Can I gain more than a pound as a result of eating a pound?
February 23, 2010 2:01 PM Subscribe
Is it possible to gain more than a pound of body weight as a result of eating a pound of food?
posted by crapples to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Help settle a disagreement between me and my sister. She is really into fitness and diet and she insists that a person can gain more than a pound as a result of eating a pound of food. I don't think I can do her argument justice, but basically she says that it is all about calories, not the weight of the food. She says that if she ate a pound of cheesecake, she would gain more than a pound of body weight as a result.
I don't know anything about diet. But my argument is that the laws of physics make this impossible. Specifically the law of conservation of matter suggests to me that while I might gain less than a pound from ingesting a pound of something (e.g., a pound of water will all eventually be excreted in some way resulting in me gaining nothing), I can never gain more than a pound because my body can't create matter or mass out of thin air. To me it seems almost self-evident that if I ate a pound of cheesecake and somehow retained every molecule of it in my body I would gain exactly one pound.
Side note: I understand and concede that eating some things might cause me to retain water or something like that, resulting in extra weight gain. But that weight gain is a result of the water + the food, not the food alone. I still can't see how I can gain more than the weight of the stuff that I put in my mouth.