Thursday, March 10, 2011

The 80/20 Principle of Calorie Consumption

If you've ever taken a business class (in my case by force, not by choice) you may remember The Pareto Principle. It states that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. It's also the case that 80% of the world's wealth is held by 20% of the population. And on and on and so forth (are you bored to tears yet?).

The Pareto Principle (we shall call it The 80/20 Principle) can also be applied to healthy eating and nutrition! Is it possible that 80% of your calories come from 20% of the foods that you eat? Yep. Those foods are most likely items that are high in fat such as salad dressing, butter, cheese, ice cream, etc.

I challenge you to write down everything that you eat for one day (make it a typical day). Make note of the calories in the servings you are eating. At the end of the day, add up your total calories. Next, go through and highlight the highest calorie items. I bet that that list is not more than 5-10 items. Do the math! Are 80% of your calories contained in 20% of what you eat? Think about the volume of the foods. Could a few little tweeks to those foods dramatically change your calorie consumption?

photo courtesy of


  1. Hey there!
    I am a new follower and am totally enjoying your site. I have a question that I have been asking all the trainers at my gym, but none of them have any thoughts on the subject. Do you have any thoughts on a body bugg (or fitbit) vs. a heart rate monitors?

  2. From what I know about body buggs I think they are great. I personally have never used one. What is your goal?

  3. Hi! Love your explanation of the 80/20 principle here. It makes a lot of sense to me. My friend told me of your blog and I decided to search it today for a salsa to use up some of my home-grown tomatoes. I grow a lot of edibles and now is the time of year to start using all the tomatoes in various ways. I'm going to try Angie's Avocado Salsa. It looks great! Love your blog, I'll tune in more often!

  4. Hi Lindsay,
    So happy to have found your site. I just started a weight loss blog about my journey to becomeing more fit( After reading over your 80/20 principle I realize that this is exactly what I am shooting for. Now I have a name for it!

    Added you to my Google reader. Looking forward to exploring your site more and trying your recipes, especially for dessert. I have a major sweet tooth.