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-   -   Calculating UD/DD Calories (http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/juddd/770711-calculating-ud-dd-calories.html)

Manday 05-06-2012 03:14 PM

Calculating UD/DD Calories
I've seen a lot of posts about having to tweak the calories for UDs and DDs so I went on a search for how the numbers on Dr. Johnson's site are actually calculated. I was interested in which formulas he used and what the margin of error is (considering it's ONLY an estimation). I figured he was most likely to give us this information in the book so that's where I started.

What I found is that he uses the Harris Benedict formula for calculating the RMR and UD calories. The formula is as follows:

RMR for Men = 66 + (6.23 weight in pounds) + (12.7 height in inches) - (6.8 age)

RMR for Women = 655 + (4.35 weight in pounds) + (4.7 height in inches) - (4.7 age)

The result will be multiplied by a factor based on activity:
1.200 = Sedentary (recommended at the beginning)
1.375 = Light activity/exercise
1.550 = Moderate
1.725 = Very Active
1.900 = Extra Active (training for a marathon)
So, to use myself as a guinea pig, my formula would be:

[655 + (4.35*241) + (4.7*63) - (4.7*31)] = 2225

This is the same number I get using the calculator on Dr. Johnson's website.

The most interesting thing I found was the margin of error or deviation in the formula. Dr. Johnson says "there is a standard deviation of 14 percent above and below the number of calories determined by the Harris-Benedict equation. This means that if the equation estimate is 2,000 calories, there is a 95 percent chance the actual number you require may be anywhere from 1,440 to 2,560."

Those inclined to play with the numbers will notice that the range he gives is 28% above and below 2000 for his sample.

Ok, time to think back to my statistics classes (be prepared for the headache). A 95% level of certainty means that there is a 95% chance of falling within 2 standard deviations (14%) of the average (2000), hence the 28% (=2*14%). So, for me, this means my UD calorie requirement could fall anywhere between 1602 and 2848. That is a difference of 1246 calories!

Using this information for DDs, my range would be 320 to 570 (a difference of 250) with an average of 445.

I did all this to point out that, as many have figured out by trial and error, not all of us will lose by following the formula on the website. Some of us will have to tweak quite a bit in order to find our 'sweet spot' and I wanted everyone to see that it is expected and not because there's anything 'wrong' with anyone. I hope this will be useful for those who are having problems or are stuck.

leonak 05-06-2012 04:06 PM


Thanks for the neat info!

Can you explain just what is meant by the exercise thing too - like what is moderate, etc. and it says like 3 times a week. What is considered walking 4 miles a day? Or only 2 miles a day. And how fast do I walk, etc. :dunno:

You are so smart to dig all this info for us - thanks again! :sing:

Kissa 05-06-2012 04:15 PM

This is a brilliant post.

It explains that 'sweet' number that some people discover after a little while.

It also explains why we say JUDDD is so 'forgiving'.

Thank you so much for this Manday, I could never have done the maths!

Manday 05-06-2012 04:28 PM

leonak - Thanks! I was hoping it would be helpful. As for the exercise, I edited my post to include the full language Dr. Johnson used for each activity type. I think the easiest levels to determine are Sedentary and Very/Extra active for obvious reasons. As most of us are probably Sedentary, we use those numbers to begin with. I doubt any of us are training for a marathon (Extra Active) or playing College or Pro footbal (Very Active/Extra); at least those of us with lots of weight left to lose;).

The hardest, and where most of us try to get into, are the Light vs Moderate levels. Since you said you walk, I'll use that. I do think it depends on how fast you walk and the terrain.

If you're strolling 4 miles everyday, chatting it up with friends while you're doing it, I'd say that's Light, even though it's every day. If that stroll is over significantly hilly terrain or on a sandy beach, it might qualify as Moderate if you find yourself having a hard time talking while you're doing it.

If your speed walking and can't talk much, I'd say that's Moderate as well.

I will add a caveat, though, for those who are not as close to goal as others. I recently started using a Bodymedia Fit monitor and have noticed that just because I cannot talk or think I'm working hard (even if my HRM shows my heart rate is in the burn zone), I'm not qualifying as Moderate or Vigorous activity. So, just because those of us who are really unfit think we're doing Light or Moderate activity, does NOT mean we should change our calories yet.

adillenal 05-06-2012 04:42 PM

Thanks for the very informative post about the formula.
Since I have the book, I hand figured my calorie numbers when I started and compared them to the online calculator. Since he stated the margin of error I never got real hung up on a specific UD calorie number and have done fine although by most standards I am losing slowly. But 20 pounds is 20 pounds regardless of fast or slow.

