Week 05 – The Mass Balance

TWEScale2As I briefly mentioned in Week 01 – Introduction, a mass balance equation is used to describe the relationship between something entering a system and something leaving. They are used in endless real world applications by a number of different people including scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to name a few. Mass balance equations can be used to describe whether an object will heat up or cool off depending on the heat entering and leaving the object. They can predict if a reservoir, or a lake, will have enough water to supply a city based on runoff water going into the lake, evaporation, and water demand by the city. They can also predict the amount of a pharmaceutical drug that builds up in your body based on the rate of consumption and excretion.

What other group of people use the mass balance equation??? You guessed it, nutritionists use mass balance to determine whether a person will gain or lose weight. This is science and just like gravity, everyone’s body plays by the same rules. This entire blog is based on the beautifully simple concept that if you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, calories are the only factor in the equation and it doesn’t matter what foods you derive those calories from. Our bodies are truly miraculous in their ability to use and store energy for future use and the way they do that is remarkably predictable using the mass balance concept. Not only are our bodies remarkably predictable they are also extremely consistent from person to person.

A great way to imagine this concept is to think about your body being a water balloon. When you wrap the balloon around a garden hose nozzle and turn the hose on, the balloon gets bigger as it fills up with water right? Now what happens if you poke a small hole in the other side of the balloon? A small amount of water shoots out the hole. The balloon still gets bigger but not as fast because now some of the water is leaving the balloon though the hole that was poked in it. This is the same thing that happens when someone eats more calories than they burn. Calories come in faster through the “garden hose” than they leave through the “poked hole” and the person gets fatter. If you poke a lot more holes in the water balloon so the same amount of water is coming out that is going in, the balloon will stop getting any bigger. Of course you could poke even more holes in the balloon and the rate of water leaving the balloon would exceed the amount entering it and the balloon would actually start getting smaller. .

If you’ve wrapped your head around this concept you’re ready to learn about different types of calories and where you get them from.

Please enjoy the powerful information I am sharing in this blog but remember that I am NOT a nutritionist or a professional. I am simply passionate about the subject. Please consult with your doctor and nutritionist before implementing any diet

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