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Do calories count? (5000 calorie challenge)

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 30, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Check out Sam Feltham's 21 Day 5,000 Calorie Challenge... as he eats a Paleo diet!

I don't know if he ever says "Paleo" but that's the kind of foods he's eating on this experiment. The high calorie numbers say he should gain weight, but given the diet 10 days in and he's actually lost waist size. Interesting. What do you think? While Paleo, do you find for yourself calories count? (for weight loss or maintenance) Or not?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 11, 2013
at 05:45 PM

Don't forget all the FAT in those foods. I didn't get fat eating suckers and flour, but on an appetizing mixture containing lots of fat.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 11, 2013
at 05:42 PM

+1 for tagging this mindless stupidity. Our ancestors feasted on special occasions for sure. But doing this every day is an exercise in MINDLESS GLUTTONY. Where are the IFer's on this lunacy?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 11, 2013
at 05:38 PM

This is crass. The point of paleo isn't something like a pie-eating contest or Man vs Food. I know the underlying objective is that you can overload on fat and overwhelm your digestive capacity. But there are a lot of people in the world that can't afford to eat unlimited grass fed meat. This is ugly American stuff and I'm voting to close it

1a6ad0d62f779ca50babe92d70ea6a0c

(137)

on May 30, 2013
at 09:45 PM

Interesting! Though I suppose I can concur with this as well. During the past month and a half or so, I've been eating a lot of both red meat and chicken and dropped 15lbs.

Dd74e6399ae697d8603dc9aa74fbafae

(695)

on May 30, 2013
at 09:04 PM

I have consumed upwards of 4000 calories of red meat for periods of weeks with no weight gain, and even quite a bit of fat loss. It is amazing how hard it is to add weight by consuming mostly meat, it's nearly impossible!

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on May 30, 2013
at 05:00 PM

Matt +10, and yes, calories MATTER

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on May 30, 2013
at 02:54 PM

C'mon guys this experiment is amazing and we can learn a lot from it, I think he has been pretty honest and detailed in the methodology, although I also thought on the almonds thing and thought that it might be a flaw, cheese would make it a lot more of a challenge :). Well, we might confirm the supposed low absorption of almonds at least! Let's see what happens in the end. BTW, a low calorie high-carb experiment after he reverts and normalize to "standard" during some time would be awesome to compare.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 30, 2013
at 02:41 PM

Matt is right- you kind of have to assume the researcher is doing everything in his favor to make the study turn out in his favor. Prolly carbed up before to increase glycogen and water stores, making him weigh more. Going low carb, no matter how many calories, will drop significant water weight. Additionally, he should just measure body fat percentage and forget the rest because that's all that people really care about.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on May 30, 2013
at 02:34 PM

GDI, foreveryoung, stop deleting your arguably awesome answers!

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5 Answers

6
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on May 30, 2013
at 02:33 PM

He's eating 3000 calories per day of nuts, many of those calories he'll simply shit out. Almonds for example have been shown to to have somewhere around 30% less bioavailable calories than published data. That's nearly 1000 calorie difference when you consider the insane amount of nuts he's eating; so he's really at a 4000 calorie diet. He's also probably underestimating his BMR and TDEE, being already lean and active, pushing his TDEE up to 3500 calories or so. So his 2100 calorie excess may be low as a mere 500 calorie excess.

Half way through and he's gained a pound or so... well, if he was going from topped off to depleted with respect to glycogen, that could be a significant loss of weight, which is getting masked by the excess calories causing a gain.

I wonder if he'll post what happens when he refeeds with carbs at the end.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on May 30, 2013
at 02:54 PM

C'mon guys this experiment is amazing and we can learn a lot from it, I think he has been pretty honest and detailed in the methodology, although I also thought on the almonds thing and thought that it might be a flaw, cheese would make it a lot more of a challenge :). Well, we might confirm the supposed low absorption of almonds at least! Let's see what happens in the end. BTW, a low calorie high-carb experiment after he reverts and normalize to "standard" during some time would be awesome to compare.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on May 30, 2013
at 02:41 PM

Matt is right- you kind of have to assume the researcher is doing everything in his favor to make the study turn out in his favor. Prolly carbed up before to increase glycogen and water stores, making him weigh more. Going low carb, no matter how many calories, will drop significant water weight. Additionally, he should just measure body fat percentage and forget the rest because that's all that people really care about.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 11, 2013
at 05:42 PM

+1 for tagging this mindless stupidity. Our ancestors feasted on special occasions for sure. But doing this every day is an exercise in MINDLESS GLUTTONY. Where are the IFer's on this lunacy?

