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Calories in/Calories out-what do we replace it with?

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  • Calories in/Calories out-what do we replace it with?

    It is safe to say that calories in/calories out is a useless and discredited way of explaining body weight. It neglects the chemistry of fat storage, which according to GCBG, WWGF, and much known research, really depends (for the most part) on insulin, the fat storage hormone. It's not that simple, but that's the main driver.

    Taubes made one example in WWGF of animals that store energy for the winter. It's not like they eat like crazy before the winter. Hormones are key. If nature worked on calories in/calories out, animals and humans would pretty much have to eat every day, at a steady rate, and there would be no way to explain hibernation or survival in times of scarcity.

    i was thinking today that this concept needs to be replaced. Has it been replaced already? If not, what should take its place?

    If one wanted to have a way of calculating what weight is going to be based on what one eats and how much activity they do, it would also need to take into account the chemistry of what they eat, and hormonal/metabolic status of the individual. It seems to get complicated pretty quick.

    What to do?

    In engineering, when engineers want to accurately predict the outcome of something and theory doesn't line up exactly, no problem. Things get reduced as much as possible and then we have fudge factors, called coefficients. Coefficients are usually determined by experiment, and can be just one number, or a complicated table of numbers to help one get the right answer. Anyone who has taken a thermo class would know that I'm talking about!

    If you assume someone's metabolism is 90% of nominal for example, you are using a coefficient of .9.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Originally posted by DFH View Post
    It is safe to say that calories in/calories out is a useless and discredited way of explaining body weight. It neglects the chemistry of fat storage, which according to GCBG, WWGF, and much known research, really depends (for the most part) on insulin, the fat storage hormone. It's not that simple, but that's the main driver.
    Actually, insulin is still pretty much a proximal cause and not the root of the issue: high (fasting) insulin is caused by hepatic insulin resistance, which is caused by the ingestion of toxins like excess fructose and PUFAs. Additionally, PUFAs and hyper-palatable modern foods interfere with satiety and appetite signalling. I'm sure repletion or deficiency of micronutrients also plays a role. It's really too complex to adequately sum up in a nice, short aphorism, but one of the better summaries I've seen is Chris Kresser's: Avoid toxins. Nourish the body. Eat real food.

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    • #3
      Yes…except that you can’t gain weight without calories. And, if you expend more calories over time than you taken in, your mass will be reduced. Therefore, calories have a lot to do with bodyweight.

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      • #4
        This one is a modification of CICO and makes the most sense to me: The Energy Balance Equation | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald
        Karin

        A joyful heart is good medicine

        He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

        Mmmmm. Real food is good.

        My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dboxing View Post
          Yes…except that you can’t gain weight without calories. And, if you expend more calories over time than you taken in, your mass will be reduced. Therefore, calories have a lot to do with bodyweight.
          You, obviously, have had no experience with thyroid disease.

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          • #6
            Interesting. I'm curious to hear how others will respond.

            My 2 cents is that CICO is not a useless or discredited way of thinking. I feel like the concept of CICO is still important in understanding weight loss/gain. What may need to change however, is thinking that CICO is what it's all about.

            There are many factors that influence whether restricting calories will lead to weightloss or not. Sometimes it will (I have always been very successful in dropping a few bodyfat percentages simply by cutting back on calories a bit). Then again, sometimes it will not. A screwed up metabolism can prevent you from losing any fat no matter how much you restrict calories. So can imbalances of various hormones. For many people, healing these underlying causes is necessary in order to lose weight. These people can't focus on CICO, they need to focus on eating foods that will fix their metabolic/hormonal issues.

            My overall view is this:
            Eat healthy/natural foods that allow your body to function properly. When this is the case, and your metabolism works like it should, and leptin/insulin/glucagon/etc do thier jobs without fuss, and your adrenals/thyroid/etc work properly, then a CICO-based approach to weightloss will probably work for you.



            I certainly could be wrong, but this is the way I interpret things.

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            • #7
              Actually, thyroid disease lowers metabolism so that calories out goes down. That's why CICO is a bad model since so many things can affect calories out, but it's still factually true.

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              • #8
                I've read people on this board say before "calories in/calories out is like doing arithmetic when your body is doing calculus." It takes into account that calories matter, but that so many other things do too.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by marcadav View Post
                  You, obviously, have had no experience with thyroid disease.
                  yeah, no kidding!

                  "Having a lot to do with it" is not the same as calories in=calories out. If your thyroid is whack, your calories may need to be reduced by as much as 60% to maintain steady weight, and you will still feel like shit anyway. There is clearly a problem with the math.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by marcadav View Post
                    You, obviously, have had no experience with thyroid disease.
                    Thankfully no, I haven’t, but there are worse things than thyroid disease, so consider me unimpressed with the self-pity. Regardless of any disease, nothing in the universe can gain mass without having mass added.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ciep View Post
                      Interesting. I'm curious to hear how others will respond.

