Want more tips and tricks for reaching your health goals? Join Lark!

Take our 2-minute survey to find out if you’re eligible to join Lark which includes a smart scale and the chance to earn a Fitbit®.
Start now
*Terms and conditions apply
Close icon

Does your insurance cover daily coaching and a smart scale from Lark?

Find out now with our 2-minute eligibility quiz!
Check my eligibility
Close icon
< Back to Resource Center
< Back to Member Blog

Calories

Natalie
Stein
February 26, 2020
Calories - Lark Health
Lark

Are you at risk of prediabetes?

Lark can help lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes through healthy habit formation, and data tracking.
Height: 5 ft 4 in
4' 0"
7' 0"
Weight: 160 lbs
90 lbs
500 lbs
LOW RISK
Risk Level
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What could 15% weight loss mean for you?

Feel more energetic and significantly reduce your risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

By clicking the button above, you agree to the Lark Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, and SMS Terms.

Current Weight: 250 lbs
120 lbs
500 lbs
Your weight loss could be*
- - lbs
Your new weight: -- lbs
Am I eligible?

By clicking the button above, you agree to the Lark Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, and SMS Terms.

*Results may vary. Based on the average weight loss in three, 68-week clinical trials of patients without diabetes who reached and maintained a dose of 2.4mg/week of GLP-1 treatment, along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. View study here.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Daily limit for a green badge: Based on height, weight, and weight loss goals

Meal limit for a green badge: Same

Calorie Basics and Body Weight

Ten Habits for Weight Loss

Calories are necessary. They are a unit of energy.  Your body needs energy not just for exercise, but for staying alive: for keeping you warm, for breathing, for pumping blood, and for maintaining electrolyte balance. 

The trouble comes when you take in too many calories. Energy that you do not use for fuel now gets stored for fuel to be used later. A bit gets stored in a form of carbohydrate called glycogen, but most gets stored as body fat. When you do not take in as many calories as you need (or burn), body fat gets used as fuel.

Every time you take in 3,500 calories more than you need, you can expect to gain about 1 lb. of fat. Every time you take in 3,500 calories less than you need, you can expect to lose about 1 lb. of body fat.

Weight gain and obesity are risk factors for many chronic conditions, including prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, cognitive decline, and hypertension. That is why Lark suggests keeping calories at a level that will help with weight loss if you need it, or weight maintenance if the goal is to prevent gain.

Sources of calories

Is Yogurt a Healthy Food?

Your body gets calories from carbohydrates, fat, protein, and alcohol. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram and are usually the most common source of calories, providing nearly 50% of total calories in the average American diet. Fat has 9 calories per gram and comes next, providing about 35% of calories. Protein has 4 calories per gram and provides 15% of calories. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram and intake varies.

Except for water, all foods and beverages have calories. Foods higher in fat and starch or sugar tend to be higher in calories. These are just a few sources of calories.

  • Starchy vegetables
  • Bread, cereal, pasta, rice and other grains, and other grain products
  • Nuts, seeds, peanuts
  • Oil
  • Fruit
  • Beans, peas, lentils
  • Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • Meat, chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs
  • Tofu, soybeans
  • Vegetables
  • Butter, shortening, lard
  • Sweets and desserts
  • Juice, sugar-sweetened beverages

As you can see, both nutritious and less-nutritious foods have calories.

Tips for keeping calories in check

Vitamin water
  • Serving sizes are important in determining calories in a meal or snack. 
  • Cutting back on a high-calorie food saves a lot of calories. For example, having half a piece of pie instead of a full one can save 200 to 300 calories.
  • It is important to read calories per serving and serving size when reading nutrition facts panels. 
  • Water is a calorie-free choice.
  • Foods with fiber, fat, and protein can help you stay full.
  • Some foods have the same number of calories in a similar serving size, but the more nutritious choice tends to be more filling and better for weight loss. For example, slices of whole-wheat and refined grain bread have the same amount of calories, but the extra fiber, protein, and fat in the whole-grain bread can make it satisfy hunger for longer.
  • Vegetables are low-calorie, making them good choices to fill up your plate and your belly.
  • Fat is highest in calories, and you can save calories by limiting easy fat targets, such as poultry skin, meat fat, and butter used for spreading and cooking.
  • Egg whites are a lower-calorie swap for eggs in most baking recipes and in cooking.
  • Foods with lower calorie density, or fewer calories in a larger serving, are more filling and better for weight loss than high-calorie-dense foods. For example, a cup of carrots has 50 calories, while a quarter-cup of chocolate candies has 250 calories.

Ideas for calorie-controlled dishes

Mexican Food - Fish taco
  • These ideas can give you flavors and satisfaction without as many calories.
  • Instead of fettuccine alfredo: spiralized noodles ("zoodles"), shirataki noodles, or strands of cooked spaghetti squash tossed with shrimp or chicken and a sauce with melted fat-free cream cheese, black pepper, and parmesan cheese.
  • Instead of lasagna with ground beef: sliced eggplant or zucchini instead of noodles, tomato sauce, lean ground turkey or soy protein, Italian seasoning, and mozzarella or parmesan cheese on top.
  • Zucchini stuffed with a mixture of garbanzo beans, feta cheese, oregano, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
  • Instead of a burrito with ground beef, rice, and cheese: Taco with ground turkey or shredded chicken and Mexican seasoning, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, and avocado
  • Pepper nachos with mini bell peppers or bell pepper strips instead of chips, fat-free refried or low-sodium pinto beans, diced tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese.
  • Soup with buckwheat noodles, low-sodium broth, snow peas, bok choy or cabbage, sliced carrots, sprouts, cilantro, and sliced hard-boiled eggs.

About Lark

Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.

Read more

Get healthier with Lark & earn a Fitbit®

Lose weight, get more active, and eat better.
take 1-minute survey

See if Ozempic® is covered by insurance

Curb cravings and reach your weight loss goals!
AM I ELIGIBLE?

Similar posts

Eating More Fish and SeafoodEating More Fish and Seafood

Eating More Fish and Seafood

Fish and shellfish are among the most nutritious protein sources, but most Americans don’t consume enough.

Learn more
Best Nutrition for a Healthy WeightBest Nutrition for a Healthy Weight

Best Nutrition for a Healthy Weight

Weight loss is largely related to what you eat and drink, so it’s important to know some basic nutrition.

Learn more
Eating Well in Social SituationsEating Well in Social Situations

Eating Well in Social Situations

Losing weight when following your everyday routine is one thing, but what happens in social situations when eating with others?

Learn more