3

votes

On NYTimes.com, Dr. Jules Hirsch says a calorie is a calorie and macronutrients don't matter for weight loss. Is he right?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 11, 2012 at 11:11 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/health/nutrition/q-and-a-are-high-protein-low-carb-diets-effective.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 18, 2012
at 10:53 PM

Once you get into normal ranges of fat/protein/carbs, you don't see differences in caloric values.

55d3cd3e3e0c16d86bc551c99503fd50

(18)

on July 16, 2012
at 06:46 PM

Matt, you replied to my post with yet another semantic distraction while completely failing to grasp a profoundly simple concept. You're an argumentative joke.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:00 PM

@Talldog SO your body will prioritize reducing muscle mass which has a high metabolic cost during a calorie deficit unless physical stimulus is provided to give your body a reason to keep it. This is regardless of some magical macro load. If one enters a sustained calorie deficit and does not sustain strength training, they will lose muscle mass.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 12, 2012
at 12:55 PM

@Talldog Our body is not a static but dynamic. Your body will go into catabolism when the glycogen levels are at sufficiently low level; not at the point where they are exhausted (because at that point you would have reached muscle failure and be immobilized and yummy food for tigers). You prepose that the body will ALWAYS consume muscle last given other choices. IF this were true, then working out to maintain would be unnecessary if given proper nutrition. BUT we know that the body will reduce muscle mass when not given proper physical stimulus regardless of diet.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 12, 2012
at 11:15 AM

@Talldog, it's not that complicated. Failure is due to differences in time preferences.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 09:26 AM

Besides thats kinda aside from the point Re: carbs and insulin causing hunger. Increasing your hunger level while trying to lose weight is like a bit like reformed sex addict reading through playboy. It doesnt nessasarily, by sheer physics lead to bad choices, but it does increase hunger so why the heck would anyone in that situation want to do it? I mean already someone in a caloric deficit is going through that first phase of hunger, thats pretty annoying, for a few hours a day (volantary pain, yay!). Why would you want to make it worse by eating heavy insulin effecting foods?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 09:11 AM

^ As someone who spent about a week two months ago not eating for a week/fasting I cant say I agree with your analogy. Initially hunger can be overcome with will, absolutely, especially if its mild. But it doesnt stop nagging at you at all, and the more hungry you are the worse it gets. Eventually you become like the people in suvivor, constantly fantasising about food, or a cartoon where everybody turns into chickens, and the pain of intense hunger is quite visceral.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on July 12, 2012
at 07:03 AM

@talldog "That's why 3-4 hours after eating a big pasta lunch you're hungry and thinking about a snack from the candy machine" You don't get fat from just thinking. Hunger is like a whining child, ignoring makes it stop.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on July 12, 2012
at 03:29 AM

Thanks. And yes the TEF does disprove the notion "a calorie is a calorie." In truth a calorie = a calorie +/-30%.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 12, 2012
at 02:16 AM

@ben61820, you missed the point of my comment. The advice you gave--"eat less food and you lose weight"--fails for 95% of people that try it. Why does it fail for 95% of people, and what could they do differently to make it work? The std answer is they lack will power, are gluttons, or just aren't trying hard enough. I don't believe that's true, not when your talking about a 95% failure rate--something else is going on. I'm trying to get past the cliche "just eat less" stage and focus on the underlying cause. When something so simple fails 95% of the time, there is something else going on.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 12, 2012
at 02:07 AM

If I quit shaving, my beard will grow. What does that have to do with what I eat? I'm not arguing that if you stop working out, you'll lose muscle mass. But, that that will happen even if you don't change your diet at all.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:57 AM

I know, from experience, that simply not eating at all is rather painful. You end up like the folks on survivor thinking about food all the time. It would seem like if one were hungry all the time, for a long period, the pain of it would wear you down, even if you were resolute at the start.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 12, 2012
at 01:51 AM

It is lost in the conversion, and yes it is called the Thermic Effect but not because it just emits heat, but because it is a longer process to convert it to ATP, the cellular energy chemical.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:51 AM

"We kept the number of calories constant, always giving them the amount that should keep them at precisely the same weight." - that really doesnt seem all that applicable to people actively losing weight..

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:45 AM

I guess at least, that if one wants data one can extrapolate to the real world, a study should involve people who are actively trying to lose weight, overweight, people who both excercise and are in deficit, and control for a variety of age, sex and other metabolic features like insulin resistance. Then have them vary there macros and see which groups respond best to what macro intakes. I am not really seeing the study this doctor did, on weight maintenance being all that relevant to weight loss, or people activty trying to lose weight.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:41 AM

I think he means, how do the majority of people who fail to do that, actually follow caloric restriction ie how is it mentally acheived? Not sure but thats how I read it.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:32 AM

Btw, OP, fantastic thread you've started. One of the more interesting ones I've been a part of in some time. Nice one.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:24 AM

Step back and re read your question. How do you eat less? We really have crossed the rubicon. You eat less by putting less edible things in your mouth.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:20 AM

She was also drinking very little, so that kind of makes sense..

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:13 AM

Ben, I agree, I personally lose weight if I stop eating, I know that. It appears she didnt, at least for the given time period, her activity level etc. Its not that I dont beleive in calories, _at all_. I just think there must be a few more factors there, at least when u measure by scale.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Actually I was with my freind 24/7. Ive been looking after her, mark.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on July 12, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I thought the 20-30% reduction in effective calories of protein was just lost as heat, which is why it's called the Thermic Effect of Food.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 12:59 AM

No, I saw what she ate personally. And I saw her get on the scales at the doctors office before and after. Perhaps she had water retention.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 12, 2012
at 12:02 AM

Feel free to stop working out and see what happens. :)

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 10:08 PM

Neither example backs up the statement "Your body begins to lose all mass...once a calorie deficit is sustained regardless of diet composition." Quit exercising and your muscles get smaller--moot point as it is not relevant to what you eat. Your body stores about 1000 calories in glycon. 30 mins of running 12 min miles only burns about 500 calories. Unless you are an athlete in training, you will never reach the point that you have depleted your glycon and start metabolizing muscle. Glycon depletion is a moot point for most dieters as they don't exercise at levels that would deplete glycon.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:36 PM

Muscle mass is metabolically expensive to maintain. Your body will prioritize unneeded muscle mass for elimination once a calorie deficit is sustained (or even if it is not). This is why lifting heavy weights is life long goal. Once one stops lifting heavy weights, your body will reduce your muscle mass. Not needed = gets cut. Otherwise people would work out, gain muscle, then never have to work out again once they reach there goals...wait a minute, people have to constantly work out to maintain strength.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:34 PM

You are wrong Talldog. There are many circumstances where your body begins to consume muscle mass for energy before attacking fat stores. Once the glycogen stores in your muscles are depleted, your body begins to burn fat BUT that is a slow process SO your body begins to burn muscle for energy because it is faster. This is why cardio causes catabolism and marathon runners are physically weak. Also, after work outs, it is necessary to consume carbs to restore glycogen instead of your body entering catabolism to do so.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:13 PM

"Your body begins to lose all mass...once a calorie deficit is sustained regardless of diet composition." 100% incorrect. Your body metabolize muscle and organs for energy when (1) there is no other energy source available (like body fat), or (2) your diet doesn't include required proteins, vitamins, or minerals, then it will cannibalize your own body to get them. In my answer, I've explained the circumstance that causes your body to metabolize muscle (too much insulin locks fat in fat cells, leaving muscle as the only energy source). Avoid that & you can lose weight and retain muscle.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 11, 2012
at 09:03 PM

It is perfectly useful in real world weight maintenance for anyone with half a functional brain. You can eat more calories if they are higher quality calories. Sorry you missed the point.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:01 PM

"Exercise self control and don't eat" Would you tell someone with a headache to "exercise self control" instead of taking a pain-killer? Would you tell someone with arthritis to "exercise self control" instead of taking medication to relieve their arthritic pain? Hunger is a type of pain. Telling a dieter to "buck up" is about as effective as telling a migraine sufferer to "buck up." That type of advice is why conventional diets fail 95% of the time--95%. When an approach fails 95% of the time, it's time to abandon it and look in another direction.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:58 PM

The HCG diet claims the HCG hormone messes with your metabolism and/or suppresses hunger. Let's assume that's correct for argument's sake. Your hunger is dialed down artificially, so maybe you can get away with 500 cals without being hungry. Try the 500 Cal Pepsi Diet® without the hormone and see how it goes.

99ac392257e444e014be6d4da6a900e4

(1036)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:40 PM

I guess I'm lost. So eating 2500 calories of table sugar will give you the same result as 2500 calories of protein, carbs, and fat?

