Back to Part D. Science Base, Section 3. Discretionary Calories

 

PART D: SCIENCE BASE

Figure D3-1. Illustrative Example of the Discretionary Calories Concept

Calories are plotted on the y axis of this graph, and bars representing persons A and B are on the x axis. The calorie requirement for both persons A and B is 2,000 calories. Person A, by consuming nutrient-dense, lower energy-dense foods, fulfills his or her essential nutrient needs by consuming only 1,800 calories—less than his or her total daily energy allowance of 2,000 kcals/day. The remaining 200 calories—the difference between the caloric requirement (2,000) and the calories consumed to meet recommended nutrient intakes (1,800 calories)—are discretionary calories. Person B is consuming 2,300 calories a day even though his or her energy requirement is 2,000 calories. Person B consumes low-nutrient, high-fat, and added-sugars foods and exceeds his or her total caloric allowance. Person B has no discretionary calories and is consuming excess energy that, over time, will result in undesirable weight gain.

Person A, by consuming nutrient-dense, lower energy dense foods fulfills his essential nutrient needs by consuming only 1,800 calories - less than his total daily energy allowance of 2,000 kcals/day. The remaining 200 calories are discretionary calories. Person B consumes low-nutrient, high-fat and added sugars foods, and exceeds his total caloric allowance. Person B has no discretionary calories, and is consuming an excess energy that, over time, will result in undesirable weight gain.

Back to Part D. Science Base, Section 3. Discretionary Calories