Friday, September 24

Ask the Expert

Dear Expert:
How many calories would the average person burn climbing a flight of stairs? I am trying to encourage employees to use the stairs instead of the elevators. Posting the amount of calories they may burn could encourage them to use the stairs more often.


Well, the benefits in one flight of stairs may not seem like much, but the cumulative effect is great. In one hour, a person weighing 150 pounds burns 750 calories climbing stairs. That is 12.5 calories per minute.

You could also post calories burned per distance walked. For example, you may hang a sign from the employee parking lot all the way to the front door. A 150-pound person walking 3.5 mph burns 345 calories per hour. That is 6 calories per minute.

In contrast, standing still burns 4.1 calories per minute, and sitting burns 1.9 calories per minute.

The more you move, the more you burn, and the less you weigh. Congratulations for trying to improve the fitness of your co-workers.

Dear Expert:
How many grams of protein and vegetable oil should I have in my diet? I am a 20-year-old male, 185 centimeters, 70 kilograms. I exercise a lot.

Protein requirements for athletes vary from .8 grams per kilogram per day to 2 grams per kilogram per day.

We most commonly use 1.2 grams per kilogram per day. At your weight, you should have 84 grams of protein a day. If you are trying to build muscle and add weight, you could use up to 120 grams of protein a day.

It is very important that you consume enough calories to support your young metabolism and active lifestyle. If you are not, the protein you eat may be used for meeting your energy needs and not necessarily for supporting muscle tissue and other protein needs.

For an active male, we plan 40 calories per kilogram. For you, that is a total of 2,900 calories. Because of your leanness, you could easily eat up to 3,500 calories a day.

Next, let us calculate the recommendations for fat intake. Using 3,000 calories, take 30 percent (recommended amount of fat in our diet) which is 900 fat calories. Divide by 9 calories per gram. You need 100 grams of fat a day.

You need this amount to support your calorie intake -- the volume of non-fat food would be hard to consume if you limited your fat.

If I use 3,000 calories as your daily calorie intake, for example, this is how your diet composition should balance.


Protein 100 grams 13 percent
Fat 100 grams 30 percent
Carbohydrates 425 grams 57 percent

You could eat a little more protein and increase your calories. You did not specify the type of exercise, which might influence these numbers. Intense aerobic exercise, such as long distance running, may require higher levels of carbohydrates, yet not reducing protein intake.

Dear Expert:
How do I know what foods are high or low in fats or carbohydrates?

Foods high in fat are oily and greasy. That would be oil, mayonnaise, butter, margarine, cream and visible animal fat. Foods that contain these ingredients would thus be higher in fat such as cheese, chocolate, ice cream, fried foods, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, salad dressings, and creamy and cheesy sauces.

Foods high in carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, starches such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, potatoes, legumes, pretzels, crackers and low-fat sweets such as Jell-O, jelly beans, soda, low-fat frozen yogurt, and desserts. Milk and yogurt are high in lactose, which is a carbohydrate, but could also have some dairy fat.

Some foods are high in both, such as pound cake, lasagna, fettuccini Alfredo and ice cream. Foods that are low in both are lean protein foods such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs and low-fat cheeses. A good resource to check food composition is "Book of Food Counts," by Corinne Netzer. This book offers the basic components in most of the foods you would find in the grocery store.

The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician.

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