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Its still calories in vs calories out, isn't it?

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  • Its still calories in vs calories out, isn't it?

    I've read many of the blog posts written by Mr. Sisson and I have to say that I agree with much of what he says. My only gripe is that there seems to be an overall tone here that grains are the devil and as long as you don't eat them, you don't have to worry about calories in vs calories out. When calories are mentioned, it is often followed with a long explanation about "keeping them in context". I am very familiar with the macronutrients and their function within the human body. But calories still matter. If your body has a maintainance level of 2000 calories and you eat 2500 (even if those extra 500 calories come from fat/protein), your body will store it. Mr. Sisson even concedes that "calories still count" in this blog post.

    The reason why I bring this up is because the general notion seems to be here that grains, carbs, and refined sugars will make you fat. But everyone I know who has been successful at fat loss and uncovered a six pack still ate grains and sugars, but they were always in a calorie deficit (either through increased exercise or decreased consumption).

    I actually went 100% primal (nutritionally speaking) from the middle of last august to the end of last December. I had been weight training four times per week and performing HIIT 5-7x per week with the occasional bout of "chronic cardio" (5 mile run on the treadmill). I lost a lot of weight and got into the best shape of my life, but my hunger was out of control at times. Eating all the veggies, fats, and protein was okay during the day but at night I would constantly have cravings for fruit and nuts, sometimes eating in excess of 700 calories from those sources. Again, this goes against the idea that PB-style eating will decrease cravings. What I ultimately found was that I began to overeat on fats (cheeses and nuts especially) and fruits. My weight loss soon came to a standstill.

    A few months later I reintroduced carbs back in my diet but this time I monitored calories more closely. I instantly saw great results and decreased bodyfat within 2 weeks of eating grains but limiting overall calories. So I guess what I'm trying to get at here is that I think you guys are making a big deal out of demonizing grains, but at the end of the day, no matter what "context" you describe, you must create a calorie deficit over a long enough time frame to ensure continued fat loss.

  • #2
    "Calories matter," CICO, cravings, and grains are four different topics.

    We just beat the CICO topic to death.

    Calories is just a different word for unit of energy. I don't think anyone really thinks that humans are immune to natural laws about energy. People just don't understand how they apply very well and will say just about anything.

    Grains are unhealthy regardless of your calorie counting. It's not just about that. It's also about inflammation you may not even know about.

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    • #3
      stallion23, my experience has been the same as yours. Over the past year, I have experimented with macronutrients of high carb/low fat and high fat/low carb, with protein staying between 80g-150g per day. In the end, I have found that a caloric deficit is the main trigger for fat loss. I even found it easier to manage a caloric deficit by eating more carbs rather than less, much like you did. However, I have not reintroduced grains in my diet since I found that I feel much better without them. The carbs I consume are normally sweet potatoes, bananas, berries, a little dairy and nuts.

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      • #4
        You are 100% in that if you burn more calories than you consume then you will essentially lose weight. But, its not that simple. A LOT is going on inside our bodies. Hormones and your metabolism makes a difference. How much you poop out makes a difference. Heat and sweat. How bloated you are. Your stress levels.

        It is virtually impossible today to know how many calories you burn. No one has any idea. And just 20-50 calories a day can make a HUGE difference. We can track how many calories we consume on a daily basis but not how much we burn.

        If you do the same shit all day every day then you can probably have an idea. But, our lives are constantly changing in todays world. Its fast paced. This is why counting calories is usually not the best route to fat loss unless you wish to starve yourself for some odd reason. One of my past co-workers was still eating grains - even white bread. But she admitted that she is constantly hungry. Its the only way she knows of how to lose fat. I don't wish to put anyone else in this position.
        Find me at aToadontheRoad.com. Cheers!

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        • #5
          Guys, why do we keep saying "caloric deficit" is if it wasn't as truism? Of course you need a caloric deficit but people treat energy expenditure as if it's a constant based upon their weight and "general activity level". Online calculators that claim to tell you how many calories you burned in a day are a sham, you can't know that. It changes. Ever be at work and be dragging your feet? Ever be bursting with energy doing the same thing? There ya go. Like has been mentioned before, inflammation ties into that. Low carb diets can backfire bigtime too. People who are overweight typically have trouble burning excess fat using their uncoupling proteins and when you eat a very high fat diet without full functioning of your uncoupling proteins you get a state called lipotoxicity where the cells become insulin resistant and mitochondrial function is inhibited. So perhaps a high fat diet isn't the best thing for long-term fat loss after all? Or maybe it could be all right if people fix their leptin resistance problems at the same time but usually people don't. If they eat lots of nuts and chicken fat I would say they definitely don't http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17343770 (you can google the title and find a free version)

