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Calories - do they really count?

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  • #16

    Yes, it affects hormone levels...

    But where does it say that the BMR is raised by cutting carbs and raising fat?

    And where does it say there's a substantial difference in food caloric value between people?

    The quote you just posted seems to be suggesting that by cutting carbohydrates, alterations in thyroid function cause a decrease in catabolic activity in order to conserve energy? That would mean that the BMR would be lowered, right?

    Btw the link you just posted doesn't contain the quote that was in your message?


    • #17



      1) Research involving dietary manipulations must consider and control the nutrientto-energy ratio of the diets and total caloric intake.

      2) The composition of the diet with respect to the proportion of the major nutrientsprotein, fat, and arbohydrate has a profound and variable effect on the efficiency of food energy use and ultimately on the results of an experiment.

      3) The level of energy intake relative to maintenance can significantly influence energy expenditure and hence the net energy value of diets and foods.
      </blockquote> (PDF)

      Also (and even though I hate quoting myself):

      according to ATZ:

      calories in - metabolic energy use = energy out.

      If energy out = (-ve), fat loss occurs.

      if energy out = (+ve), fat gain occurs.

      This is always correct if we analyze metabolic snapshots.

      If we alter the composition of an isocaloric diet, and then make a before/after comparison, the above equation doesn&#39;t hold, because as the time gap between before/after measurements increases, the change in diet composition will affect the "metabolic energy use" variable.

      Because of the above, it is possible to claim that, after going primal, some of us can have a similar or even higher energy intake than before going primal, and lose fat.

      ATZ seems to assume that the above is not possible, and that diet composition has no significant impact on the "metabolic energy use" variable. Hence our disagreement.

      “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
      "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
      "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull


      • #18

        I have yet to see anything that says the BMR (which means basal metabolic rate, the amount of calories you burn during rest) is raised by cutting carbohydrates and raising fat?

        There&#39;s a graph in your first article that shows that heat production decreases linearly when the percentage of fat in the diet is increased...

        Then there&#39;s another graph in it that shows that resting metabolic rate is enhanced more after a carbohydrate meal than a fat meal?..

        Lets keep it clear that I think lower carb and higher fat is the way to go, but I believe the weight loss benefits are more related to decreased appetite and insulin rather than a higher metabolic rate, which according to the articles you just sited, decreases slightly on a higher fat diet.


        • #19

          So what I am getting from SS is that calories count differently depending on the type of diet one is on? It doesn&#39;t count as much (but still kind of does) when one is on PB and it&#39;s almost everything when on CW diet?

          Then how come I wasn&#39;t fat when I ate conventionally? I ate a cup of noodles everyday for lunch for three years (before I got sick of it). Bread and cereal was a staple for me as well. Yes I was active as a dancer and martial artist, but that wasn&#39;t every day of the week, only two and not at the same time. I guess I never counted my calories at that point of time. But I ate a lot of sugar, pizza and the general stuff teenagers eat. I also LOVED potatoes and brownies. Perhaps it&#39;s because I didn&#39;t eat when I was full? A lot of people seem to have trouble in the overeating department, using food as comfort. But my dad and stepmom, who seemed to eat the same as me, are on the heavier side. My dad stands on his feet all day, but my stepmom doesn&#39;t, so I guess the lack of exercise would do it.


          • #20

            @kongluirong -- Youth. When we&#39;re young, our systems work with fewer flaws. Insulin resistence hasn&#39;t set in (though the foundation is being laid). Often, muscle mass is greater (though it doesn&#39;t have to be that way, as many believe!) which leads to higher metabolism. You make a good point about not overeating, too.

            Nightlife ~ Chronicles of Less Urban Living, Fresh from In the Night Farm ~ Idaho's Primal Farm!

            Latest post: Stop Being Stupid


            • #21

              I&#39;ve eaten unhealthy food and junkfood for the biggest part of my life, mostly high-carb stuff, but I&#39;ve never been overweight.

              The only reason I&#39;m dieting right now is because I&#39;d like to cut my body fat a little bit. I&#39;d say I hover around 12-15%, still looking much leaner than most people year round, but I&#39;d like to get into the 7-8% range and it would be awesome if I could maintain that.