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:39 PM

HOW do you eat less food? That's the part always left out (even in your advice). Really, how do you do eat less? The answer is not obvious or simple, because if it was the millions of people who have tried to eat less and failed would not have failed.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:17 PM

Why all this fear of hunger in the last 10,20 years? So silly. Who cares if you're hungry or want to eat while you're overweight. Exercise self control and don't eat. Spending so much energy on ignorin the fact that calories are king and goin on and ok about macro makeups and how one is more satisfying etc is such a first world problem. Any one can stop eating despite how hungry they say they are. Buck up.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Almost no one would lose any weight whatsoever eating 2500 calories/day.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:12 PM

The bottom line is that the notion of "calories in calories out" an then saying "calories are all that matter" aren't the same. Calories count period. Don't believe me? Try it. Stop eating. Then tell me about insulin, your friend's diet, carbs, water weight etc. The amount of food you eat controls how big you are. That doesn't mean other things don't matter. Course not. I lift weights. At times through the year I eat a surplus of calories. I grow. If there is a stimulus for lean mass growth (via resistance training ie) I'll Hopefully grow muscle. If not, my cals go to fat. Still the cals thou.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:11 PM

HorseCrap. Take the so called HCG DIET, 500 CALS a day. ANY AND EVERYONE on this so called diet loses fat, and fast! It DOES NOT MATTER if it is 500cals of PEPSI or 500calls of fat from Grass Fed Baby Lamb born on a thursday. The difference in total 'weight loss' will be slightly different over the short term, long term it evens out. How one FEELs eating one or the other is different, but the end result will be the same when it comes to fat lost.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:05 PM

The water weight issue doesn't matter because as soon as a LCer eats carbs they'll carry that water again. They will at some point in their lives eat carbs again and thus carry water again. May as well keep it.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:02 PM

There is nothing semantically involved about the link at all. It's a very straight forward idea that more food makes one larger and less food makes one smaller. That people don't want to eat less food on a certain diet plan, be it SAD or Atkins or fruitatarians, doesn't change the fact. Don't confuse very simple facts with a person's choice to consume less or more, of anything.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Holy waste of time. You spent all that time writing all that and none of it matters. A certain amount of food in your body will achieve maintanence weight. Simple. Above that will lead to gain and less to loss. It doesn't matter one iota that this or that has some % of itself that goes to cellular repair etc. Useless for real world weight maintenance for someone who doesn't care about threads like this.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:51 PM

Your body begins to lose all mass like a fire sale once a calorie deficit is sustained regardless of diet composition. The main way to maintain lean mass during a 'cut' or calorie deficit is to maintain previous levels of activity. For strength athletes, this means maintaining the strength in their major lifts and consuming adequate protein. Feel free to reduce your activity level and go on a high fat/low carb diet and see how much lean mass you retain. For optimal health, yes macronutrients matter. No one is denying that.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:48 PM

@Matt, aren't all calorie-restrictive diets extreme diets? Eat fewer calories + fight the hunger with discipline = weight loss. That's the SAD diet formula. The focus is on managing calories. It has been is an epic fail (just look at the obesity numbers). I think it's better to manage hunger. Less hunger = eating less; eating less = consuming fewer calories; consuming fewer calories = weight loss. Doing it this way means you lose body fat, but not muscle. Plus, it's sustainable over the long run, because it doesn't require you to be "disciplined" and fight off hunger pains.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:39 PM

Starvation causes water retention as well, masking real weight loss.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:33 PM

"...any macronutrient ratio at the same caloric level produces the same weight loss outcome on average." But, it doesn't produce the same body fat loss on average. SAD calorie-restrictive diets result in the loss of BOTH body fat and muscle. If you are only focused on total body weight, then they are the same. If you are focused on losing body fat while retaining muscle mass, then they are NOT the same.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:23 PM

Typical case of over thinking on your part. Like so many in alternative circles you're making it more complicated than it is. Eat less food and you lose weight. Very simple. No one needs to know any details regarding all your torture memos in order to be healthy: eat less move more. Make the food choices paleo, sure. That's not going to hurt but it's not crucial

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:20 PM

Jamie, if you don't eat food you'll lose weight. Period end of story. Either your friend was under reporting what she ate or she did lose weight and you just don't know.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:17 PM

@Talldog, any extreme diet recommendation fails in the long term. Atkins folks increase their carbs, DASH dieters increase their fat. Extremes are by their definition hard to maintain. But the point is not which diet is easier, it's that any macronutrient ratio at the same caloric level produces the same weight loss outcome on average.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:14 PM

I am on the lean gains IF protocol myself where I carb load on days that work out. So I understand that macronutrients are important to overall health. In the realm of weightloss, a calorie deficit MUST Be created. There are no short cuts.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:12 PM

@Talldog - I understand all of those points and even agree with them. In context of the OP's question as to is a 'calorie is a calorie and macronutrients don’t matter for weight loss. Is he right?' and the article that was referenced, the points you put forward are erroneous. I have seen on this board very bad advice pertaining to this question. 'Eat all the protein and fats/no carbs and ignore calories' advice...yet we consistently have people posting that they are not losing weight and/or tired. It is not a coincidence. Calories matter the MOST when to overall body weight.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:11 PM

The number of people losing weight for sport is miniscule comepared to those who want to look better naked. Losing 8 pounds of water is going to have much less effect on how you look naked as opposed to 8 pounds of fat.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:05 PM

I think this is a distinction many posters are missing. It is also one the doctor pointed out.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:03 PM

Yeah, people poo poo water loss, but I know I feel miles better when I'm not bloated and carrying around an extra 5 pounds of H2O.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:42 PM

@Matt: Some dieters put a lot of emphasis on water retention reduction. 8 pounds can mean a lot, especially in some sports. It's arrogant to generalize your goals to apply to everyone else.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:26 PM

Carl's point is so simple and so true that it's amazing that people get so stubborn about stamping their feet and shouting "A calorie's a calorie!" Weight loss IS about eating fewer calories than you expend, but the process of how you overcome hunger, cravings, psychologically motivated eating and the rest to get to the calorie restricted state shows that the kinds of calories you eat obviously affects your ability to lose weight.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:24 PM

Carl's point is so simple and so true that it's amazing that people get so stubborn about stamping their feet and shouting "A calorie's a calorie!" (sorry Matt). Weight loss IS about eating fewer calories than you expend, but the process of how you overcome hunger, cravings, psychologically motivated eating and the rest to get to the calorie restricted state shows that the kinds of calories you eat obviously affects your ability to lose weight.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:58 PM

@Mark, (1) the study only measured total weight loss, not what percent was body fat & what percent was muscle. High-carb/calorie-restricted diets result in the loss of muscle and fat, hence the skinny-fat/skeletal look associated with them. (2) The study was done on hospital patients--a captive group that couldn't cheat (no matter how hungry they got). Calorie-restricted diets depend on people to be "disciplined" & ignore hunger pains. Which is why they have such a poor record in the real world. Low-carb/high-fat diets suffer from neither problem, which is they are superior in the real world.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:25 PM

It's exceedingly challenging to quantify "calories out". Measuring "calories in" is easy. Measuring the net result (weight/fat gain/loss) is fairly easy. That's another reason why folks tend to dislike CI/CO.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:23 PM

In between calories consumed and weight loss/gain is a huge black box, the human body. In there, there's a bajillion variables and those a bajillion and one interactions between those variables. What a number of studies has shown is that changing the types of calories we input has relatively little effect on the inner workings of the black box, so little that the weight gain/loss output remains essentially constant for different inputs. I'm convinced that micronutrition (vitamins/minerals) probably has a significant effect on the black box workings of the human body.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:16 PM

Using a personal anecdote to refute a scientific study is not logic. Your were not with your friend 24/7 and cannot truly confirm or deny her caloric intake. The scientific study did. So it is illogical of you to use that one example to refute a scientific study.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:10 PM

If your statement that high fat, low carb diets have been shown to be superior is true; then why did the controlled study he referenced show no difference between the 3 different macro loaded diets?

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:05 PM

The topic is on weight loss and the article only discussed the efficacy of different macro loaded diets as it pertained to weight loss. So yes, restricting the conversation to weight loss is appropriate.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:57 PM

Or not, either way, our positions are less opposed than when we began.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:52 PM

I dont personally think after that there was any substatial disagreement. You agree, or admit, that its not 100% of weightloss, that there are _some_ other variables, like metabolism, and I admit (and always would anyway), that calories are a big/large factor in weight gain, maintanence and loss, factoring out hunger, satiation, insulin response/sensitivity, metabolism, excercise/behaviour and some of the bodies less understood metabolistic mysteries. I think that brings us more or less into agreement.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:48 PM

I provided a real world scenario. A consistant rule should apply in every case. If not its a more of a guide or tool, or generalisation. Admitedly "general or overarching rule", seems a bit more accurate than how you first presented it saying "calories is all that matters for weightloss". Clearly theres a bit more nuance to it than that, however useful this rule is, as you admit, by saying "aberrant metabolisms". Basically what ive said has seemingly very slightly softened your position to a point where its IMO more tenable and reasonable.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 11, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Restricting the discussion only to weightloss is inappropriate as the purpose of nutrition is to sustain a healthy, happy life. Purely from a weight loss perspective, anorexia is probably most effective. I'm pretty confident nobody views that as the best course of action.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:33 PM

So we just dont know why this sort of thing happens then?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:32 PM

Consistent logic? Pointing out rare exceptions to overarching rules is hardly consistent logic. Does your friend who ate next to nothing and lost no weight prove calories don't matter? Hardly. Aberrant metabolisms cannot prove what is really in play.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:29 PM

Reduction in BMR via "starvation mode" is a popular theory amongst dieters as to why they stop losing weight. Problem is that the magnitude of BMR reduction is not close to the magnitude of dietary caloric reduction (maybe 10-20%).

