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Does excess fat or protein on a low carb diet lead to weight gain?

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  • Does excess fat or protein on a low carb diet lead to weight gain?

    This is just a hypothetical question that I'm asking purely out of curiosity: If you eat very low carb for a while and then you stop losing weight or you start gaining weight, would that be due to excess protein or excess fat (given that all the food is from healthy sources)? I've heard that if you eat too much protein it gets metabolised the same way as carbohydrates and increases insulin. But then there's also the theory that if you eat lots of fat it turns into fat because of its high calorie content. I'm not sure what to believe about calories...

  • #2
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    It’s the Calories, not the Carbs! | Mark's Daily Apple

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    There is a huge difference between talking about how to do something and getting it fucking done.

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    • #3
      Interesting question.......I am also keen to hear opinions on this one as I was previously on a low carb, high protein, low - no fat diet and ended up losing nothing!! I stayed the same weight for about 3 months!! Personally I think it was because the calories were too low and there was no fat to be seen.........

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      • #4
        Cool find! June 19, 2007 is when this was apparently posted. This post predates the publication of Good Calories, Bad Calories, for one. Obviously Mark's views have evolved significantly over the past 5 years. It's a good reminder to all of us to remember how much we don't know.
        The Champagne of Beards

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        • #5
          Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
          Cool find! June 19, 2007 is when this was apparently posted. This post predates the publication of Good Calories, Bad Calories, for one. Obviously Mark's views have evolved significantly over the past 5 years. It's a good reminder to all of us to remember how much we don't know.
          I can tell you what I do know. I have been obese. I am now <10% body fat and have maintained it for the past 8 months due to what I eat, how much I eat, and my desire to be lean, strong and healthy. I have learned and continue to educate myself on how to stay lean and healthy longterm. I don't need to know everything to be healthy and happy. Everything about health, or anything, will not be known in my lifetime or, I suspect, in any other lifetime.

          I also know that through all my experience in dieting, exercise, calorie restriction, fasting, macro manipulation, fat loss, muscle gain, etc, etc.... is that the amount of energy I eat versus the amount of energy I expend will determine whether I lose, maintain, or gain body fat over time. Calorie is just the word for the unit of measure of this energy. This, in my opinion is the most important factor in people being obese - more important than all other factors combined - accepting that what they eat and how much they eat versus their needs/goals is paramount above everything else. For people to be constantly and incessantly debating, arguing, and discussing if energy balance matters... is just fat people abdicating their responsibilities.

          Do you know why I'm not fat and unhealthy like Taubes' rats? Because I decided I didn't want to be and I figured out how not to be.

          -Voyageur

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          Last edited by Voyageur; 04-20-2012, 05:48 AM.
          There is a huge difference between talking about how to do something and getting it fucking done.

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          • #6
            At very high calories, think 3500+ you may have to begin to add more fat and limit your protein intake if your goals are to remain ketotic. This is really only an issue for athletes attempting to stay in ketosis... see Peter Attia | The War on Insulin | Peter Attia, M.D., explains why everything you think you know about nutrition is wrong. Eating fat does not make you fat. for some on this. In normal calorie ranges this is not an issue if you just eat fatty meat (like 60%+ of calories will be fat). Yes excess protein can be converted to glucose. Yes obscene amounts of fat far above normal could prohibit weight loss. But, what low carb does for appetite suppression and satiety usually makes such things non issues.

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            • #7
              Calories are the over riding factor in weight loss or gain.
              If you keep the protein content stable, there's no metabolic advantage to either low carb or high carb regarding fat gain or fat loss. Effects of isoenergetic overfeeding of either carb... [Br J Nutr. 2000] - PubMed - NCBI
              I've gained subcutaneous fat on a zero carb diet and I've also lost weight on a zero carb diet, same with high carb. What's most important is eating real food that keeps you nourished and satiated enough to create a calorie deficit. Protein, fat, fiber, low-gi carbs are the best foods for this.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Forgotmylastusername View Post
                Calories are the over riding factor in weight loss or gain.
                If you keep the protein content stable, there's no metabolic advantage to either low carb or high carb regarding fat gain or fat loss. Effects of isoenergetic overfeeding of either carb... [Br J Nutr. 2000] - PubMed - NCBI
                +1. The OP's question is tautological: Does excess fat or protein on a low carb diet lead to weight gain?

                Where else is it going to go?
                F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

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                • #9
                  It definitely does. I will say this, being low carb, low fat and high protein for a long time is VERY dangerous. Mal De Caribou, aka Rabbit Starvation, is a very dangerous thing. Guessing exactly how many calories you need every day is completely impossible in the first place. Counting every calorie is living life like a rat on a wheel. The only times I pay attention to calories are the days when I know I'm going to have a beer or two, and I always get some protein like salmon in first. One of the points of avoiding sugar and having stable blood sugar is to allow your body to regulate itself. If I added up my total daily calories, I probably swing as large of a range as a 600 calorie per day difference during the course of a week from Day 1 to Day 7. Am I sub 10%? No, but I do eat a hell of a lot less living a paleo lifestyle than I did eating any other way.

                  I see nothing wrong with Taubes book. Maybe I missed something? The notion that a calorie is not JUST a calorie is very true. Eating 2000 calories of clean food a day for a month will treat your body differently than 2000 calories of Choco Taco's a day for a month will. Any notion that total calories don't count is moronic. The notion that stable blood sugar leads a psychologically and physiologically normal person to properly self-regulate their caloric intake through satiety is completely valid. When I say "normal" I mean average Joe, not someone overweight and not someone that is a gym rat. Hell, I need to loose roughly 30lbs of BF @ 6Ft and around 225lbs and sometimes I have days where the evening hits and I'm starving, and then realize that all I've had to eat that day was a cup of yogurt with a few blueberries and some nuts. That's NOT good (on a regular basis). Other days I'll hit the gym hard and could easily eat an additional 2,000 calories, that's not good either.
                  Last edited by Catharsis; 04-20-2012, 06:41 AM.

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                  • #10
                    If you order this and toss the bun, you're still eating to much!!

                    Thousand-piece bacon Whopper - ktla.com

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                    • #11
                      Very helpful info that I needed this morning. Thank you all for posting and sharing.
                      65lbs gone and counting!!

                      Fat 2 Fit - One Woman's Journey

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                      • #12
                        It certainly can. If you have reprogrammed your body to use fat for energy instead of just storing it your hunger should be more accurate to reflect what you need to eat for energy. It is when you have insulin resistance from too many carbs/sugars that you can't trust your hunger and over eating is more likely because your body is storing most of your food as fat instead of using it for fuel because your cells cannot utilize the glucose fast enough.

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                        • #13
                          "EXCESS" is the key word here--whether it's carbs, protein, or fat, the body stores excess intake as fat.

                          Taubes idea that we can't store fat in the absence of insulin is correct, except that anytime we eat, the body releases insulin for digestion, so it's always present, and we are always capable of storing fat.

                          The key to effective weight management is to learn one's maintenance level and consume healthy, whole foods accordingly.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for all the replies. Sorry, I don't think I worded my question right though. I meant that hypothetically if someone was eating mainly healthy fats and proteins and very low carbs and they reached a plateau or started to put on weight, would they be better off limiting protein or fat? I'm not in this position but I've heard of people who reduce fat to limit their calories and other people who reduce protein to limit release of insulin. I understand that both excess protein and fat can probably be stored as body fat but which would be more likely to be stored?

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