          Ponderin' if "reduced mitochondrial function" could possibly mean anything with regards to calories out. That's just my guess, I could be wrong.
          Last edited by Stabby; 05-27-2011, 06:47 PM.
          Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

          Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

          Comment


          • #6
            Stabby, I agree that the calorie calculators are not exact. They are a decent place to start, at least for me. It gave me an idea of what to look for as far as food choices. I had to make adjustments, and most others will too. Like Primal Toad says, activity plays a big part as well. My opinion is that we burn far fewer calories than we think we burn. The calories burned calculators such as on treadmills are just estimates as well. However, for me, once I found the sweet spot, maintaining my weight or losing weight became much easier. PB eating at that point made even more sense because I was able to eat nutritious and satisfying meals, but still be at a caloric deficit and lose fat. I never felt deprived or starving.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Stabby View Post
              Guys, why do we keep saying "caloric deficit" is if it wasn't as truism? Of course you need a caloric deficit but people treat energy expenditure as if it's a constant based upon their weight and "general activity level". Online calculators that claim to tell you how many calories you burned in a day are a sham, you can't know that. It changes. Ever be at work and be dragging your feet? Ever be bursting with energy doing the same thing? There ya go. Like has been mentioned before, inflammation ties into that. Low carb diets can backfire bigtime too. People who are overweight typically have trouble burning excess fat using their uncoupling proteins and when you eat a very high fat diet without full functioning of your uncoupling proteins you get a state called lipotoxicity where the cells become insulin resistant and mitochondrial function is inhibited. So perhaps a high fat diet isn't the best thing for long-term fat loss after all? Or maybe it could be all right if people fix their leptin resistance problems at the same time but usually people don't. If they eat lots of nuts and chicken fat I would say they definitely don't http://journals.cambridge.org/downlo...f7ea49a2a202a6

              Ponderin' if "reduced mitochondrial function" could possibly mean anything with regards to calories out. That's just my guess, I could be wrong.

              Something to ponder. Tell me if
              That link not working.

              Or maybe as per Don's post LCers deficient in B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C and inerals which are involved in burning body fat. Those, like women who eat lower calories more likely to be deficient unlike men who eat more calories so get more of the nutrients. Maybe why men more successful with weight loss.
              Primal Wisdom: Nutrient density of dietary fats and high fat diets

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              • #8
                Thanks for that link Sue. Interesting reading.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by john_e_turner_ii View Post
                  Stabby, I agree that the calorie calculators are not exact. They are a decent place to start, at least for me. It gave me an idea of what to look for as far as food choices. I had to make adjustments, and most others will too. Like Primal Toad says, activity plays a big part as well. My opinion is that we burn far fewer calories than we think we burn. The calories burned calculators such as on treadmills are just estimates as well. However, for me, once I found the sweet spot, maintaining my weight or losing weight became much easier. PB eating at that point made even more sense because I was able to eat nutritious and satisfying meals, but still be at a caloric deficit and lose fat. I never felt deprived or starving.
                  Of course. I didn't (I hope I didn't) say that if one happens to be able to reduce one's caloric intake without affecting energy levels and quality of life then if they do that they will lose fat faster. Not everyone can eat to the point of falling over and still be thin. People with lots of fat are a very different context than people without.
                  Last edited by Stabby; 05-27-2011, 06:47 PM.
                  Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                  Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I suppose the point about calories is that a simple diet of meat/fish/eggs and vegies/fruits, without the high carb grain-based foods etc, should naturally be lower in calories than one with that extra crap. Somewhere along the line, that's been interpreted by some as 'calories don't matter', where the intention was that you should be able to be in deficit simply without counting and measuring obsessively.

                    It then takes some discipline to not go berzerk with the bacon and fat.
                    Meri bilong mi i belhot!

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                    • #11
                      I'm just wondering how much longer we'll need 4 or 5 new threads every day basically about CICO.

                      The answer is: calories ingested matter, and calories expended is much more complex and variable than we can measure, and type of calorie ingested has downstream effects on calories expended. Can we go and play now?
                      If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                      • #12
                        Yep sue it's all pieces of a puzzle. I edited that post for the link. To do a high fat diet for fat loss it is a good idea to correct leptin signaling problems as best one can prior to going on it and then sustain that effort throughout. I just don't see it happening, especially in the Atkins camp where they will never ever acknowledge that overweight people can't tolerate fats very well. Then again they can't tolerate carbs very well either. Hard to say what's better. I think that reducing inflammation and getting nutrient status up are the two essentials regardless of macronutrients.

