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What happens to extra fat?

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  • #46

    I actually think that both of you are correct. Calories do matter but not all calories are created equally. A calorie from insulin spiking High Fructose Corn Syrup is not equal to a calorie from a lean protein source or quality fat source. A 2,000 calorie HFCS diet is going to make you look a hell of a lot different than a 2,000 calorie low-carb diet even though the calories are exactly equal. So it's obviously not simply a matter of calories, but it's also not simply a matter of food quality.


    • #47

      Now thats an extreme exmple, talk about comparing apples to oranges.

      Consider this. If you had two diet options for a 200lb man:

      Diet A: 2000kcal, 200g Protein, 200g Carbs, ~45g Fat

      Diet B: 2000kcal, 200g Protein, 75g Carbs, 100g Fat

      Both consisting of the calories conming from Primal / Paleo sources which would yeild the biggest fat loss overall? In leiu of the fact most mainstream calorie recommendations fall bewtween 14-16kcal per lb of bodyweight? So for our 200lb man thats bewtween 2800 - 3200kcal to maintain weight.

      Answer: Fat loss would be identical on both diets.

      Heresy I hear you say!

      Why: Calorie intake is identical, protein intake is sufficient to maintain lean body mass in both instances, there is enough fat on both diets to maintain hormonal balance. The diffenrence in carb and fat macros makes no difference.


      • #48

        Thunderdome! Wow!

        I think Conan right above has it right. "Calories do matter but not all calories are created equally."

        Remember that Taube's research wasn't about rich Western obese people trying to lose weight. It is an attempt to answer the riddle of how people on a calorie restricted diet manage to become obese. The latter process takes a minimum of 25-30 years and females are more susceptible than males. Said people typically have a diet high in the refined nasties and generally, starches. All the non-primal foods.

        If someone is consuming 6000 cal/day and 10 grams of carb, something has to happen to those oil and protein calories, and it sure ain't going into the crapper. Conversely, if someone is eating 300 calories a day (Daschau?) of pure carb (75g)they will ultimately lose weight.

        I think some of the arguing going on here has been hypothetical extremes (one ear) vs. real world for us (the other ear.)

        It's this middle ground that leads to thousands of variables and misunderstandings.


        • #49

          What isn't middle gound about the example i've posted above?


          • #50

            I think we have established that excess dietary fat is not expelled from the body. I think we would know if it were, I think it would be pretty obvious if that were the case LOL!

            It's grandma, but you can call me sir.


            • #51

              Seconded on the 'they're both right'. ATZ should pretty much stop talking until he's wrapped his head around the effect of different foods on hormones and metabolic rate, and the non-directionality of the dE = Ein - Eout equation.

              It has been demonstrated in isocaloric studies that fructose makes you gain more weight than glucose, vegetable oil makes you gain more weight than butter or lard, etc ( Omega-6 fats downregulate the effect of thyroid hormone in the body ( If you eat a bunch of carbs and low fat, whenever you're not eating carbs, your still-elevated insulin is starving your cells by keeping fat trapped. This induces a starvation response of lowering basal metabolic rate. Likewise, if you eat fat all the time, and keep insulin low, your cells are going to always have plenty of energy available, which will raise your metabolic rate.

              So, sure, calories do matter. But you're leaving your your implicit assumption that your metabolic rate is an immutable number, like..2378 calories per day or some such. That number is highly elastic, and within certain bounds (around 30-50% down, depending on how bad you want to starve someone, and several hundred percent on the upside).

              The thing is that on a high carbohydrate diet it will tend to modulate your BMR to be less than the calories you take in, and on a high fat diet your BMR will be modulated to be higher than the calories you take in, both to within asymptotic limits (high fat may take you down to an ideal weight range, but not waste you away to death, and high carb may take you up to obese, but not everyone on a high carb diet ends up at can probably be fairly well modeled by a first order differential equation, like Newton's law of cooling).

