be aware of
how many calories you burn in a day. This amount, known as the total
daily energy expenditure (TDEE), varies widely among individuals.
On average, for females in the U.S. this maintenance level is between
2000-2100 calories per day. Males have a higher TDEE at 2700-2900
calories per day. In the following activity, you'll determine your
caloric intake. You'll also use several calculations to determine
your personal TDEE.
of Reporting Sheets
SAFETY NOTE: The caloric intake and TDEE values calculated in
this activity should NOT be used as a basis for an actual diet.
They are approximations that are only applicable to this activity.
To determine actual values, see a professional nutritionist or
Make three copies of the food
reporting sheet. Label and date each copy for three consecutive
On day one, begin reporting each food item you consume. Organize
the foods in sequence under the headings of breakfast, lunch and
diner. If you need more space, continue the list on the reverse
side of the reporting sheet.
Determine calories by using the information reported as nutritional
facts on the container of the food item. If you don't have access
to these facts, you can use print resources or log
onto the URL http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/.
From the three days of reporting, calculate an average daily calorie
consumption. Record this number as caloric intake.
The simplest (and least accurate) method to determine TDEE involves
a simple calculation. Determine your body weight in pounds. Multiple
this number by 15.5 in order to approximate your TDEE. NOTE: Although
this method is simple, it is highly inaccurate, especially when
it is applied to individuals who are significantly overweight.
Using the number you've calculated above, compare it to your average
caloric intake. If the intake and TDEE are about equal, then most
likely you'll maintain a stable body weight. If your intake is
several calories less than the TDEE, then you should lose weight.
Likewise, if your intake is several calories more than your TDEE,
you should gain weight.
Harris-Benedict Calculation T
Harris-Benedict calculation is a little more complex in calculating,
but it provides a more accurate TDEE. It does not, however, include
muscle-to-fat ratios in its computation. The Harris-Benedict formula
uses two steps to determine the TDEE. First a base TDEE is determined.
Then, the base is adjusted for activity level.
To determine the base TDEE for females:
TDEE = 655 + (4.4 x weight pounds) + (4.6 x height in inches)
- (4.7 x age in years)
To determine the base TDEE for males:
TDEE = 655 + (6.2 x weight pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches)
- (6.8 x age in years)
your TDEE for your activity level by multiplying the values calculated
in step four by the appropriate value listed below.
or no exercise
x 1.9 6
your TDEE and compare it to the caloric intake you entered in
What would be the likely outcome if your TDEE were greater than
your caloric intake? Explain.
What would be the likely outcome if your TDEE were less than your
caloric intake? Explain.
is the Harris-Benedict calculation more accurate than the initial
estimate presented in step one?
As you are aware, the Internet offers all sorts
of information. To use this information wisely, one must critically
examine the posting content and underlying philosophy of the site.
Search the Internet for commercial diet sites. Select several sites.
Analyze their pages for unbiased information, assumptions and hidden
agendas. What are they selling? Is their information valid?
As you learned in this segment, people seem to be programmed to
a general weight set point. Once an intense dieting regimen ends,
people are likely to return to their pre-diet weight. How could
you communicate this concept using an ordinary ruler balanced on
a fulcrum (like a seesaw)?
What is the ratio of diet advertisements to other types of ads in
magazines? Examine an assortment of magazines that specialize in
topics such as sports, news, self-help, fashion, celebrities, and
homes. Count the number of ads that pertain to diet and the total
number of ads. Calculate a ratio of diet:total ads for each magazine.
Create a class chart based on your findings that identifies how
each magazine fits into this ratio.
and nutrition information center
website run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food and Calories
A unique calorie counting site that lets you select familiar food
items from national fast-food restaurants
An easy-to-use Web site that offers information on dozens of diets,
nutrition facts, and online weight-loss tools.
Advisors for this Guide:
Suzanne Panico, Science Teacher Mentor, Cambridge Public Schools,
Anne E. Jones, Science Department, Wayland Middle School, Wayland,
Gary Pinkall, Middle School Science Teacher, Great Bend Public Schools,
Great Bend, KS
Cam Bennet Physics/Math Instructor Dauphin Regional Comprehensive
Secondary School Dauphin, MB Canada