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The True Definition of Calories i.e. "Why what you believe is extremist BS"

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  • Originally posted by PrimalHunter View Post
    Well, let's say you're doing a traditional bulk and cut, so you have sustained calorie surpluses and deficits. How does your body know that when you're bulking the extra calories should go to muscle, and when you're cutting the missing calories should come from fat?
    You have to go for subtle deficits and subtle surpluses. Think 20%. For a grown active male, that's around 500 calorie deficits and surpluses. If you keep deficits in the 20% range while you're sedentary, you are going to lose most of your weight from fat. If you increase the deficit too much or you try and be too active while on a deficit, then you will start burning lean tissue. Similarly, subtle surpluses of 20% calories or so after a workout - when you are in a very anabolic state - will generally go to lean muscle. There will always be tagalong fat on a surplus and there will always be lean tissue loss on a deficit, but this is how you maximize returns.

    Originally posted by PrimalHunter View Post
    What would be different for someone seeking the sumo wrestler look? (Not sure if they actually want to be fat, or if it just happens that way.)
    Massive caloric surpluses at all time is how you become a sumo wrestler. When you're chronically overeating huge surpluses, you are going to store mostly fat. The key is to not be too aggressive with cuts or bulks, and to time your deficits and surpluses.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by PrimalHunter View Post
      Well, let's say you're doing a traditional bulk and cut, so you have sustained calorie surpluses and deficits. How does your body know that when you're bulking the extra calories should go to muscle, and when you're cutting the missing calories should come from fat?
      Lifting weights and maintaining the amount you are lifting is one way to encourage the missing calories to come from fat when you are dieting.

      Lifting weights and making progress(ie increasing reps and or weight lifted) while eating in a surplus is how you encourage extra calories to "turn into" muscle when eating in a surplus.

      You can't bulk without a lifting routine (unless you are taking hormones/drugs).
      You can lose weight without a lifting routine, however if you don't have adequate protein intake or are on a super steep deficit, you run the risk of losing muscle and fat rather than just fat.

      Comment


      • Sorry to dig this thread up, but I just stumbled across it whilst also reading this article. Thought it may be of interest.

        It's not just how many calories, but what kind, study finds - Los Angeles Times
        It's not just how many calories, but what kind, study finds

        In an intensive, seven-month experiment during which 21 overweight men and women had their diets strictly controlled down to each last morsel, researchers showed that a traditional low-fat diet seemed to make the metabolism more sluggish than a high-protein one during the most difficult part of weight loss: keeping fat off once it's shed.

        The preliminary work, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of theAmerican Medical Assn., provides support for a growing group of scientists who argue that what people eat may be just as key as how much they eat.

        In a nutshell, "from a metabolic perspective, all calories are not alike," said study senior author Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children's Hospital Boston. "The quality of the calories going in affects the quantity of the calories going out."

        Comment


        • Originally posted by AdamW View Post
          Sorry to dig this thread up, but I just stumbled across it whilst also reading this article. Thought it may be of interest.

          It's not just how many calories, but what kind, study finds - Los Angeles Times
          It's not just how many calories, but what kind, study finds
          The fact that there are loads of articles out there on the topic of how the more we look at it, the more complex the interrelationships between nutrition and weight appear is irrelevant.

          Comment


          • I'm currently religiously mapping my kcals. Not to control or restrict, but to observe.
            At the moment I'm slowly gaining weight, but my body-fat-% is going down, with my total fat barely increasing (gained 45g of fat last month out of the kg I put on, apparently). Pre-Primal I had lost three dress-sizes, was a healthy weight (even if my fat-LBM ratio was off a bit), but found it near-impossible to exercise. I was stable, but not very well.
            Upon eliminating grains and legumes (most of which now cause me pain to eat, implying I've always been intolerant and only noticed through omission), my kcal requirement dropped. This is unsurprising as I STILL wasn't doing much exercise and probably wasn't extracting all the kcals from grain anyway (so I may have eaten some 500kcal/day that I wasn't extracting from the food, due to gut imbalance caused by my intolerances).
            Then, I noticed I was fidgeting and walking more. I didn't only want to do more exercise, I couldn't stop myself, I NEEDED to. So my kcals crept up to keep me constant. Then they crept up again to build muscle. I've went from maintenance at 2000kcal of CW-healthy-eating, to maintenance at 1500kcal of Primal, to slight muscular increase at 3000kcal of Primal.

            The reason some people lose or maintain on more kcals might simply be: if you're eating right, you WANT to exercise. You fidget more, you do more, you burn more. So you go from burning 1300kcal and eating 1800kcal to burning 3000kcal and eating 2500kcal. On the SAD you eat food that makes you feel like crap and feel like eating more, that has no nutrients so you're continually hungry and that unbalances your gut flora and your natural peristalsis. Is it any wonder kcal restriction doesn't work if you're only burning your BMR of kcals? Is it any wonder that eating more healthful foods leads to more exercise and more kcals burned?