Manday 05-06-2012 04:45 PM

So, apparently I didn't do the edit thing right. Here's the information from Dr. Johnson's book on the activity levels:

1.200 - Sedentary (little or no exercise, you work at a desk job)
1.375 - Lightly active (light exercise or sports 1 to 3 days a week)
1.550 - Moderately active (moderate exercise or sports 3 to 5 days a week)
1.725 - Very active (hard exercise or sports 6 to 7 days a week)
1.900 - Extra active (hard exercise or sports daily, working at a physical job, or training for a marathon or other competitive sport twice a day)

circusgirl 05-06-2012 06:15 PM

I was wondering about this just today, but don't have the math skills to figure it out! THANK YOU for that timely info.

Now I want a thread to see everyone cals as calculated on the site vs. their sweet spots though. I'm curious to see how many people need to adjust for optimal loss.

vilanteira 05-07-2012 12:16 PM

Manday, thank you for researching and calculating this info for us! It's very interesting to me and confirms what I've experienced myself, because my calorie limits are quite a bit different than what they're supposed to be according to the official JUDDD calculator. It makes sense to me because we're all so very different in many ways, even those of us at the same height/weight/age. It took some faith, being stubborn and some trial and error along with careful and diligent daily tracking of weight, calories, what food was eaten, and my monthly cycle for a period of time before I had a clearer picture of my "sweet spot". Also, I've found that the sweet spot changes over time, sometimes for the better.

sophiethecat 05-08-2012 05:46 AM

Sweet! :high5: Manday, thank you! :) I'm no math whiz, so thanks for figuring this out. It does explain the "sweet spot" we often have to find, and shows quite a range we can work with if needed.

Alcestis 05-08-2012 06:07 AM

Fascinating stuff! Thank you for sharing it.

sterlinggirl 05-08-2012 09:48 AM

WOW those were some huge number differances,, i need to find my own number that keep working, i am in the process of changing them for past two days to see what if anything can get my loss rolling again

Seabreezes 05-08-2012 09:55 AM

Thanks so much for taking the time to explain all of that. Dr. J does seem to know what he is talking about and a lot of thought has gone into this WOE. I certainly enjoy it along with all of the rest of the BUDDDS.

Again, thanks..............:)

Sheridan 05-08-2012 10:03 AM

Very interesting! Thank you!

Kissa 05-09-2012 10:40 AM


brewstate 07-01-2012 07:39 AM

I stumbled across this the other day and found it very informative so BUMP.

jem51 07-01-2012 08:28 AM

THIS should be a sticky. It is hugely important!

I was thinking that since the deviation provides such a wide range, why not forget including the exercise element altogether and just adjust calories PRN?
That would eliminate problems that arise re your example.

Whitlin' 07-01-2012 10:35 AM


Dr. J does seem to know what he is talking about and a lot of thought has gone into this WOE.
I totally agree. And thanks so much Manday and also those who bumped!

Using the widely accepted Harris-Benedict Principle, BUT explaining the potential for a range of "best" numbers around the targets was, I believe, the highest and best information Dr. Johnson could have given in his attempt to help as many people as possible. I'm very grateful for this mathematical approach to weight-loss, that there is a clear basis for it in research, and how Dr. Johnson applied it to alternate-day eating.

As far as the exercise component, I've grown to believe it's very necessary over my 3 years on JUDDD. I simply lose better when I adjust my caloric numbers according to the exercise I do. I saw this when I first lost in 2009 as well as now when I'm having to recover from a glitch, plus I maintained more easily when I factored in my exercise. Just a personal opinion here, but experience in cooking for a household of men (and dealing with them when they are hungry after activity) tells me that it would be even more helpful for a man!