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:04 PM

You know, you could always rely on consistant logic, to explain things, rather than rely on those kinds of remarks (two so far already in the comments to my answer). IMO, that would probably make your position seem stronger than using logical fallacies and such, social appropriateness aside.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:56 PM

You could always rely on consistant logic, to explain things, rather than rely on those kind of poor taste remarks. Just a suggestion.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:50 PM

IDK, I think probably their BMR is higher because they are very young, and they probable starve for much much longer than a month. I am just guessing, but either way I am pretty sure not everybody knows someone who has been as sick as my freind. And FYI, more than a little.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:41 PM

Shes also older, another factor in BMR...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:40 PM

BMR, hmm...Apparenly lower food intake into lowers your BMR, according to a quick google. Thats prolly why most people find they have to excercise (raising BMR) in order to lose weight. Thanks for that inspiration, I always wondered why diet alone often fails..

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Pasta (like all carbs) produces the sugar high/crash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_crash). Part of a sugar crash is hunger. That's why 3-4 hours after eating a big pasta lunch you're hungry and thinking about a snack from the candy machine.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:38 PM

She was very very sick, digestively, hence the low food intake. She had a small haitus hernia amongst other things.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:38 PM

You know, I'm always amazed that everybody knows somebody who can eat starvation level calories and not lose an ounce. Why aren't these people in Africa telling starving children how to not die of starvation? (Yes, a little insensitive on my part.)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:36 PM

All very true, but if we restrict our discussion to weight loss, it's just the calories that count. You'll find no disagreement that there are some diets that have higher levels of satiety than others, isocaloric-speaking.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:35 PM

Ive been with her for the last month, so no, thats what she ate.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:31 PM

She has a lower BMR, for some reason. Or she (very likely) underestimates food intake.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:28 PM

I dont mind the idea of calories, i just think its a bit reductive.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:27 PM

fat & protein than... Special K & Lean Cuisine. I might lose the same amount of weight, but one diet would leave me feeling sated and psychologically balanced, and the other would leave me ravenous and MISERABLE.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:26 PM

I've been so dead-set against calories as king when it comes to weight loss, but maybe, just maybe, it's true. But like you say (Matt), that doesn't mean different *macro* makeups in diet don't make a difference in the *process* of that weight loss. 1. Is one losing a lot of lean mass along with body fat? If so, they might be worse off in the end than someone who's mostly losing fat. 2. Which diet is *easier* to actually *stay with?* Even if it makes no difference where calories come from as long as there's a deficit, I know I'd have a helluv'an easier time eating mostly

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:25 PM

But your general rule, didnt apply to my freind, who basically didnt eat for a month, and lost no weight at all.,,. Which makes it more of a "general guide" than a rule. Id be perfectly happy with calling calories something like a working guide, or a working tool, rather than a strict rule, like the newtonian laws of physics. Would you agree with that?

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 11, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Ha, you don't know anything about me. I don't want you thinking I look like I can carry a refrigerator... :) It took me a roundabout route of self experimentation and social observation to reach this point. I still have respect for thermodynamics (my undergrad is physics) but its much easier to eat an appropriate amount if you aren't gorging in Pepsi and cookies. My current take if that your body wants to be healthy if you just give it what it needs.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:18 PM

Well, regarding your last comment, personally I only find I binge on ultra-palatable, high calorie foods. If you cut out sugar, and pizza, and bakery food, sweets, cola etc, on a low carb diet, your probably less likely to eat as much by course, (although u might still feind a little bit on cheese, fruit and nuts). I see what you mean though, the idea that you can eat infinately isnt helpful to weight loss. But then probably the idea that diet alone will do the job fully probably isnt great either.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:17 PM

Will you marry me, treeees? J/K! What I mean was, +1.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:00 PM

Jamie, I’m not saying it “only works” in that case - most diets that “work” involve calorie restriction in one form or another (most people use portion control instead of “counting” calories) – I am saying that if you prevent someone’s ability to eat at will, then calorie restriction will work close to 100% of the time. The secret to real world dieting is finding a way of eating and exercising that works for you personally, but for most fat people "eating all you want because calories don't matter" is not part of the equation.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:00 PM

If "Weight loss, all that matters is calories", explain why id have lost loads, my freind lost nothing.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:55 PM

If I went a month without eating basically anything, id lose weight for sure, even if I was in bed. Her, not even a tiny bit.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:53 PM

Shes been eating that way for a month. BTW she wasnt just bed ridden either, not her normal self, but overly active for someone who probably should have been in bed..

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:53 PM

BTW she wasnt just bed ridden either, not her normal self, but overly active for someone who probably should have been in bed..

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:52 PM

People who don't like calories tend to be the folks who don't see the forest for the trees.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:52 PM

So this freind I have, who had no more than (probably less than) a cup of low fat yogurt, or a vege soup each day (she was sick, GI problems), and didnt lose a single kg. Why not, if all that matters is calories?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:51 PM

Just because there's a "black box" in the middle doesn't mean that input and output doesn't apply. That black box "unknown" varies from person to person. Outcomes maybe different with the same inputs. We're not cookie cutter people. But at the same time, we're all human-shaped cookies, none of us are sheep-shaped or elephant-shaped. General rules do apply.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:50 PM

I guess the low calorie dieter, might be eating more of the low calorie food. But then I know someone who spent a month basically not eating (maybe a cup of low fat yogurt or some vege soup every day), and they lost no weight at all.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:49 PM

I guess the low calorie dieter, might be eating _more_ of the low calorie food. But then I know someone who spent almost a month basically not eating (maybe a cup of low fat yogurt or some vege soup every day), and they lost no weight at all.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:46 PM

Taking issue with the academic definition that "a calorie is a calorie" by proposing a purely academic hypothetical... fail.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Why exactly is weight loss/maintenance on a diet that includes pasta unsustainable?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:44 PM

@Elunah: Transient water weight reduction isn't what dieters diet for. I don't give a flip about my water-weight fluctuations (0-8 pounds on any given day).

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:42 PM

Youd eventually die, thats how youd respond, lol :P

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:42 PM

Don't make it more complicated that it needs to be. Weight loss, all that matters is calories. Maintenance, satiety, etc... other things may matter.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:39 PM

^ I am not sure that logic follows. Because there are examples of people who lose weight on all those diets, doesnt follow that all people can lose weight on all of those diets. Or that they can keep the weight off. I agree that its about what works for you though. I wonder how palatability plays into all this, in the real world. All those diets have some level of reduced palatability, or palatability restriction..

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:35 PM

But doesnt sugar and carbs make you hungry through insulin? And a pepsi would be the worst, because your stomach wouldnt stretch either, so no satiety at all. Insulin is the whole reason smokers are able to stave off eating. It seems a bit like those that want to argue for "a calorie being a calorie", are not talking about real world dieting, only in a lab context. Even if that were true, isnt that just useless to people?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:34 PM

But doesnt sugar and carbs make you hungry through insulin? And a pepsi would be the worst, because your stomach wouldnt stretch either, so no satiety at all. Insulin is the whole reason smokers are able to stave off eating. In seems like those that want to argue for "a calorie being a calorie", are not talking about real world dieting, only in a lab cage context. Isnt that just useless to people? Whats the point of that?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:29 PM

So your saying that caloric restriction only works if you take someones ability to eat at will, ie their volition? In that case, there should be a "trapped on an island diet", lol. I am sure someone would buy into it too. Of course, the people on survivor also have to excercise, and do stuff, they are not just lying in bed.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:17 PM

The ward studies are useful for the people that insist that calories don’t matter. A fair number of people still believe they can eat all the fat they want and still lose weight if they keep their carbs low. If you physically control someone’s calorie intake, they do lose weight. People on Survivor lose weight. It’s just a fact, but someone people will still argue this point. I agree with you about hunger and satiety playing a role in real-world, voluntary dieting, but that wasn’t what Eades and Colpo were mostly arguing about.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:09 PM

A really good example, I am sure every one is somewhat aware of, is the obese person who maintains a low calorie diet strictly and doesnt lose weight, or much weight, or the skinny person who tries to bulk up, and no matter how much they eat cant gain weight.. I am no nutritional expert, but I see people around me following this whole calorie thing, and it just doesnt seem to work as well as people make out. In fact very few people ever change there weight significantly at all. If it was as simple as eating less, or eating more, more people would be successful surely?

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:09 PM

You can lose weight on almost any calorie deficit (see http://bit.ly/twinkiediet), but even then, calories aren't all equal. For instance, some foods promote water retention, retarding weight loss. I'd also rather lose weight AND feel great than lose weight weighing out Twinkies.

