How many kcal is 1 kg of body fat? How many calories are in a pound of fat? Beware if you want to lose weight fast: fat loss facts you should know.

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How many calories are in 1 kilo of fat? “To lose a pound, you have to cut 7,000 calories,” they say. But is that even true?

1 gram of fat contains 9 kcal. Shouldn’t 1 kilo of body fat supply 9000 kcal? And wouldn’t I also have to save 9000 calories to lose 1 kg of body fat?

Logically correct, but: Pure fat and body fat are structured differently, which is why there are only 7000 calories of energy in 1 kilo of body fat. That’s why you ‘only’ need to save 7,000 calories to lose 1 pound of body fat.

You can find out why in this article:

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Let’s first define the two most important terms.

What are kcal?

How many kcal is 1 kgLittle creatures in our closets…

What are calories? Here’s a simple definition: they’re cute, closet-living creatures that sew our clothes a little tighter every night.

Joking aside: In everyday language we say “calories”, but we usually mean kilocalories – kcal for short.

Kcal is a unit of energy contained in food.

One kilocalorie is defined as the amount of energy you need to heat one liter of water by exactly one degree Celsius.

Because it’s about heat, we also talk about calorific value.

The more kcal a food provides, the more energy it contains.

Calories enable you to do what you want to do – from falling asleep to training at maximum strength.

Your body can either use the kcal from carbohydrates, fat and protein immediately or store it for later.

Most of your calories are stored as body fat.

But some are also stored in the form of glycogen (carbohydrates) in the muscles and liver.

Key Facts: What are kcal?

Kcal is the calorific value of a food. It represents the amount of energy contained in a food.

What is body fat?

How many kcal is 1 kgBody fat vs. muscle tissue

Few people know that the adipose tissue in your body is more than just fat.

One ​​gram of pure fat contains 9.3 kcal. Compared to protein and carbohydrates (both 4.1 kcal per g), this is a fairly high energy density.

One kilogram of pure fat contains 9,300 kcal.

But body fat is more than just fat.

The fat is stored in fat cells, which also contain some liquid and protein.

Therefore, the calorie density of body fat is lower than that of pure fat:

1 kg of pure fat contains more calories than 1 kg of body fat.

Exactly how many calories are in a pound of body fat? The answer is in the next section.

Key Facts: What is body fat?

Your body’s adipose tissue is made up of more than just fat. Therefore, fat and body fat contain different amounts of calories.

How many calories are in 1 pound of body fat?

How many calories are in a kilo

In 1958, the scientist Max Wishnofsky found:

  • If you eat 3,500 more calories than you burn, you will gain 1 pound.
  • If you eat 3,500 calories less than you burn, you will lose 1 pound.

Logically, these results are based on the scientific knowledge of the 1950s.

And today, half a century later, countless media and scientific publications still refer to his results.

This is where the following recommendation comes from, which you not only hear in my articles:

“One pound of body fat provides about 7000 calories.”

But is that even true? What result do we come to when we take the current state of science as a basis?

Let’s find out.

The nutrition researcher Dr. Zoë Harcombe questions the 7,000 kcal per pound of body fat and suggests the following calculation instead:

  • Pure fat contains 8.7 – 9.3 kcal per gram.
  • Human adipose tissue consists of 87% fat.

Based on these values, one kilogram of body fat provides between 7,569 and 8,091 calories.

However, some other studies have found that adipose tissue contains only 72% pure fat – between 6,264 and 6,696 kcal.

This suggests that the energy density of different fat tissues can vary:

The energy content of our fat tissue can fluctuate.

The commonly used “7,000 calories per kilo” rule of thumb is therefore a suitable approximation for practice.

Key Facts: How many kcal is 1 kg of body fat?

One ​​kilogram of body fat probably contains between 6,264 and 8,091 kcal. So 7,000 calories is a reasonable approximation.

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Do you lose 500 grams of fat per week if you save 500 kcal per day?

how many kcal is 1 kgAs you progress, fat loss slows down.

If you are concerned with losing weight, sooner or later you will be confronted with the “500 calorie rule”:

You lose 500 grams of fat per week if you maintain a daily deficit of 500 kcal (equivalent to 3,500 kcal per week).

Calculated over the year, that would be 26 kilograms. How realistic is such an assumption?

Scientific studies seem to refute this thesis – at least in part.

In the short term, the 500-calorie/500-gram estimate works pretty well. Especially for people who are overweight.

However, the 500 calories/500 gram thesis is not suitable for a long-term prognosis.

Anyone who expects to lose half a kilo of fat a week for months in this way will most likely be disappointed.

Because the equation is missing one factor:

As you lose weight, your body changes.

On the one hand, your basic metabolic rate decreases with decreasing body weight.

On the other hand, your body reacts by working more efficiently. For the same work he needs fewer calories. If there is a persistent lack of calories, the urge to move also decreases.

Who lose weight without weight training usually not only loses fat, but also precious muscles.

This also reduces calorie consumption.

