Cutting back on refined carbohydrates may help you reduce calories and lose weight, especially when combined with other weight-loss strategies. Refined carbohydrates are those found in white rice, baked goods and white breads, including hamburger buns. While you may save a few hundred calories removing the bun from your hamburger, this step alone is not likely to lead to significant weight loss.
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Losing weight usually occurs when you eat fewer calories than you burn – 1 pound equals 3,500 calories. You do save calories by eliminating the bun on your hamburger, but only about 120 calories. Assuming you ate a burger every day and your daily calorie intake was equal to your daily burn rate, you could lose more than 12 pounds in a year with this strategy. You are better off following a low-calorie plan that involves trimming calories at all meals – not just ones including a burger.
Low-carbohydrate diets persist as a popular method of losing weight. These diets typically limit your entire day's worth of carbohydrates to just 50 to 150 grams daily. The Institute of Medicine recommends that a balanced 2,000-calorie diet contain between 225 and 300 grams of carbs daily. Eliminating one standard hamburger bun each day only saves you 21 grams of carbohydrates. You would have to cut back on many other sources of carbohydrates during the day to achieve a true low-carb plan that may have an impact on your weight.
The bun on your burger is not the only food that contributes to weight gain. Fries and soda that often accompany your burger are sources of empty calories. You could also save calories and saturated fat by replacing your burger patty with grilled chicken breast or a lean ground turkey patty. Adding physical activity to your day can also help you burn additional calories, accelerating weight loss.
If your hamburger bun is 100 percent whole wheat, it may actually help your weight-loss goals. Whole grains such as whole-wheat breads provide fiber, which can increase feelings of satiation and prevent bloating from constipation. If you remove a whole-wheat bun from your burger, you may leave your meal unsatisfied and end up eating more calories later.