I am tracking my calories and other nutrients as part of an effort to lose a few pounds.

I also have a whole blood donation scheduled today. If you aren't familiar with the process, afterward, they give you sugary and other kinds of food (like cookies or crackers) to help get your blood sugar up, since you just lost a big chunk of it.

Personally, I need a few of these snacks to feel better.

How should I account for these extra calories in my day? Should I ignore them and not record them? Should I record them and just accept I will eat more than usual? I can apply a calorie penalty to my tracking if that seems more reasonable.

I can't exercise them off, you generally aren't supposed to workout after a donation for about 12 hours, no weight lifting for 24.

  • 2
    From a practical standpoint, I'd just ignore it. Since weight loss is a long-term process, a single day with an error isn't a problem. From a theoretical standpoint, however, this is a very interesting question -- how many calories do you lose during a blood donation?
    – Mark
    Dec 19, 2017 at 22:54
  • @Mark And further, how many extra calories do I burn regenerating the lost blood? Not that I'd want to rely on that for any progress, of course. Dec 19, 2017 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


You might as well ignore the calories of food given to you in such a situation:

Burns Calories:
People burn approximately 650 calories per donation of one pint of blood, according to the University of California, San Diego. A donor who regularly donates blood can lose a significant amount of weight, but it should not be thought of as a weight loss plan by any means. To donate blood the American Red Cross requires donors to weigh at least 110 pounds and maintain healthy iron levels in the body.

But aside from citing dodgy evidence (at UCSD this number seems absent from search results, despite being the sole source for every search engine hit giving you concrete numbers on that) it is irrelevant how much you gain or lose on this one occasion since you wil not be allowed to donate often enough to notice any impact on weight gain or loss.

  • Well of course not, but if I'm paying attention to calories, I should keep an eye on everything. It's too easy for me to make excuses if I don't have numbers ... Dec 20, 2017 at 1:01
  • @Azor-Ahai Well, unless they serve fast-food at your location for that purpose it will be quite hard to exceed this number. Where I live the food offered is so 'healthy', I'd sleep off with a very full stomach and thanksgiving turkey drowsiness before reaching it ;) Dec 20, 2017 at 1:05

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