C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on July 11, 2012
at 01:04 PM

I agree with Ben. Macro nutrients aren't all that important for weight loss either. Considering there are 80/10/10 raw vegans,VLC, & the typical low fat dieters losing weight on these diets. It's a matter of preference & what works for you.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:03 PM

Except you can lose weight by just focusing on a caloric deficit... knowing all the rules is not necessary. In terms of weight loss, a calorie is a calorie. In terms of health, satiety, etc... maybe not.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:59 PM

Yes, yes, yes. Carl, you ARE the man.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:58 PM

I don't live in a ward. The effect of macro ratios on hunger and satiety (hormones) cannot be ignored for real world outcomes. Dr. Eades has gone over in detail why the ward studies are useless - google his back and forth with Colpo.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:56 PM

ie its just input and output. It ignores what actually happens in the body.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:55 PM

The point is that the number of calories required to maintain bodyweight is not a constant. And it fluctuates in response to different macro ratios. Not by a huge margin, but the variables are not independant. More important, is the hormonal effect on hunger and satiety - protein is king in this regard and allows more success in what is generally a very difficult endeavor.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:55 PM

Its a bit like trying to describe the fuel consumption of a car, its acceleration and torque, gears, engine features by not talking about the engine, but only how much gas your putting in, and how far can drive it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:53 PM

Well not really. At minimum if one is highly insulin resistant then your not going to lose as much weight on a a high carb diet as a low carb one. Many people trying to lose weight are insulin resistant. Additionally, theres genetics. To me it seems like the idea of calories is trying to represent something very complex, with something very simple. I have certainly heard of people for who low carb worked better than caloric restriction. And most people seem to benefit more from excercise + diet than just diet, regardless of any calorie counting.

45ace03a0eff1219943d746cfb1c4197

(3661)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:41 PM

I'm assuming the term "moron" is in reference to the author of the article and not the questioner. Hope I'm right.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:35 PM

it is a vague "science" which is precisely why it's good to stick with basic tenets like this guy is saying: for weight maintenance a calorie is indeed a calorie. That doesn't mean I don't say paleo ideas are solid, it just means that you can lose, maintain, or gain weight with whatever food choices you want - portion is the sole key for weight maintenance. V

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:30 PM

I didn't down vote you but I think your answer is incorrect. Eating pasta long term to maintain one's weight is entirely sustainable. Why would it not be? The key with pasta, as with anything you consume, is simply the portion. The portion controls the amount of energy coming in to your body and thus your body weight, all things being equal. Beyond that of course I'd say the quality of your food matters, but not for weight management.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:28 PM

The thermal effect of food does not matter. There are no ward studies, where the population is controlled, where that has ever demonstrated any difference in weight outcome.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:26 PM

Yes, of course he's right. You can eat the same number of calories from mcD's cheeseburgers, happy grassfinished cow liver, or fermented cod liver oil and, so long as that amount of calories is less than you require to maintain one body weight, you will lose bodyweight. This is very simple, straight forward. It is also not at all at odds with the paleo idea of prefering healthy, whole foods.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:24 PM

there are certain diets that are better for health etc, but at the end of the day you will lose weight on a calorie-deficit diet no matter where those calories are coming from....if you're eating 1200 cals of high carb food, or high fat food, or high protein food, you will still lose weight. Just some combinations of macronutrients are better for hormones in the body etc than others

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 11:37 AM

I agree with your assessment, but please drop emotionally charged epithets like moron.

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21 Answers

20
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on July 11, 2012
at 12:38 PM

This statement is correct: "1 calorie = 1 calorie"
The one is not correct: "1 calorie of egg = 1 calorie of Pepsi"

Saying calories-in-calories-out is like saying, "Winning the Super Bowl is as simple as creating a point deficit in your favor between you and the other team," but not offering any other details about the game of football.

Regarding the liquid diet study, he didn't mention if the subjects experience the same hunger level with the different shakes. Their food was fed to them, so they got the same amount regardless of hunger level. In the real world we have to deal with hunger levels. The article also didn't mention if the nutritional breakdown of the shakes were equal.

Anyone can do simple experiments on themselves involving different macro-ratios. Eat an egg (mostly fat and protein with nutrients) and see how long you can go before you're hungry again. Then drink the equivalent amount of calories of Pepsi as see how it goes.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:26 PM

Carl's point is so simple and so true that it's amazing that people get so stubborn about stamping their feet and shouting "A calorie's a calorie!" Weight loss IS about eating fewer calories than you expend, but the process of how you overcome hunger, cravings, psychologically motivated eating and the rest to get to the calorie restricted state shows that the kinds of calories you eat obviously affects your ability to lose weight.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:59 PM

Yes, yes, yes. Carl, you ARE the man.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:24 PM

Carl's point is so simple and so true that it's amazing that people get so stubborn about stamping their feet and shouting "A calorie's a calorie!" (sorry Matt). Weight loss IS about eating fewer calories than you expend, but the process of how you overcome hunger, cravings, psychologically motivated eating and the rest to get to the calorie restricted state shows that the kinds of calories you eat obviously affects your ability to lose weight.

Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

(13635)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:58 PM

The HCG diet claims the HCG hormone messes with your metabolism and/or suppresses hunger. Let's assume that's correct for argument's sake. Your hunger is dialed down artificially, so maybe you can get away with 500 cals without being hungry. Try the 500 Cal Pepsi Diet® without the hormone and see how it goes.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:03 PM

Except you can lose weight by just focusing on a caloric deficit... knowing all the rules is not necessary. In terms of weight loss, a calorie is a calorie. In terms of health, satiety, etc... maybe not.

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:09 PM

You can lose weight on almost any calorie deficit (see http://bit.ly/twinkiediet), but even then, calories aren't all equal. For instance, some foods promote water retention, retarding weight loss. I'd also rather lose weight AND feel great than lose weight weighing out Twinkies.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:11 PM

The number of people losing weight for sport is miniscule comepared to those who want to look better naked. Losing 8 pounds of water is going to have much less effect on how you look naked as opposed to 8 pounds of fat.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:44 PM

@Elunah: Transient water weight reduction isn't what dieters diet for. I don't give a flip about my water-weight fluctuations (0-8 pounds on any given day).

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:34 PM

But doesnt sugar and carbs make you hungry through insulin? And a pepsi would be the worst, because your stomach wouldnt stretch either, so no satiety at all. Insulin is the whole reason smokers are able to stave off eating. In seems like those that want to argue for "a calorie being a calorie", are not talking about real world dieting, only in a lab cage context. Isnt that just useless to people? Whats the point of that?

F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:42 PM

@Matt: Some dieters put a lot of emphasis on water retention reduction. 8 pounds can mean a lot, especially in some sports. It's arrogant to generalize your goals to apply to everyone else.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:05 PM

The water weight issue doesn't matter because as soon as a LCer eats carbs they'll carry that water again. They will at some point in their lives eat carbs again and thus carry water again. May as well keep it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:35 PM

But doesnt sugar and carbs make you hungry through insulin? And a pepsi would be the worst, because your stomach wouldnt stretch either, so no satiety at all. Insulin is the whole reason smokers are able to stave off eating. It seems a bit like those that want to argue for "a calorie being a calorie", are not talking about real world dieting, only in a lab context. Even if that were true, isnt that just useless to people?

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:03 PM

Yeah, people poo poo water loss, but I know I feel miles better when I'm not bloated and carrying around an extra 5 pounds of H2O.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:11 PM

HorseCrap. Take the so called HCG DIET, 500 CALS a day. ANY AND EVERYONE on this so called diet loses fat, and fast! It DOES NOT MATTER if it is 500cals of PEPSI or 500calls of fat from Grass Fed Baby Lamb born on a thursday. The difference in total 'weight loss' will be slightly different over the short term, long term it evens out. How one FEELs eating one or the other is different, but the end result will be the same when it comes to fat lost.