                      My 2 cents is that CICO is not a useless or discredited way of thinking. I feel like the concept of CICO is still important in understanding weight loss/gain. What may need to change however, is thinking that CICO is what it's all about.

                      There are many factors that influence whether restricting calories will lead to weightloss or not. Sometimes it will (I have always been very successful in dropping a few bodyfat percentages simply by cutting back on calories a bit). Then again, sometimes it will not. A screwed up metabolism can prevent you from losing any fat no matter how much you restrict calories. So can imbalances of various hormones. For many people, healing these underlying causes is necessary in order to lose weight. These people can't focus on CICO, they need to focus on eating foods that will fix their metabolic/hormonal issues.

                      My overall view is this:
                      Eat healthy/natural foods that allow your body to function properly. When this is the case, and your metabolism works like it should, and leptin/insulin/glucagon/etc do thier jobs without fuss, and your adrenals/thyroid/etc work properly, then a CICO-based approach to weightloss will probably work for you.

                      I certainly could be wrong, but this is the way I interpret things.
                      I don't think "fix your problems so CICO can work" is the right answer. If the math doesn't work for everyone, it doesn't work. You can't get everyone to fix their problems just so a simple equation can be applied.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dboxing View Post
                        Thankfully no, I haven’t, but there are worse things than thyroid disease, so consider me unimpressed with the self-pity. Regardless of any disease, nothing in the universe can gain mass without having mass added.
                        That is not the issue at all. The issue is that the math doesn't work. No one is saying that eating less makes you gain weight or anything. The math does not explain how weight really works.

                        Anyone can make generalizations, but that is not the topic.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DFH View Post
                          If the math doesn't work for everyone, it doesn't work.
                          How do you know the math doesn't work? What math are you doing exactly? How do you measure "calories out"?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ciep View Post
                            Interesting. I'm curious to hear how others will respond.

                            My 2 cents is that CICO is not a useless or discredited way of thinking. I feel like the concept of CICO is still important in understanding weight loss/gain. What may need to change however, is thinking that CICO is what it's all about.

                            There are many factors that influence whether restricting calories will lead to weightloss or not. Sometimes it will (I have always been very successful in dropping a few bodyfat percentages simply by cutting back on calories a bit). Then again, sometimes it will not. A screwed up metabolism can prevent you from losing any fat no matter how much you restrict calories. So can imbalances of various hormones. For many people, healing these underlying causes is necessary in order to lose weight. These people can't focus on CICO, they need to focus on eating foods that will fix their metabolic/hormonal issues.

                            My overall view is this:
                            Eat healthy/natural foods that allow your body to function properly. When this is the case, and your metabolism works like it should, and leptin/insulin/glucagon/etc do thier jobs without fuss, and your adrenals/thyroid/etc work properly, then a CICO-based approach to weightloss will probably work for you.



                            I certainly could be wrong, but this is the way I interpret things.
                            Exactly.

                            Originally posted by DFH View Post
                            I don't think "fix your problems so CICO can work" is the right answer. If the math doesn't work for everyone, it doesn't work. You can't get everyone to fix their problems just so a simple equation can be applied.
                            The math does work for everyone. Unless you are severely sick (on death's door) you will not excrete significant amounts of caloric matter (sugar, protein, fat) in urine, feces, any other waste product. The only other way for the mass to disappear is to use the energy, and excrete the waste products (carbon dioxide through exhalation, hydrogen and nitrogen through urine). I invite you to tell me where either my facts or my reasoning are incorrect.

                            The complication is that there are many factors that affect calories out. In a healthy metabolism the body isn't defending its fat stores therefore simply dropping calories will allow fat to be metabolized.... and usually if there is excess fat in this case the body will reduce appetite to facilitate this (see, same calories out, less in). In a deranged metabolism the body resists weight loss for any number of reasons (toxicity, malnutrition, pathogens, etc) and will actively reduce the metabolic rate. This is why sufferers of hypothyroid have a lower body temperature, feel sluggish, etc (same calories in, less calories out).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dboxing View Post
                              Thankfully no, I haven’t, but there are worse things than thyroid disease, so consider me unimpressed with the self-pity. Regardless of any disease, nothing in the universe can gain mass without having mass added.
                              I'm well aware there are worse things than thyroid disease as I live with some of those things. And, because of the things I live with, I have never been into self pity.

                              I am someone who knows, from experience, that you can eat 1000 calories a day, put 5-10 miles a day on the treadmill, run after 3 kids (including twins) maintain 1/3 of an acre, etc and still gain weight. My proof-- after getting adequately treated, I now eat at least 1600 calories/day, put less time-at a slower pace-on the treadmill, no longer run after the kids, and the 1/3 acre yard was sold 3 years ago, yet I've lost 60+ pounds.

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