            Then you have another interesting phenomenon: if you eat too much fat, your body can basically dump some of it. You'd still gain weight, of course, but, unlike sugar, your body seems perfectly able to defecate almost all the fat you eat if you aren't using it, so any weight-gain is slow and minimal, compared to people who eat huge amounts of sugar, who can gain weight faster as the insulin-spike encourages storage and sugar is harder to just "dump" (pardon the pun). Combine with IF to "keep on top" of that small amount of storage and you're no longer in a kcal-surplus, despite eating so much.
            Some days I'll eat 200+ grams of fat. If I don't do much that day or the next day, most of it will come out the other end within 48h. So "kcals-in = kcals-out" still technically applies, but the kcals may not truly be going "in" to begin with.
            --
            Perfection is entirely individual. Any philosophy or pursuit that encourages individuality has merit in that it frees people. Any that encourages shackles only has merit in that it shows you how wrong and desperate the human mind can get in its pursuit of truth.

            --
            I get blunter and more narcissistic by the day.
            I'd apologize, but...

            Comment


            • True definition of a calorie? Here ya go and it won't help much because it is a thermodynamic measurement of energy content based on burning (in a fire) material and measuring water temperature rise. Also note the discussion on Atwater method used by food companies for using averaged calorie content for protein, fat, carbs.

              How do food manufacturers calculate the calorie count of packaged foods?: Scientific American

              And what does it mean to you?

              At best, the calories on your Snickers bar, or on the can of green beens are approximations to the actual caloric value of the particular item. And, the calorie content doesn't tell you squat about how your body will utilize the food (if it can and does utilize it). This is why there is so much focus in the Primal Blueprint on the “quality” side of what you eat and the great science in MDA on how your body uses different foods.

              My conclusion: the calorie content is an indicator only of what will happen in your system if you eat the food. Focus on the quality side, what works for me may/may not work for you. Find those foods that provide you an optimized experience in terms of well being, you are your own test lab. Eat what you want of those foods. MDA has given me excellent ideas, suggestions, and science to indicate what these foods are.

              I have lost several inches and many pounds applying the quality ideas and the following "volume guidelines:"
              1. Eat only when you are hungry
              2. Eat until you are no longer hungry, don't eat until you are full
              The Buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future. So for today: I choose to be happy. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.

              Comment


              • I've been primal for over 3 years but new to this forum and just came across this thread. It was of particular interest to me given some recent evolution of thinking on this topic that I have had.

                When I went from the SAD to a strict Primal/Traditional diet, I dropped over 40lbs of body fat in 4 months. I never gave calories a second thought. I just focused on quality of food and was amazed at how little food kept me satiated. But it was very high fat/high protein food. I ate what it took to feel satisfied and that was it.

                I started around 25-30% body fat and settled around 15% body fat. I stayed there for over 2 years, effortlessly. But, and here is where it gets interesting imo, about 6 months ago I decided to see if I could add some muscle. I got concerned about protein intake so I started eating more, a lot more. All good, primal food. About two months in, I noticed that I wasn't as lean but I was getting stronger so I let it go. I kept eating past the point of satisfaction and when I wasn't hungry. Another 2-3 months went by and I was no longer lean. My 30" jeans were tight. My increased strength did not show in the mirror. I wasn't very happy.

                I came across Leangains in one of Mark's posts about IF. Huh. Calories matter? I was skeptical. But I was NOT happy being back to 20% BF. Something had to change. Then, on December 31st I did the unthinkable. I got an app on my phone to track what I was eating. I had decided to IF and eat less, but I wanted to ensure adequate protein intake. So, for the last 2 months I have faithfully tracked what I eat. I've averaged 1800 calories since then. I skip breakfast 5-6 times a week. I've lost 10 lbs of body fat and I'm at a PB of around 11% BF. HUH. The math works out almost perfectly. Imagine that. I'm shooting for 8% BF and will start eating a bit more when I get there. (I started a thread under Fitness about shooting for a certain BF%. If you have a goal, join in!)

                IF may have many benefits, but one of the main benefits for me was that it is a very easy way to eat less. I'm rarely hungry, if I am, I eat. Otherwise, I just eat two meals (noon and 6-7pm.) I still eat an excellent primal diet and get 140-180 grams of protein in, I just eat less. For what its worth, that's my experience.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                  I'd love to hear people's thoughts.
                  It still all comes down to the same thing - if you take in more than your body needs, then you will get fat. Whether a "calorie" is the right tool to measure that differential is a complex question - but in a way, it is beside the point anyway - because whatever yardstick you use, the essential point remains.