              And Tarlach, I think you're leaving out the implicit assumption that you're talking about normal/obese individuals when you say if you don't eat carbs, you won't gain fat. If you take someone at 2.5% body fat who just competed in a bodybuilding competition, and feed him 30% protein, 70% fat, zero carbs, he's still going to float back up to a normal body fat percentage. Protein still releases insulin, ASP has an effect, we know this. Prehistoric man would have otherwise had a tough time maintaining a reserve of fat. I'll also posit that an 80% protein, 20% fat diet is going to result in a higher body fat set point than a 20% protein, 80% fat diet, due to the insulin effect of protein. If you're going to do a hypercaloric experiment, you're probably better off just feeding someone 100-150g of protein, and then fat for all the other calories.

              But I'll agree that for obese people, their weight/body fat set point (as determined by food intake) is going to be below their current weight for most normal combinations of just protein and fat.

              I'm sorry if that was a little rambling, but reading the rhetoric thread has been like watching two blind guys duel with pistols so far.


              • #52

                Nick, try tell me who's going to lose most weight in my example above?


                • #53

                  Your diet was incompletely specified as to duration. If you do it for a week, it might be equivalent. If you have them do it for a year or 10 years, I have no doubt the man eating fewer carbs would be leaner. The effects of food on metabolism and hormones have long time constants. Remember that this site is about a lifestyle, not a crash diet.


                  • #54

                    I'm 100% with you Nick.

                    ATZ, I don't think it is as simple as grams of protein, carbs, fat and total calories. What are the sources of the carbohydrates, fat, and protein in your example? If all of the carbohydrates are coming from simple, processed carbs in Diet A and they are coming from low GI, unprocessed carbs in Diet B, than I think you would see a difference in weight loss. Over a prolonged period of time, I think the difference would be even more dramatic.

                    Also, in your diet A, you had carbs as 40% of total calories when in the typical American diet it is closer to 60% of calories which would be 300g of carboyhdrate and a lot less protein. So the example you gave is actually an example of a reduced carbohydrate diet relative to the typical American diet.

                    I think it is pretty obvious that not all calories are equal and also that calories do matter at some point.


                    • #55

                      My experience is somewhat similar to Tarlach's. While I'm not 100% Primal (let alone Paleo), I find myself losing weight while going well above 2000kcal a day and doing close to no exercise.

                      I deep fry everything in lard and add tons of olive oil and bacon to everything, mostly because of the curving effect fat has on my hunger (I tend to eat when I am stressed).

                      I am 5'11', 182 pounds and decently strong. I have lost 8 pounds in the last month. I have no idea what my body fat levels are though. I am not ripped, but I am definitively not chubby. My 34size jeans feel loose on me.

                      Anyway, as Conan and Nick mentioned before, the key issues here would be the source and types of the carbs and fats, the BMR and hormones balance.

                      ATZ: We can get calories from of proteins, but we usually don't. If consumed in excess, we are able to break them down and excrete them. The sole fact that we can get rid of a source of calories without using them destroys your calories in = calories out thesis.

                      I believe that, in the face of "contradicting evidence", it's useful to turn to the big picture as a way to regain perspective.

                      Evolutionary speaking, it makes sense to think that our body is constantly striving for physiological efficiency. In times of abundance, evolving the ability of getting rid of extra nutrients to prevent obesity makes sense (except for carbs, a scarce premium food). It's not hard to see how extra weight can become a survival disadvantage in many scenarios.

                      I think it also makes sense to stop losing weight upon reaching a state of good (but not necessarily perfect) physiological efficiency, hence the troubles of keeping one's body fat too low.

                      "You are blinded by your low carb faith!"

                      Your posts remind me of the typical response I get from people who strongly embrace CW and ask me why I eat the way I do: they become aggressive.

                      I made the analogy before between theism and CW:

                      "You are blinded by your faith in no god!".

                      They sound very similar to me.

                      “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


                      • #56

                        wow this post got really heated since yesterday!

                        ATZ your first post was exactly what I was trying to say. Yes you CAN store fat if you eat high fat/protein diet. Insulin is not the only metabolic means for fat storage. Even if you keep your carbs to zero, if you eat too much consistently you will gain fat.