                        As for Mark's guidelines, I think they're good. People don't always listen to everything he says in the blog.
                        Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                        Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tfarny View Post
                          The answer is: calories ingested matter, and calories expended is much more complex and variable than we can measure, and type of calorie ingested has downstream effects on calories expended. Can we go and play now?
                          The downstream effects is what people get hung up on.
                          No one can see insulin resistance and inflammation(somewhat) so they shrug it off.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            But OP, maybe you should try Paleo rather than PB. It sounds like you were eating huge amounts of fruit and cheese. These foods, in large quantities, could be considered Neolithic and probably derange the natural regulation system of the human body. Someone (Mark Sisson?) once called a modern apple a "sugar bag," and that seems about right. Cheese, don't even get me started. I could eat a pound of Irish cheddar a day, so I don't buy the stuff.

                            You say the people you know who have lost weight and uncovered a six-pack ate grains. Wow. I've never actually known anyone who did this. Everyone I have ever personally known to "diet" has either dieted down and then gained it all back, or dieted from obese to overweight and stayed there. I've never seen the phenomenon you describe, at all. How many people are you talking about?

                            I have only been at this a couple of months now, so I admit that I'm probably a bit of a true believer, but this is the first time in my life that I've got in progressively better shape without feeling hungry. I do not eat much fruit (just don't let myself buy it, as I could easily inhale six bananas, three tangerines, and an apple) and recently eliminated dairy. I found when I allowed myself dairy that I had begun eating enormous quantities of it. Weird quantities. Mind you, I was still losing weight, but I have some noxious physical reactions to large amounts of dairy (notably, a chronic cough) that I wanted to get rid of, so I stopped consuming half a container of heavy whipping cream and half a big container of Mountain High full fat yogurt.

                            You are of course right that most people who lose weight do in fact eat fewer calories. Of course. But the point that comes up over and over again is that if you try to do that by counting and are simultaneously provoking carb rages by inducing insulin spikes, you will eventually give it up, because in industrialized countries, we are all like the proverbial kid in the candy store. The only way I have found or heard of to kill off the carb rages that you and so many others describe is to stop consuming them. It doesn't sound like you actually tried that, so the only other thing that is going to work for you, I suppose, is counting calories, which of course you are doing. But you might find it more sustainable in the long run to wipe out the fruit and dairy and see what you can accomplish without being able to count above seven or so (presumably Paleolithic man's average ability?).


                            Originally posted by stallion23 View Post
                            ...everyone I know who has been successful at fat loss and uncovered a six pack still ate grains and sugars, but they were always in a calorie deficit (either through increased exercise or decreased consumption).

                            ...at night I would constantly have cravings for fruit and nuts, sometimes eating in excess of 700 calories from those sources. Again, this goes against the idea that PB-style eating will decrease cravings. What I ultimately found was that I began to overeat on fats (cheeses and nuts especially) and fruits. My weight loss soon came to a standstill.

                            A few months later I reintroduced carbs back
                            But you didn't "reintroduce" carbs, did you? If you were getting rages for fruit, you were always consuming plenty of carbs, right? Fructose may not cause an insulin spike, but it seems to keep people in sugar rages. I don't know. That's my experience. Fruit is like a primer for sucrose. It's fine in small doses, but I can go overboard.
                            Last edited by bookstorecowboy; 05-27-2011, 07:09 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sambo View Post
                              I suppose the point about calories is that a simple diet of meat/fish/eggs and vegies/fruits, without the high carb grain-based foods etc, should naturally be lower in calories than one with that extra crap. Somewhere along the line, that's been interpreted by some as 'calories don't matter', where the intention was that you should be able to be in deficit simply without counting and measuring obsessively.

                              It then takes some discipline to not go berzerk with the bacon and fat.
                              I support this message.



                              "This approach works so well that you don't have to count calories" does in fact get confused with "calories don't matter."

                              Then people get hung up on that and just repeat over and over (and over and over) that calories do in fact matter, and that never was the point to begin with!

                              One other thing that just cracks me up is the claim that a bad calculation is OK because it is really just an estimate.

                              Calculations are by definition not estimates.

                              Think about it...

                              Don't use an equal sign unless you mean it!

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