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The Body’s Energy Balance: Calculating Weight Reduction

09-11-2012 02:38 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Omron Healthcare

/ PR Agency: Team Werbelabel
(Image: PeterA /

(Image: PeterA /

The first rule of every diet is: Understand your body! That does not only involve finding weight problems, but also being aware of the personal energy balance. In order to lose weight systematically, it helps to know and to control the body’s energy consumption. In this process, terms such as kilocalories and kilojoules have to be consistently included in personal vocabulary.

What is energy balance?

The body’s energy balance is concerned with the relation between energy intake and expenditure. Both factors have to be considered and calculated in order to influence the balance. Having a neutral energy balance, if the intake is equal to the energy expended, then weight is maintained. If the food eaten supplies more energy than the body burns, the energy balance is positive. The calorie surplus is then stored as fat, and weight is gained. But if the energy consumption is higher than the intake, a negative energy balance is achieved. The latter has to be the goal for everybody on a diet, as the body covers the energy deficit by drawing from the fat stores.

What does the energy balance consist of?

The personal daily energy need is calculated from three components: basal metabolic rate, energy cost of physical activity and thermic effects. If the energy intake is higher than this value, the percentage of body fat increases; a lower intake can result in weight reduction.
Basal metabolic rate
Even during phases of absolute rest, such as sleeping, the body needs energy for breathing, metabolism, circulation and body temperature. The necessary amount of energy that is needed to ensure those processes during sleep is called basal metabolic rate. Individually-different features, such as weight, gender or age influence this value. Furthermore, the relation between muscle mass and body fat percentage is an important aspect. For instance, athletes have a higher percentage of muscles than non-athletes; and therefore, expend more energy.
Energy cost of physical activity
Every movement burns energy. The amount of energy needed for every physical activity above basal level is the second big component of energy balance. This value not only includes active movements like walking, running or cycling. Also during reading or watching TV, the body expends energy.
Thermic effects
Thermic effects describe the amount of energy that is needed to process and digest food. This value is about 10 percent of the total energy budget.

Kilocalories or joules?

Calories, kilocalories, joules, kilojoules – what exactly do these values stand for and how do they differ? People’s confusion about those terms sometimes results in misunderstandings and miscalculations. Although the unit calorie has been officially replaced by joule, calories are still omnipresent in daily conversations and ingredient list of foods. 1,000 calories equal one kilocalorie (kcal). Both terms are often used in unison, which is incorrect. The utterance: One gram of fat contains 9.3 calories is wrong. The right way of saying is: One gram of fat contains 9.3 kcal or 9,300 calories.
The measuring unit kilojoule (kJ) has been established internationally. The relation between joule and kilojoule is also 1 to 1,000 (1kJ = 1,000 Joule). One joule is the amount of energy needed to move up a weight of 100 grams over one metre. One calorie is 4.182 joules.

CaloriScan from Omron – Always stay informed about calorie consumption

Since the usage of the term ‘calorie’ still dominates over ‘joule’ in both daily life and the food industry, it is helpful to control personal energy balance by means of personal calorie consumption. Instead of making complicated measurements and calculations, those who want to lose weight get electronic help. The CaloriScan from Omron, for example, measures daily calorie consumption 24/7. Thanks to its 3-D sensor technology, the easy-to-use device differentiates every kind of movement and precisely provides the amount of calories burned. The handy calorie counter does not only consider the energy cost of physical activity; the basal metabolic rate is also part of the general calculation. With conscious eating and the support of the CaloriScan, users always stay informed about the individual energy balance, and can influence it in order to achieve successful weight loss results.

Please find more information about and articles about a healthy calorie management at

Publication free of charge. Specimen copy requested.

About Omron Healthcare
Committed to improving people’s lives, OMRON Healthcare provides clinically proven, innovative medical equipment for health monitoring and therapy. Our product portfolio includes blood pressure monitors, respiratory therapy devices, electronic fever thermometers and activity monitors as well as body composition monitors and professional medical devices.
OMRON Healthcare Group is headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. OMRON Healthcare Europe B.V. is the healthcare division for Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa, and provides service to customers in more than 60 countries through a powerful distribution network.

For more information, please visit

Contact for product enquiries:
Matthieu Valk
Scorpius 33, 2132 LR Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
Mobil: +31 (0) 23 55 44 700

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Team Werbelabel
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41068 Mönchengladbach

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Fax: 0049 (0)2161/304 – 1540

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