11
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 11, 2012
at 02:11 PM

To answer "is a calorie a calorie" you first have to look at what a calorie is(technically Kilocalorie). It is the amount of energy required to raise a kg of water by 1 deg C. Now with that, our bodies do not extract energy at the same rate from every kcal. for instance, protein will result in a loss of 20-30% waste in the conversion to a useable form of energy. Carbs generally waste about 10% and fat about 2-3%. Now there is still more to the story. A certain amount of fat and protein that you eat is not even used for energy at all, but instead is used for cellular repair, the manufacturing of enzymes, etc. So if you had an extremely heavy workout, those 25g of whey protein are not going to energy (minus the 23-30%) they are going for muscular repair. Where as carbs are just going to energy. So on a hypothetical 2000 kcal diet, if you restrict fat and protein enough, you lose that metabolic benefit. Now on to the issue of hormones. certain macronutrients do affect most, but not all, people differently, and many will find that reducing the production of insulin by reducing carbs will cause hunger to stabalize. Added to that the satiety caused by a greater increase in protein and it becomes even easier to feel full while reducing carbs. Now back to the real question, the answer is yes and no. To lose weight you must burn more calories than you take in, but the types of calories you eat can have a huge affect on how much you burn AND how much you take in. There is the rub.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Holy waste of time. You spent all that time writing all that and none of it matters. A certain amount of food in your body will achieve maintanence weight. Simple. Above that will lead to gain and less to loss. It doesn't matter one iota that this or that has some % of itself that goes to cellular repair etc. Useless for real world weight maintenance for someone who doesn't care about threads like this.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on July 12, 2012
at 01:03 AM

I thought the 20-30% reduction in effective calories of protein was just lost as heat, which is why it's called the Thermic Effect of Food.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 12, 2012
at 01:51 AM

It is lost in the conversion, and yes it is called the Thermic Effect but not because it just emits heat, but because it is a longer process to convert it to ATP, the cellular energy chemical.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on July 12, 2012
at 03:29 AM

Thanks. And yes the TEF does disprove the notion "a calorie is a calorie." In truth a calorie = a calorie +/-30%.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 11, 2012
at 09:03 PM

It is perfectly useful in real world weight maintenance for anyone with half a functional brain. You can eat more calories if they are higher quality calories. Sorry you missed the point.

9
474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 11, 2012
at 02:09 PM

Have you ever tried to carry a refrigerator?

Is it easier to do so by bear hugging it and lifting or by using a hand truck? In both cases you're lifting the same weight, but in one case its brute force and in another its force intelligently provided.

I'd argue the same is largely true for food. If you consume a caloric deficit, you're going to lose weight (hence the constant reference to thermodynamics). However, this ignores the impact upon your satiety, metabolism, hormones and apetite of a high carb diet. In contrast, if you eat a lower level of carbs, you reach greater satiety and are eating in a manner more consistent with how your body wants to be fed. I'm not a biochemist, but I can tell you its much easier to limit yourself when filling up on eggs than drinking empty calories on Pepsi. I also know that if I eat candy/sugar early in the day, I'm ravenous later on.

Personally, I lost weight via brute force on a "healthy SAD" diet. But, its a thousand times easier to maintain via eggs and meat than bagels and 100 calorie packs.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 11, 2012
at 02:23 PM

Ha, you don't know anything about me. I don't want you thinking I look like I can carry a refrigerator... :) It took me a roundabout route of self experimentation and social observation to reach this point. I still have respect for thermodynamics (my undergrad is physics) but its much easier to eat an appropriate amount if you aren't gorging in Pepsi and cookies. My current take if that your body wants to be healthy if you just give it what it needs.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:17 PM

Will you marry me, treeees? J/K! What I mean was, +1.

8
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Hunger control, not calorie control, is the key to losing weight.

Hunger is a form of torture (it's actually used as a torture technique in the real world), that's why we say we're experiencing . When your body makes you hungry, what it's actually doing is torturing you so you'll eat (because).

1) Carbs create the sugar high/crash cycle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_crash).

One symptom of a sugar crash is hunger. That's why 3 hours after eating a big pasta meal you not only feel lethargic, you're hungry again.

2) Carbs block the fat/leptin/brain feedback loop.

The more fat you carry, the more leptin in your bloodstream. The less fat you carry, the less leptin in your bloodstream.

When there is a lot of leptin in your bloodstream, your brain (1) increases you metabolism, and (2) decreases your hunger. The result: you lose body fat.

When there is little leptin in your bloodstream, your brain (1) decreases you metabolism, and (2) increases your hunger. The result: you add body fat.

High levels of triglycerides in the blood prevent your brain from detecting leptin in the bloodstream (technically, it prevents leptin from crossing the blood/brain barrier). So, even if you are carrying 100 pounds of extra body fat (and your blood is full of leptin), your brain thinks there isn't any leptin in your blood (and that you aren't carrying enough body fat). So what does your brain do? Reduce your metabolism and increase your hunger, which results in you putting on even more body fat.

High carb diets result in high levels of triglycerides in your blood.

3) High carb diets produces the "insulin lag window."

Insulin in your bloodstream does the following:

  • Prevents your fat cells from releasing fat into the bloodstream.
  • Causes your fat cells to start absorbing fat from the bloodstream as quickly as possible.
  • Causes your body's cells to prefer to burn sugar over any other energy source.
  • Causes your liver to step up its efforts to turn sugar into fat (which is immediately absorbed by a fat cell--not burnt by a body cell).

By making fat unavailable to the cells as an energy source, it forces your body's cells to burn sugar which helps clear the bloodstream of excess sugar more quickly. At the end of this process there comes a window where your body has cleared all of the sugar and fat out of your bloodstream, but there is still insulin in your bloodstream preventing your fat cells from releasing fat to be burnt (this, fyi, is the what causes the sugar crash). Despite having eaten a 800 calorie meal just a few hours before, your body doesn't have access to anything it can burn for fuel. So what does your body do? It makes you hungry.

BTW, if you don't eat during this window, your body will start burning muscle cells for energy. This is why people that have lost a lot of weight using calorie restricted diets often end up looking "skinny fat." It's because they haven't just reduced their body fat, they've also lost muscle mass.

4) Calorie restricted diets cause you to go into starvation mode.

When you restrict calories to lose weight, your brain thinks you are starving because of a famine. The result: it lowers your metabolism and increases your hunger.

From a purely theoretical stand point, calories are all that matter. If you don't eat enough calories, you'll lose weight--simple math. But the math of walking from NY to SF also works--just be disciplined and keep walking and you'll get there. But, almost everyone trying this would give up long before they reach SF--it's just too much to ask of the typical human being.

Only focusing on calories requires humans to be "disciplined" and endure hunger pains (a form of torture). Consequently, almost everyone trying this gives up long before they reach their weight goal--it's just too much to ask of the typical human being.

Thinking only in terms of calories causes you to work against your body's natural system for regulating your body fat: the fat/leptin/brain feedback loop. If you take steps to ensure this process works, everything else falls into place and you'll lose body fat--without counting calories and without feeling tortured by hunger pains.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 12, 2012
at 11:15 AM

@Talldog, it's not that complicated. Failure is due to differences in time preferences.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 12, 2012
at 02:16 AM

@ben61820, you missed the point of my comment. The advice you gave--"eat less food and you lose weight"--fails for 95% of people that try it. Why does it fail for 95% of people, and what could they do differently to make it work? The std answer is they lack will power, are gluttons, or just aren't trying hard enough. I don't believe that's true, not when your talking about a 95% failure rate--something else is going on. I'm trying to get past the cliche "just eat less" stage and focus on the underlying cause. When something so simple fails 95% of the time, there is something else going on.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:41 AM

I think he means, how do the majority of people who fail to do that, actually follow caloric restriction ie how is it mentally acheived? Not sure but thats how I read it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:57 AM

I know, from experience, that simply not eating at all is rather painful. You end up like the folks on survivor thinking about food all the time. It would seem like if one were hungry all the time, for a long period, the pain of it would wear you down, even if you were resolute at the start.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:23 PM

Typical case of over thinking on your part. Like so many in alternative circles you're making it more complicated than it is. Eat less food and you lose weight. Very simple. No one needs to know any details regarding all your torture memos in order to be healthy: eat less move more. Make the food choices paleo, sure. That's not going to hurt but it's not crucial

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:24 AM

Step back and re read your question. How do you eat less? We really have crossed the rubicon. You eat less by putting less edible things in your mouth.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:39 PM

HOW do you eat less food? That's the part always left out (even in your advice). Really, how do you do eat less? The answer is not obvious or simple, because if it was the millions of people who have tried to eat less and failed would not have failed.

3
987429c0b9a72cbc7d513687fde78ef6

on July 15, 2012
at 03:08 PM

A calorie is a calorie...in a bomb calirometer.

I don't think a calorie is a calorie in a human being, however. We are hormonally complex creatures. Not black boxes run by simple arithmetic.

The nation will start becoming healthier when crappy scientists like Hirsch retire. It can't come soon enough.

2
C0237fd9e277fcef496d538beda1f35b

(287)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:29 PM

Similar to the study where the guy ate nothing but twinkies and ho hos, limited to a certain amount of total calories, and lost weight.

Sure, it worked, but still not quality food.

2
Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 11, 2012
at 05:12 PM

Yes, he is right, but we are not looking for weight loss only, we are after optimum health

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:05 PM

I think this is a distinction many posters are missing. It is also one the doctor pointed out.

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:05 PM

For the most part, a calories is just a calorie and macronutrients don't matter (for weight loss), but... this guy's just wrong when it comes to there being no better diets than others. Of course there are better diets than others. Comparing isocaloric diets of crap versus highly nutrient dense food, of course there's an advantage for the nutrient dense diet.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:36 PM

All very true, but if we restrict our discussion to weight loss, it's just the calories that count. You'll find no disagreement that there are some diets that have higher levels of satiety than others, isocaloric-speaking.