                        To add another n=1 study to the discussion, I have been following a low carb diet for the last four months, ad lib, and my weight has remained stable even though I have about 30 lbs to lose to reach the medically established "ideal weight" for my height/frame. Without dairy. And I know from trolling on the low carb message boards that there are thousands of other people out there trying to lose weight, even obese people, on a low carb diet and it's not working. So people who say calories don't matter when you're low carb kind of annoy me because obviously sometimes they do. Maybe they don't for YOU, but for some they do.

                        Tarlach, is this "person you know" who ate 5000 calories and lost weight that guy on that 'magic bus' forum (I think it was called that)? Cause I saw that and how the heck does anyone know what he really ate or how much weight he really lost? I didn't see any pics of him... for all we know he could have made the whole thing up!

                        Also, as to the comment on my original post below, please tell me what is the difference between when carb is absent and when insulin is absent? if you eat carb you will have insulin.

                        "I'm sorry but it doesn't make any sense from an evolutionary perspective for the body to not be able to store ANY fat when carbohydrate is not available."

                        no one was saying this. they were saying when no INSULIN was available. fat doesn't create an insulin response, but protein does, which the Inuit eat plenty of.


                        • #57

                          I'm surprised you are having trouble losing weight on low carb. How many grams are you eating each day and from what sources? Are you excercising? Are you cheating often? Have you measured your food and used a tool like FitDay to see how much you are actually eating?


                          • #58

                            "I'm surprised you are having trouble losing weight on low carb. How many grams are you eating each day and from what sources? Are you excercising? Are you cheating often? Have you measured your food and used a tool like FitDay to see how much you are actually eating?"

                            Your last question seems to throw the whole "calories don't count" argument right out the window... either they don't matter as long as my carbs are low (only coming from veggies and nuts) and I should have lost without needing fitday, or they do matter.

                            I've eaten every permutation of carbs from zero for about 5 days to around 50. Lately I've been averaging around 50 grams (subtracting fiber). I won't say I haven't cheated the whole four months, but I went the first two whole months without a cheat. Didn't lose a pound. Then I sort of fell off the wagon for a couple weeks about a month ago, but since have been around 50 grams carb per day.

                            I feel great eating LC, my energy is fine. I have a big appetite. I've been guilty of consuming a lot of nuts (macadamias or walnuts) on occasion but have always stayed within the carb limits. (Nuts are calorie dense for very few carbs... so... calories matter?)

                            The only times I've seen my weight go down is when I track my intake in fitday and consciously reduce it.

                            I don't really want to track food, especially because it's harder with LC since fat has lots of calories and who knows if the fitday calculations are correct for my ribeye steak?

                            Yes I exercise. I was doing turbulence training (3x per week intense weights plus 3x per week HIIT). Now I'm doing crossfit and walking.

                            It's not that I couldn't lose weight. But for me, I guess I'd have to eat fewer calories than I would like to do it.

                            And my case is not unique. Go over to any low carb message board and you will find tons of posts about people who are not losing and end up having to reduce calories.


                            • #59

                              Yeah, I don't believe that calories don't matter. I do believe that food quality is more important. Assuming you have food quality under control, it sounds like you are simply eating too much as evidenced by the fact that you lost weight when you started tracking food quantity. I guess if you want to lose weight you will need to track for a while until you get used to the proper portion sizes and then it will come naturally.


                              • #60

                                Nick - Of course I was talking about normal/overweight people.

                                If you take someone at 2.5% body fat who just competed in a bodybuilding competition, and feed him 30% protein, 70% fat, zero carbs, he's still going to float back up to a normal body fat percentage

                                I 100% agree and I resent the blinded analogy. You are going to put fat on by eating anything at that level.

                                Yes you can put on fat whilst eating high fat and high calorie, but not excess bodyfat. As SerialSinner is finding out, your body finds a happy medium and drops excess bodyfat. I currently sit at 11% bf. I eat the same amount and type of food, but I won't lose any more weight. I'm sure that if I lost more weight by calorie restriction and then returned to my normal diet, I would put weight back on until I got to 11% again.

                                So yes you can gain fat eating fat. I never said you couldn't. I said you can lose weight by calorie restriction, or by eating high fat, low carb, without cutting calories. I preferred to do it the easy way.

                                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)