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on May 30, 2013
at 05:00 PM

Matt +10, and yes, calories MATTER

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on May 30, 2013
at 02:34 PM

GDI, foreveryoung, stop deleting your arguably awesome answers!

4
B5141236ad924674a96803ee1ccccaf1

(485)

on May 30, 2013
at 03:09 PM

man, i would feel so awful after 1000 cals of walnuts

1
Medium avatar

on May 31, 2013
at 03:00 AM

Seems to me like 5k calories a day was how I got 54% body fat in 2 years.

Maybe I'm just crazy and it was the soda. And the burger buns. And the sugar.

Or maybe it was both. Probably both.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 11, 2013
at 05:45 PM

Don't forget all the FAT in those foods. I didn't get fat eating suckers and flour, but on an appetizing mixture containing lots of fat.

0
1a6ad0d62f779ca50babe92d70ea6a0c

(137)

on May 30, 2013
at 08:42 PM

Calories both do and don't matter; more-so where they are coming from. Like Matt mentioned with almonds.

Since I started paleo (well more primal as I do have dairy), my calorie in-take is roughly the same as it was before paleo. Perhaps it deviates daily +/- 300, but not much more than that. Changing what I've eaten has resulted in losing 15lbs over about 1.5 months.

I substituted my old breakfast of bagels with cream cheese or toast with peanut butter, with heavy cream and berries. Or I may have scrambled eggs with bacon occasionally, or guacamole. Lunches and dinners have also resulted in cutting out grainy foods.

To me it's about balance, and eating 3000 calories a day in nuts is anything but balance. I cannot imagine anyone gaining weight eating that much nuts. If someone were to eat.. say 3000-4000 calories in red meat per day, I'm pretty sure there would be a lot more weight gain than there would be with the equal amount of calories in nuts. I'm not about to test that though lol

1a6ad0d62f779ca50babe92d70ea6a0c

(137)

on May 30, 2013
at 09:45 PM

Interesting! Though I suppose I can concur with this as well. During the past month and a half or so, I've been eating a lot of both red meat and chicken and dropped 15lbs.

Dd74e6399ae697d8603dc9aa74fbafae

(695)

on May 30, 2013
at 09:04 PM

I have consumed upwards of 4000 calories of red meat for periods of weeks with no weight gain, and even quite a bit of fat loss. It is amazing how hard it is to add weight by consuming mostly meat, it's nearly impossible!

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on May 30, 2013
at 02:19 PM

He lost waist size because he is getting leaner. You can easily get leaner in a calorie surplus provided you have a healthy metabolism.

People seem to not understand that 1lb of muscle is more dense than 1lb of fat. So, two people at the same bodyweight but one is more muscular, means that person occupies less space, looks smaller in clothes, has a slighter silhouette.

So, he's probably shifting his body composition- losing fat and gaining muscle mass. In my opinion it's easier to alter one's body composition with a calorie surplus than it is with a calorie deficit. that's just my experience. Why do you think fat people have such a hard time looking good naked? They can lose weight, but it's certainly more rare for them to lose weight and look good with their shirt off. They often cut carbs too much, which hampers recovery. Muscles are catabolized for energy, cortisol sky rockets, and fat is retained or even stored in the midsection. Leptin is reduced so energy is hoarded. They end up with pencil necks, sunken faces, bird legs, and dainty wrists with all of their weight concentrated around their center of gravity.

As for your other questions, calories do still count to some extent. BUt what matters more is food quality, regular restistance exercise, and proper macros/nutrient timing. IF you have all those in order, it's quite hard to add any appreciable amount of body fat, and your body will preferentially create muscle with calorie surpluses and liberate the energy more efficiently (the opposite of what happens in ketosis).

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