What is colloquially called “starvation metabolism” is known in science as adaptive thermogenesis.

So fat loss is not a linear process. The speed decreases over time.

The leaner you are, the more time you should take for further progress.

Key Facts: Does 500 kcal a day make 0.5 kg a week?

The assumption that you could shed a pound of fat per week indefinitely in a 500 calorie deficit only works for the first few weeks. Because adaptations of the metabolism and physique are not taken into account.

How do you proceed if you not only want to lose weight


, but also



How many kcal is 1 kg of body fat?

Assuming you already have a clear picture of your goal. Then one thing is certain:

If you want to lose fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit.

But this simple fact doesn’t help if you ignore the following point:

You establish a feedback system.

Because this is the only way you can determine early on whether you are even on track – or whether you need to readjust your diet and activities.

A feedback system ensures you continuous progress and protects you from unnecessary frustration.

Here’s a proven way you can use such a system to successfully lose weight.


These three steps make the difference between successful fat loss and accidental fat loss. They dramatically increase your chances of success:

  • Set a goal: Where do you want to go anyway? Is your goal realistic? These questions are usually skipped and then cause unnecessary frustration and regression later on. Take the time to set goals.
  • Determine a “baseline”:  Estimate your current calorie consumption using one of the formulas provided here and measure your current physique.
  • Set a calorie deficit: As a man, you should aim for 10 to a maximum of 30%, as a woman, you should aim for 10 to a maximum of 20 Subtract % from your baseline. Be careful when proceeding aggressively: The advantages of a 20-30% deficit are obvious, but it is also more complex to plan and implement and leaves you less leeway. In addition, the risk that you will lose muscle – despite strength training – increases. In many cases, a conservative deficit is therefore more successful in the medium term.

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Once you have your starting coordinates, follow the steps below until you reach your destination. You are looking for a solution that makes you feel good. This may sound obvious, but it is often forgotten:

  1. Keep a calorie deficit: Exercise and eat in such a way that you stay within your deficit. A food diary will help you get an idea of ​​your calorie intake. Use the value calculated above as the consumption.
  2. Use feedback, adjust, stay tuned: My calorie calculator works in combination with one of the here The apps mentioned are surprisingly good if you use the feedback principle. Because the exact calorie values ​​that you get should not hide the fact that these are estimates.

And if there is no progress? Then there is always a solution.


Even if you do something towards your goal every day, you can assume that not everything will go according to plan. There are people who are frustrated by this. Still, it’s normal:

  • Expect deviations from plan. After all, it costs energy and attention when you change your habits. The worst thing you can do when you’re off plan is to react with frustration and self-blame. Successful followers know that there are no failures – only feedback. And they use the feedback to correct their course.
  • If nothing happens at all, you will find the cause. Mostly standstill when picking up on one of these< /span> 5 reasons attributed. Then this checklist will help you to stimulate fat burning again.
  • Progress often looks like stagnation. Maybe you’re thinking, “I’ll take it not from„, but are you actually making progress? Here are four typical situations that cause many people unnecessary frustration.

Key facts: lose weight quickly

There is no one way to get a dream figure. But people who successfully and sustainably lose fat find a way that makes them feel good and maintain a consistent calorie deficit. A feedback system helps them.

The critical difference between body weight and body fat

lose weight through strength training

If you want to lose weight, you often only have the scales in view. But your main concern is probably not your body weight.

You probably want to lose body fat, not muscle or bone.

Body weight and body fat are not the same thing. In fact, most people struggle with an insidious side effect of losing weight: they also lose muscle.

This muscle wasting is often partly responsible later on for them becoming even fatter.

The good news is, there are two easy ways to counteract this:

  • Proper strength training: Not only experience, studies also show how effectively training with weights in a calorie deficit protects against muscle atrophy.
  • High-protein diet: By increasing protein intake through your diet, you give your body little reason to use muscle protein. The risk of muscle breakdown decreases.

By the way, both tactics also help you burn extra calories. They can also suppress the feeling of hunger.

Key Facts: Body Weight vs. Body Fat

Proper strength training and a protein-rich diet protect you from unwanted muscle loss when losing weight. Both measures increase your calorie consumption and thus additionally support your fat loss.


How many kcal is 1 kg of body fat? The answer lies somewhere between 6,264 and 8,091 calories. So the 7,000 kcal approximation is a good guide.

If you save 3,500 kcal per week based on your current calorie requirement, with the right strategy you can actually lose a good pound per week in the first few weeks.

However, your calorie consumption naturally decreases over time. This also slows down the rate at which you break down fat.

A feedback system that not only takes into account objective measurements, but also your very subjective well-being, helps you to make continuous progress and – to keep at it.

Question: Which goals did you work with when you successfully lost weight? How did you deal with regression? What kind of feedback helped you the most? Write a comment.

Image Credits

Photos in the article “How many kcal is 1 kg of body fat?”: © Billion Photos. CC-BY 2.0, Little Goody Two-Shoes: JD Hancock. © olly18.

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