              My reason for eating primally is optimal health. Even though I was never overweight eating junk food, I do feel soooo much better eating primally.


              • #22

                That&#39;s my reason for switching to PB, health starts with what and how you eat and exercise.

                But my point is that all these different people have different reactions/not gaining weight to the amount calories one consumes. Sure some people lose weight by cutting calories. As I understand from what SerialSinner researched, calories react differently with the kind of diet one is on such that some people are actually consuming more calories on the PB and still losing weight.


                • #23

                  Krissi> Are you female? Women have 10-12% essential bodyfat and can&#39;t go below that and be healthy.

                  a reliable source that says there can be a substantial difference in the caloric value of food between different people?

                  Hence the post -

                  The quote I posted is in the linked article. Maybe if you actually read it, you would have noticed the second page. It wasn&#39;t exactly hidden...

                  And I say again - What you eat, how much and when, all affects hormone levels, which is what the study shows (and what the other posters are saying). BMR is not a fixed value. This means two people of the same mass can react quite differently to the same amount of calories from foods.

                  I know you can eat more calories (by raising fat) and lose more body fat, because I have done it. There are plenty of others here finding the same.

                  I also noticed you ignored the question:

                  krissi, have you read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes?

                  If you haven&#39;t, you should. It has a lot of the answers you seek.

                  The "Seven Deadly Sins"

                  • Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . • Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . .• Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
                  • Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . • Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . • Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
                  • Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)


                  • #24

                    Again: this post never says how there&#39;s a substantial difference in the caloric content in the same amount of food between different people. Everyone knows that people with the same body mass can have different metabolism, but that&#39;s not what you said originally.

                    Again: this post never says that BMR is raised by cutting carbs and increasing fat, in fact it seems to suggest the opposite.

                    Yes, different macronutrient composition definitely does have an effect on hormone levels, but does that automatically mean that the metabolic rate is raised? No.

                    Btw I&#39;m male with a mesomorphic body type and quite a lot of muscle mass which I gained in the past before going primal, eating non-primal stuff.

                    To OP: High fat, low-carb is the way to go for weight loss and optimal health, but at the and of the day calories still DO count, calories in vs calories out determines weight lost or weight gained. A lot of people, however, lose a lot of weight on a low-carb diet eating as much as they desire as long as they keep carbs low and don&#39;t need to count calories.

                    That&#39;s most likely (in my opinion) due to decreased appetite and insuline (hormonal effect), not because of a raised BMR, which in my opinion, is nonsense.


                    • #25


                      Have you read"Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes? It explains why your opinions are just that and gives the citations to studies that back up the data that support what others here are saying. It&#39;s a tough read (and I have a science background) but it is well worth the time to read and synthesize the data presented.


                      • #26

                        Any macro-nutrient eaten in excess CAN be stored in adipose tissue. In the end, calories "do count".

                        Although, this is not the same as saying "calories in VS calories out"

                        Our bodies are alot more complicated than that, as we all know.


                        • #27

                          I haven&#39;t read the book but I probably will soon.

                          I know that it&#39;s not just about calories, it does matter if the calories come from carbs or fat.

                          Somebody suggested that the same piece of food varies significantly in caloric content between different people. Then he suggested that cutting carb and raising fat would increase a person&#39;s BMR.

                          I have seen no explanation for neither. A raised BMR would probably indicate higher levels of thyroid hormones. Can anyone post a study that says low-carb or ketogenic diet increase thyroid hormones or increase metabolic rate by some other mechanism? If I&#39;ll see that study I&#39;ll very likely change my opinion, but you haven&#39;t showed it to me.

                          Again: I believe the weight loss benefits are more related to decreased appetite and insulin, which is pretty much common knowledge in the "low-carb community".


                          • #28

                            According to this study, it appears as if the key is high protein and not high fat. This study looks at DIT (explained in the article) instead of BMR. Looks as if some alcohol doesn&#39;t hurt, either

                            So maybe it isn&#39;t cutting carbs and raising fat as much as cutting carbs and raising protein that raises BMR?


                            • #29

                              Sorry, forgot the link:


                              • #30

                                Here&#39;s another suggesting protein raises BMR:

                                Not to mention it is just an interesting article about korean diving women.