I realize the difference in exercise caloric numbers may actually fall within the range Manday is talking about, but I think it's helpful to be aware of them and consider whether they will help us lose/feel better.

amlyjo 07-01-2012 08:33 PM

I can't tell you how glad I am this post was bumped! I was just about to ask about this!!!:high5:

My numbers on the JUDDD website suggest over 2600 for up days and 540 for down days. I intuitively know this is just too much. Not only is it usually difficult for me to eat at that level on an up day, it averages out to over 1500 calories per day, and I already know I don't lose at that level. Regardless of what the RMR says mine is, if I don't drop my cals to at least 1300/day or less, I don't lose. :dunno::stars: Heck, even at that I don't lose. :annoyed:

I have been doing JUDDD for a couple of weeks but not able to stick to 500/day on DDs yet. I lost a bit there but then hit a wall, which is obviously so strange for having only been on plan a couple of weeks. I think it has a lot to do with my thyroid having been unmedicated and now getting the meds. I need a chance to ride that wave for a bit. I am noticing a number of things now that I am on the meds and still ramping up to my correct dosage.

Anyways, I did calculate my RMR at another site that shant be named and it's 2200. "Using the BMR based on the Mifflin - St. Jeor equations". Dr. J calculates I need over 2600. :doh:

I am going to recommit to having a super clean July (maybe we need a Clean in July thread?) and keep my UD number at 2000-2200, and try as hard as I can to keep my DD number at 500. I like the idea of shakes, just not sure I can do that for a whole day. I also plan to do ultra low carb and lots of yummy fat!

Thanks a bunch for this thread!!:hugs:

Joyjoy 07-02-2012 07:21 AM

Manday, this is GREAT. Thanks.

jem51 08-23-2012 10:12 AM

Thought I'd bump this up since there are always questions re exercise, tweaks, etc.

jem51 09-12-2012 11:11 AM

Bumping for the newbies.

Gotta get this in the stickies.....

tobelowcarber 05-23-2013 10:55 AM

Bumping. What a great thread. I wish I read this few months ago. I always feel that my UD and DD calories are not enough, maybe that's why I keep failing? This should be made sticky!

deedee 05-23-2013 11:16 AM


Bumping. What a great thread. I wish I read this few months ago. I always feel that my UD and DD calories are not enough, maybe that's why I keep failing? This should be made sticky!
I found the margin of error numbers fascinating too. Marika I hope upping your calories works for you! Some of us just need to play around with the rules a bit to find our sweet spot.

Librarygirl 05-23-2013 06:15 PM

Upping my DD calories to see if it helps me too. I lost better in the beginning when I was always at 500-600 calories. Seems the general consensus is if you aren't able to deny yourself enough or fast completely on DDs then you just have to deal with not losing. It could be the exact opposite!!!!

Flutter 05-23-2013 06:52 PM

Have my fingers crossed this is the answer for you, LG! (and everyone else having trouble with low DDs!!)

DeltaBigBoy 05-23-2013 07:58 PM

I'm completely lost on this. Lol

Wouldn't 14% below 2000 be 1720 and 14% above be 2280?

1720-2280 (560) would be the 28% range?

Guess its a good thing I don't need complex math.:confused:

Librarygirl 05-23-2013 08:39 PM

I don't really have "trouble" with low DDs. I have trouble fasting completely, but mainly because I don't want to, lol. I don't have the hunger I used to have at all. The last couple of DDs where I went ahead and ate, were not due to simple hunger. However, if eating more on DDs will help me lose faster, plus it's more satisfying to eat a little more, let's face it, then why not? :) Thanks for the support Flutter!

SlowSure 05-24-2013 01:47 AM


Originally Posted by DeltaBigBoy (Post 16437943)
I'm completely lost on this. Lol

Wouldn't 14% below 2000 be 1720 and 14% above be 2280?

1720-2280 (560) would be the 28% range?

A 95% confidence interval (crudely, the likelihood that the real figure falls within the range) involves 2 standard deviations in each direction (above and below the stated figure), so that is 14%x2 in each direction rather than 14%x1 both ways.

jdforshort 05-24-2013 02:18 AM


MagicBeth 05-25-2013 05:32 AM


Originally Posted by tobelowcarber (Post 16437190)
Bumping. What a great thread. I wish I read this few months ago. I always feel that my UD and DD calories are not enough, maybe that's why I keep failing? This should be made sticky!

Thank you for finding this thread. It is very useful to me as I have been "playing with my numbers" this week. I did indeed go over my up day to 3500, the dd at 1200 then up day at 2500 and lost 2 pounds. I lost weight every day, and body fat.

Thank you again,


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