3b3a449b6705e9ec8b141d0bd07c1a64

(1489)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:24 PM

there are certain diets that are better for health etc, but at the end of the day you will lose weight on a calorie-deficit diet no matter where those calories are coming from....if you're eating 1200 cals of high carb food, or high fat food, or high protein food, you will still lose weight. Just some combinations of macronutrients are better for hormones in the body etc than others

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:27 PM

fat & protein than... Special K & Lean Cuisine. I might lose the same amount of weight, but one diet would leave me feeling sated and psychologically balanced, and the other would leave me ravenous and MISERABLE.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:26 PM

I've been so dead-set against calories as king when it comes to weight loss, but maybe, just maybe, it's true. But like you say (Matt), that doesn't mean different *macro* makeups in diet don't make a difference in the *process* of that weight loss. 1. Is one losing a lot of lean mass along with body fat? If so, they might be worse off in the end than someone who's mostly losing fat. 2. Which diet is *easier* to actually *stay with?* Even if it makes no difference where calories come from as long as there's a deficit, I know I'd have a helluv'an easier time eating mostly

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:05 PM

The topic is on weight loss and the article only discussed the efficacy of different macro loaded diets as it pertained to weight loss. So yes, restricting the conversation to weight loss is appropriate.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 11, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Restricting the discussion only to weightloss is inappropriate as the purpose of nutrition is to sustain a healthy, happy life. Purely from a weight loss perspective, anorexia is probably most effective. I'm pretty confident nobody views that as the best course of action.

2
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 11:43 AM

There are problems with that study. Dr. Guyenet has some interesting analysis of it.

But Dr. Hirsch is just blathering on in terms of conventional wisdom with no regard for biochemistry. He invokes the first law of thermodynamics, which is what everyone does when they want to say a calorie is a calorie. The first law holds, of course, but there are a lot of subtleties. Such as the thermal effect of food or calories excreted that are not burned or uncoupling proteins that increase heat or people that become more active on a high fat diet.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:58 PM

I don't live in a ward. The effect of macro ratios on hunger and satiety (hormones) cannot be ignored for real world outcomes. Dr. Eades has gone over in detail why the ward studies are useless - google his back and forth with Colpo.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:18 PM

Well, regarding your last comment, personally I only find I binge on ultra-palatable, high calorie foods. If you cut out sugar, and pizza, and bakery food, sweets, cola etc, on a low carb diet, your probably less likely to eat as much by course, (although u might still feind a little bit on cheese, fruit and nuts). I see what you mean though, the idea that you can eat infinately isnt helpful to weight loss. But then probably the idea that diet alone will do the job fully probably isnt great either.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:29 PM

So your saying that caloric restriction only works if you take someones ability to eat at will, ie their volition? In that case, there should be a "trapped on an island diet", lol. I am sure someone would buy into it too. Of course, the people on survivor also have to excercise, and do stuff, they are not just lying in bed.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:28 PM

The thermal effect of food does not matter. There are no ward studies, where the population is controlled, where that has ever demonstrated any difference in weight outcome.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:17 PM

The ward studies are useful for the people that insist that calories don’t matter. A fair number of people still believe they can eat all the fat they want and still lose weight if they keep their carbs low. If you physically control someone’s calorie intake, they do lose weight. People on Survivor lose weight. It’s just a fact, but someone people will still argue this point. I agree with you about hunger and satiety playing a role in real-world, voluntary dieting, but that wasn’t what Eades and Colpo were mostly arguing about.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:00 PM

Jamie, I’m not saying it “only works” in that case - most diets that “work” involve calorie restriction in one form or another (most people use portion control instead of “counting” calories) – I am saying that if you prevent someone’s ability to eat at will, then calorie restriction will work close to 100% of the time. The secret to real world dieting is finding a way of eating and exercising that works for you personally, but for most fat people "eating all you want because calories don't matter" is not part of the equation.

1
C8549e3ab0e3d77910e72c87cb5e0918

(435)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:35 PM

In my experience, and opinion, macros can affect your BMR and therefore how many calories you need to maintain or lose.

I am happily eating 1600 calories of meat, veg, healthy oils, and some nuts, and losing weight.

When I ate more carbs (or more protein!) I would need to stay more in the range of 1200 calories to lose weight.

His response to the atkins people burning more calories is that lost water "confused the attempts to measure energy output".

His own study that he mentions, he says nothing about protein, only about varying carbohydrate and fat. If you eat low carbohydrate, but high protein, well you are still getting sugar from converting that protein.

I would love a simple study that proved or disproved that high fat, moderate protein, and low carb affects metabolic rate.

1
3856f56f7086568c11ce1b432651e592

on July 11, 2012
at 08:19 PM

First of all, he references work he did on non-obese subjects in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, he didn't read the JAMA study. One of the important findings was that energy use was higher on some of the diets than others. The LFHC actually burned more calories irrespective of consumption. He says in the article that the authors did not provide that information and speculated differences were due to water weight. However, a simple scan of the article (it's available in its entirety to the public) reveals that they measured it two ways and found both methods agreed. The methods used were Respiratory Quotient (RQ) the ratio of CO2/O2 as well as and Food Quotient(FQ) the expected ratio of CO2/O2 given consumption of specific macronutrients. So in other words, respiration in the subjects tracked to higher energy use. This is exactly what you want if you are trying to lose weight.

1
55d3cd3e3e0c16d86bc551c99503fd50

on July 11, 2012
at 12:57 PM

It's a matter of semantics and it is a distraction. What we are all discussing here are how calories interact with a body. The answer to "whether he's right" is this:

How would your body function if you ate solely the following?

  1. A daily diet of 2,500 calories coming from only protein.
  2. A daily diet of 2,500 calories coming from only carbohydrate.
  3. A daily diet of 2,500 calories coming from only fats.

There's your answer. That useless phrase "A calorie is a calorie" is absolutely untrue, since the body replies to each macronutrient completely differently.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:46 PM

Taking issue with the academic definition that "a calorie is a calorie" by proposing a purely academic hypothetical... fail.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Almost no one would lose any weight whatsoever eating 2500 calories/day.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:02 PM

There is nothing semantically involved about the link at all. It's a very straight forward idea that more food makes one larger and less food makes one smaller. That people don't want to eat less food on a certain diet plan, be it SAD or Atkins or fruitatarians, doesn't change the fact. Don't confuse very simple facts with a person's choice to consume less or more, of anything.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:42 PM

Youd eventually die, thats how youd respond, lol :P

55d3cd3e3e0c16d86bc551c99503fd50

(18)

on July 16, 2012
at 06:46 PM

Matt, you replied to my post with yet another semantic distraction while completely failing to grasp a profoundly simple concept. You're an argumentative joke.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 18, 2012
at 10:53 PM

Once you get into normal ranges of fat/protein/carbs, you don't see differences in caloric values.

0
Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843

on July 18, 2012
at 09:31 PM

Talldog is right on. It is an absolute truth that If I create an insulin free environment in my body, I can lose weight AND NOT BE HUNGRY even though I eat 2000 calories a day. 5% carbs 30% protien 65% fat. If I ate the governments recommended high carb lo fat diet and ate 2000 cal per day I would get FATTER. All calories are not created equally: The energy content of food (calories) matters, but it is less important than the metabolic effect of food on our body. Read Peter Attias Blog entry for the simplest explanation ever.

0
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:19 AM

Okay, this is another answer I thought about. Its not something ive scientifically researched or understand deeply, but its something that is often mentioned here.

If you are "ketogenically adapted" via a low carb paleo diet, then wouldnt it be then easier to burn fat in a caloric deficit, or via excercise?

I mean if your bodies used to using fat as energy, and you have lots of ketones, wouldnt weight loss be practically easier? At least in people actively losing weight via excercise and caloric deficit...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:45 AM

I guess at least, that if one wants data one can extrapolate to the real world, a study should involve people who are actively trying to lose weight, overweight, people who both excercise and are in deficit, and control for a variety of age, sex and other metabolic features like insulin resistance. Then have them vary there macros and see which groups respond best to what macro intakes. I am not really seeing the study this doctor did, on weight maintenance being all that relevant to weight loss, or people activty trying to lose weight.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:51 AM

"We kept the number of calories constant, always giving them the amount that should keep them at precisely the same weight." - that really doesnt seem all that applicable to people actively losing weight..

0
A1a7413b99e03bc77f02d95c4170ea43

on July 11, 2012
at 05:35 PM

Are we talking about just losing a few pounds, or are we trying to get healthy and get our hormones working again to KEEP the weight off? While you may lose weight for a whole on ANY calorie-deficient diet, you're not really addressing the actual PROBLEM. A calorie IS a calorie, technically, but like someone else said, the way your body uses them is completely different, and the EFFICIENCY with which we use them (as Raise Fitness said) varies drastically based on where that calorie comes from.
You do need to watch caloric intake to lose weight, but you don't need to drop down to a 100 calorie diet to do it. Just be smart with how many carbs you're eating and when you're eating them. Control insulin, regain leptin sensitivity, get your hormones in check, and eat real food. That should be the goal, weight loss will come. Getting healthy is what we should aim for.

0
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:24 PM

Well regardless of whether in most people a calorie is a calorie, low carb, high fat diets do lower insulin resistance, and that may be an obstacle for many people with weight loss.

But then again there may be health issues, in some, with both a low fat diet, and an extremely ketogenic diet.

And then theres genetics. It makes no sense to have a single prescriptive diet recommendation to people with genes which are adapted to very different diets, different metabolisms, and different levels of health and excercise. Theres plenty of science to indicate that food metabolism varies a fair bit with genes, from person to person.

Nutrition really is a vague science too. You cant eat nothing but a single macro, or a single micro for a month and see what happens. In terms of science theres too much to control to ever have much certainty, unless you actually know what happens in vivo, and then that may not apply to everyone.

For me, I just stick to what makes sense, and what I feel good with, with an eye on any science, that makes functional sense.

I think if people are trying to lose weight, they should keep there overall health and wellbeing in mind while they do so, rather than only keep weight loss in mind, which may be dangerous. And they should probably examine any diet guru, paleo or mainstream with a skeptical eye ie think for themselves.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:38 PM

You know, I'm always amazed that everybody knows somebody who can eat starvation level calories and not lose an ounce. Why aren't these people in Africa telling starving children how to not die of starvation? (Yes, a little insensitive on my part.)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:57 PM

Or not, either way, our positions are less opposed than when we began.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:56 PM

ie its just input and output. It ignores what actually happens in the body.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:52 PM

People who don't like calories tend to be the folks who don't see the forest for the trees.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:04 PM

You know, you could always rely on consistant logic, to explain things, rather than rely on those kinds of remarks (two so far already in the comments to my answer). IMO, that would probably make your position seem stronger than using logical fallacies and such, social appropriateness aside.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:10 AM

Actually I was with my freind 24/7. Ive been looking after her, mark.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:32 PM

Consistent logic? Pointing out rare exceptions to overarching rules is hardly consistent logic. Does your friend who ate next to nothing and lost no weight prove calories don't matter? Hardly. Aberrant metabolisms cannot prove what is really in play.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:48 PM

I provided a real world scenario. A consistant rule should apply in every case. If not its a more of a guide or tool, or generalisation. Admitedly "general or overarching rule", seems a bit more accurate than how you first presented it saying "calories is all that matters for weightloss". Clearly theres a bit more nuance to it than that, however useful this rule is, as you admit, by saying "aberrant metabolisms". Basically what ive said has seemingly very slightly softened your position to a point where its IMO more tenable and reasonable.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:56 PM

You could always rely on consistant logic, to explain things, rather than rely on those kind of poor taste remarks. Just a suggestion.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:53 PM

Well not really. At minimum if one is highly insulin resistant then your not going to lose as much weight on a a high carb diet as a low carb one. Many people trying to lose weight are insulin resistant. Additionally, theres genetics. To me it seems like the idea of calories is trying to represent something very complex, with something very simple. I have certainly heard of people for who low carb worked better than caloric restriction. And most people seem to benefit more from excercise + diet than just diet, regardless of any calorie counting.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:51 PM

Just because there's a "black box" in the middle doesn't mean that input and output doesn't apply. That black box "unknown" varies from person to person. Outcomes maybe different with the same inputs. We're not cookie cutter people. But at the same time, we're all human-shaped cookies, none of us are sheep-shaped or elephant-shaped. General rules do apply.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:16 PM

Using a personal anecdote to refute a scientific study is not logic. Your were not with your friend 24/7 and cannot truly confirm or deny her caloric intake. The scientific study did. So it is illogical of you to use that one example to refute a scientific study.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:55 PM

Its a bit like trying to describe the fuel consumption of a car, its acceleration and torque, gears, engine features by not talking about the engine, but only how much gas your putting in, and how far can drive it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:25 PM

But your general rule, didnt apply to my freind, who basically didnt eat for a month, and lost no weight at all.,,. Which makes it more of a "general guide" than a rule. Id be perfectly happy with calling calories something like a working guide, or a working tool, rather than a strict rule, like the newtonian laws of physics. Would you agree with that?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:50 PM

I guess the low calorie dieter, might be eating more of the low calorie food. But then I know someone who spent a month basically not eating (maybe a cup of low fat yogurt or some vege soup every day), and they lost no weight at all.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:12 PM

The bottom line is that the notion of "calories in calories out" an then saying "calories are all that matter" aren't the same. Calories count period. Don't believe me? Try it. Stop eating. Then tell me about insulin, your friend's diet, carbs, water weight etc. The amount of food you eat controls how big you are. That doesn't mean other things don't matter. Course not. I lift weights. At times through the year I eat a surplus of calories. I grow. If there is a stimulus for lean mass growth (via resistance training ie) I'll Hopefully grow muscle. If not, my cals go to fat. Still the cals thou.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:35 PM

it is a vague "science" which is precisely why it's good to stick with basic tenets like this guy is saying: for weight maintenance a calorie is indeed a calorie. That doesn't mean I don't say paleo ideas are solid, it just means that you can lose, maintain, or gain weight with whatever food choices you want - portion is the sole key for weight maintenance. V

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:49 PM

I guess the low calorie dieter, might be eating _more_ of the low calorie food. But then I know someone who spent almost a month basically not eating (maybe a cup of low fat yogurt or some vege soup every day), and they lost no weight at all.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:13 AM

Ben, I agree, I personally lose weight if I stop eating, I know that. It appears she didnt, at least for the given time period, her activity level etc. Its not that I dont beleive in calories, _at all_. I just think there must be a few more factors there, at least when u measure by scale.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:50 PM

IDK, I think probably their BMR is higher because they are very young, and they probable starve for much much longer than a month. I am just guessing, but either way I am pretty sure not everybody knows someone who has been as sick as my freind. And FYI, more than a little.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:09 PM

A really good example, I am sure every one is somewhat aware of, is the obese person who maintains a low calorie diet strictly and doesnt lose weight, or much weight, or the skinny person who tries to bulk up, and no matter how much they eat cant gain weight.. I am no nutritional expert, but I see people around me following this whole calorie thing, and it just doesnt seem to work as well as people make out. In fact very few people ever change there weight significantly at all. If it was as simple as eating less, or eating more, more people would be successful surely?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:28 PM

I dont mind the idea of calories, i just think its a bit reductive.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:23 PM

In between calories consumed and weight loss/gain is a huge black box, the human body. In there, there's a bajillion variables and those a bajillion and one interactions between those variables. What a number of studies has shown is that changing the types of calories we input has relatively little effect on the inner workings of the black box, so little that the weight gain/loss output remains essentially constant for different inputs. I'm convinced that micronutrition (vitamins/minerals) probably has a significant effect on the black box workings of the human body.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 11, 2012
at 03:52 PM

I dont personally think after that there was any substatial disagreement. You agree, or admit, that its not 100% of weightloss, that there are _some_ other variables, like metabolism, and I admit (and always would anyway), that calories are a big/large factor in weight gain, maintanence and loss, factoring out hunger, satiation, insulin response/sensitivity, metabolism, excercise/behaviour and some of the bodies less understood metabolistic mysteries. I think that brings us more or less into agreement.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:25 PM

It's exceedingly challenging to quantify "calories out". Measuring "calories in" is easy. Measuring the net result (weight/fat gain/loss) is fairly easy. That's another reason why folks tend to dislike CI/CO.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:39 PM

ANTHONY COLPO IS CLAIMING TO BE ABLE TO DO WHAT THE WORLD'S REPUTABLE , GENUINE SCIENTIST CANNOT DO - maintain body weight in obese persons. HUGE RED FLAG, YOU ASSHOLE.

HIS FAT LOSS BOOK IS FRAUD.

SCIENCE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO GET A MORBIDLY OBESE PERSON TO MAINTAIN.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:26 PM

THE BODY CONTROLS ENEREGY BALANCE INVOLUNTARILY- WE DO NOT YOU FOOLS.

-2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:37 PM

WRONG , BEN, YOU ASSHOLE.

MAINTANENCE IS ABOUT THE BODY FIGHTING BACK AND YOU ARE NOW OVEREATING BY 25% , and you calories burned during exrecise are 20 % LESS.

That is FAR MORE than to be expected by your new size

PEOPLE REGAIN EVEN WHEN THEY MAINTIN THEIR HEALTHFUL BEHVAIOR SYOU ASSHOLE

-2
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on July 11, 2012
at 11:27 AM

Moron, high fat, low carb diets have been shown over and over again to be superior, he is just telling people what they want to hear. In order to make a million dollars as a dietary expert you have to tell people they can eat pasta and lose weight. While it is possible to do so, it is not sustainable in the long run, but then again...if everyone lost weight diet docs would be out of bussiness

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:17 PM

@Talldog, any extreme diet recommendation fails in the long term. Atkins folks increase their carbs, DASH dieters increase their fat. Extremes are by their definition hard to maintain. But the point is not which diet is easier, it's that any macronutrient ratio at the same caloric level produces the same weight loss outcome on average.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on July 11, 2012
at 01:45 PM

Why exactly is weight loss/maintenance on a diet that includes pasta unsustainable?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 11, 2012
at 11:37 AM

I agree with your assessment, but please drop emotionally charged epithets like moron.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:10 PM

If your statement that high fat, low carb diets have been shown to be superior is true; then why did the controlled study he referenced show no difference between the 3 different macro loaded diets?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:30 PM

I didn't down vote you but I think your answer is incorrect. Eating pasta long term to maintain one's weight is entirely sustainable. Why would it not be? The key with pasta, as with anything you consume, is simply the portion. The portion controls the amount of energy coming in to your body and thus your body weight, all things being equal. Beyond that of course I'd say the quality of your food matters, but not for weight management.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Pasta (like all carbs) produces the sugar high/crash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_crash). Part of a sugar crash is hunger. That's why 3-4 hours after eating a big pasta lunch you're hungry and thinking about a snack from the candy machine.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 04:58 PM

@Mark, (1) the study only measured total weight loss, not what percent was body fat & what percent was muscle. High-carb/calorie-restricted diets result in the loss of muscle and fat, hence the skinny-fat/skeletal look associated with them. (2) The study was done on hospital patients--a captive group that couldn't cheat (no matter how hungry they got). Calorie-restricted diets depend on people to be "disciplined" & ignore hunger pains. Which is why they have such a poor record in the real world. Low-carb/high-fat diets suffer from neither problem, which is they are superior in the real world.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:34 PM

You are wrong Talldog. There are many circumstances where your body begins to consume muscle mass for energy before attacking fat stores. Once the glycogen stores in your muscles are depleted, your body begins to burn fat BUT that is a slow process SO your body begins to burn muscle for energy because it is faster. This is why cardio causes catabolism and marathon runners are physically weak. Also, after work outs, it is necessary to consume carbs to restore glycogen instead of your body entering catabolism to do so.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:13 PM

"Your body begins to lose all mass...once a calorie deficit is sustained regardless of diet composition." 100% incorrect. Your body metabolize muscle and organs for energy when (1) there is no other energy source available (like body fat), or (2) your diet doesn't include required proteins, vitamins, or minerals, then it will cannibalize your own body to get them. In my answer, I've explained the circumstance that causes your body to metabolize muscle (too much insulin locks fat in fat cells, leaving muscle as the only energy source). Avoid that & you can lose weight and retain muscle.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:51 PM

Your body begins to lose all mass like a fire sale once a calorie deficit is sustained regardless of diet composition. The main way to maintain lean mass during a 'cut' or calorie deficit is to maintain previous levels of activity. For strength athletes, this means maintaining the strength in their major lifts and consuming adequate protein. Feel free to reduce your activity level and go on a high fat/low carb diet and see how much lean mass you retain. For optimal health, yes macronutrients matter. No one is denying that.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:36 PM

Muscle mass is metabolically expensive to maintain. Your body will prioritize unneeded muscle mass for elimination once a calorie deficit is sustained (or even if it is not). This is why lifting heavy weights is life long goal. Once one stops lifting heavy weights, your body will reduce your muscle mass. Not needed = gets cut. Otherwise people would work out, gain muscle, then never have to work out again once they reach there goals...wait a minute, people have to constantly work out to maintain strength.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 09:11 AM

^ As someone who spent about a week two months ago not eating for a week/fasting I cant say I agree with your analogy. Initially hunger can be overcome with will, absolutely, especially if its mild. But it doesnt stop nagging at you at all, and the more hungry you are the worse it gets. Eventually you become like the people in suvivor, constantly fantasising about food, or a cartoon where everybody turns into chickens, and the pain of intense hunger is quite visceral.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 12, 2012
at 01:00 PM

@Talldog SO your body will prioritize reducing muscle mass which has a high metabolic cost during a calorie deficit unless physical stimulus is provided to give your body a reason to keep it. This is regardless of some magical macro load. If one enters a sustained calorie deficit and does not sustain strength training, they will lose muscle mass.

45ace03a0eff1219943d746cfb1c4197

(3661)

on July 11, 2012
at 12:41 PM

I'm assuming the term "moron" is in reference to the author of the article and not the questioner. Hope I'm right.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 11, 2012
at 08:17 PM

Why all this fear of hunger in the last 10,20 years? So silly. Who cares if you're hungry or want to eat while you're overweight. Exercise self control and don't eat. Spending so much energy on ignorin the fact that calories are king and goin on and ok about macro makeups and how one is more satisfying etc is such a first world problem. Any one can stop eating despite how hungry they say they are. Buck up.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:33 PM

"...any macronutrient ratio at the same caloric level produces the same weight loss outcome on average." But, it doesn't produce the same body fat loss on average. SAD calorie-restrictive diets result in the loss of BOTH body fat and muscle. If you are only focused on total body weight, then they are the same. If you are focused on losing body fat while retaining muscle mass, then they are NOT the same.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:12 PM

@Talldog - I understand all of those points and even agree with them. In context of the OP's question as to is a 'calorie is a calorie and macronutrients don’t matter for weight loss. Is he right?' and the article that was referenced, the points you put forward are erroneous. I have seen on this board very bad advice pertaining to this question. 'Eat all the protein and fats/no carbs and ignore calories' advice...yet we consistently have people posting that they are not losing weight and/or tired. It is not a coincidence. Calories matter the MOST when to overall body weight.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 10:08 PM

Neither example backs up the statement "Your body begins to lose all mass...once a calorie deficit is sustained regardless of diet composition." Quit exercising and your muscles get smaller--moot point as it is not relevant to what you eat. Your body stores about 1000 calories in glycon. 30 mins of running 12 min miles only burns about 500 calories. Unless you are an athlete in training, you will never reach the point that you have depleted your glycon and start metabolizing muscle. Glycon depletion is a moot point for most dieters as they don't exercise at levels that would deplete glycon.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on July 12, 2012
at 07:03 AM

@talldog "That's why 3-4 hours after eating a big pasta lunch you're hungry and thinking about a snack from the candy machine" You don't get fat from just thinking. Hunger is like a whining child, ignoring makes it stop.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 11, 2012
at 06:14 PM

I am on the lean gains IF protocol myself where I carb load on days that work out. So I understand that macronutrients are important to overall health. In the realm of weightloss, a calorie deficit MUST Be created. There are no short cuts.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 12, 2012
at 12:02 AM

Feel free to stop working out and see what happens. :)

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 07:48 PM

@Matt, aren't all calorie-restrictive diets extreme diets? Eat fewer calories + fight the hunger with discipline = weight loss. That's the SAD diet formula. The focus is on managing calories. It has been is an epic fail (just look at the obesity numbers). I think it's better to manage hunger. Less hunger = eating less; eating less = consuming fewer calories; consuming fewer calories = weight loss. Doing it this way means you lose body fat, but not muscle. Plus, it's sustainable over the long run, because it doesn't require you to be "disciplined" and fight off hunger pains.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 11, 2012
at 09:01 PM

"Exercise self control and don't eat" Would you tell someone with a headache to "exercise self control" instead of taking a pain-killer? Would you tell someone with arthritis to "exercise self control" instead of taking medication to relieve their arthritic pain? Hunger is a type of pain. Telling a dieter to "buck up" is about as effective as telling a migraine sufferer to "buck up." That type of advice is why conventional diets fail 95% of the time--95%. When an approach fails 95% of the time, it's time to abandon it and look in another direction.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on July 12, 2012
at 02:07 AM

If I quit shaving, my beard will grow. What does that have to do with what I eat? I'm not arguing that if you stop working out, you'll lose muscle mass. But, that that will happen even if you don't change your diet at all.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 12, 2012
at 09:26 AM

Besides thats kinda aside from the point Re: carbs and insulin causing hunger. Increasing your hunger level while trying to lose weight is like a bit like reformed sex addict reading through playboy. It doesnt nessasarily, by sheer physics lead to bad choices, but it does increase hunger so why the heck would anyone in that situation want to do it? I mean already someone in a caloric deficit is going through that first phase of hunger, thats pretty annoying, for a few hours a day (volantary pain, yay!). Why would you want to make it worse by eating heavy insulin effecting foods?

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 12, 2012
at 12:55 PM

@Talldog Our body is not a static but dynamic. Your body will go into catabolism when the glycogen levels are at sufficiently low level; not at the point where they are exhausted (because at that point you would have reached muscle failure and be immobilized and yummy food for tigers). You prepose that the body will ALWAYS consume muscle last given other choices. IF this were true, then working out to maintain would be unnecessary if given proper nutrition. BUT we know that the body will reduce muscle mass when not given proper physical stimulus regardless of diet.

-3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

You have NO F U C K I N G idea what yuo are talking baout Ben. Which is NO SURPRISE as your hero is the scientifically illiterate Colpo.

BODY WEIGHT REGULATION IS EXTREMELY COMPLEX, YOU LOSER. OBESITY IS NOT THE PASSIVE ACCUMULATION OF CALORIES, YOU DUMB ASSHOLE.

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