                  If you take in more than your body needs, then you will get fat.

                  Comment


                  • I have played with every macro combination possible. And when I say played, I mean I allowed several months to go by in order to see if a particular ratio worked. In the end, it always comes down to calories. I lose fat if I eat less food, period! When I stall or gain fat, I take a hard look at what I have been eating, and it's usually a case of me sneaking in treats, snacks and extra alcohol. Cut those out, and I am back in the game.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by john_e_turner_ii View Post
                      I have played with every macro combination possible. And when I say played, I mean I allowed several months to go by in order to see if a particular ratio worked. In the end, it always comes down to calories. I lose fat if I eat less food, period! When I stall or gain fat, I take a hard look at what I have been eating, and it's usually a case of me sneaking in treats, snacks and extra alcohol. Cut those out, and I am back in the game.
                      Treats and snacks usually mean high sugar products So is it a case of you're putting weight on because of the extra calories, or the extra sugar? Or both...

                      As with many things in nutrition, I don't believe it's simply black and white: insulin matters, and so do calories. If you consume too many calories then you may get fat regardless of the 'quality' of those calories or where they came form. But if someone is consuming a relatively 'normal' amount of calories closer the their maintenance range, then I think things get more complicated. For example if the same person was to either consume 2000kcal a day from a high carb diet, or the same kcal's but from a diet based around healthy fats, proteins and low carbs, then I believe that person would be more likely to gain fat on the HC diet (obviously there are many other factors to take into consideration but I'm just making this simple to explain the point).

                      For me , ever since I've removed most carbs from my diet and started eating more fat (a LOT of fat) I've put on weight (muscle) whilst keeping my bodyfat level below 8%. It may have even dropped slightly, but that could just be the extra muscle definition. I'm certainly eating more calories than before (largely due to the increased fat intake). But I'm training hard 4-6 days a week. From previous experience, whenever I was consuming a large amount of calories when bulking, I also increased my bodyfat and that has certainly not been the case this time!

                      We are all different though, there's rarely a rule that work's for all of us.

                      Comment


                      • This thread is actually the problem and not close to any sort of solution.

                        The talk about leptin, insulin, and hormone response to certain calories goes a lot further to explaining why people are fat than redundant talk about calories in versus calories out.

                        A calorie of sugar does not interact with the human body the same way a calorie of fat does. Talking about how calories interact with the body does not attempt to say that calorie totals don't matter. But saying calorie totals matter is a useless fact. Repeating it over and over doesn't make it any more useful.

                        Normal people don't overeat. Healthy metabolism and healthy hormone function create satiation and equilibrium when real food with proper micronutrients is consumed.

                        Broken people overeat. And they overeat because all calories aren't equal. It's not the total that matters, it's the type/quality. Because when you eat the right type/quality, the total becomes irrelevant precisely because excess is not desired.

                        Calories in calories out is not a helpful guide for weight loss and it's why everyone fails using this strategy long term. Teaching people how certain calories interact with their body (via hormone function and micronutrient bioavailability) and addressing the real issues is precisely what's helpful.
                        Rebooted Body -- Ancestral Health + Modern Psychology | The Rebooted Body Podcast

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by The Rebooted Body View Post
                          This thread is actually the problem and not close to any sort of solution.

                          The talk about leptin, insulin, and hormone response to certain calories goes a lot further to explaining why people are fat than redundant talk about calories in versus calories out.

                          A calorie of sugar does not interact with the human body the same way a calorie of fat does.
                          This is ridiculous, and it's the reason why people plateau or completely give up dieting.

                          You're sort of right - a calorie of sugar isn't quite the same as a calorie of fat. The fat will be directly stored, while the sugar will boost your metabolic rate a touch and lose some of its caloric content as it gets converted into fat. Sugar's a little more advantageous to weight loss than fat calorie per calorie...but it's so little it's not really worth mentioning.

                          Back to the topic at hand. You don't understand what "total daily energy expenditure" is. You cannot lose weight without a caloric deficit. You cannot gain weight without a caloric surplus. If you want to lose more weight, in 100% of cases you must increase your caloric deficit.

                          This is where the context comes in. A person that is nutritionally replete and eats a diet rich in whole foods is going to have a higher TDEE than someone that is subsisting on nutrient poor foods like grains and chicken breast a la the SAD. If you want to maximize your metabolic rate, you have to eat foods that best support thyroid function and cellular respiration - ruminant meat (beef, lamb, goat, deer), coconut, fruit, copper and selenium rich foods (mussels, oysters), dairy, consume plenty of sodium and avoid the metabolism killers - unsaturated oils, legumes, grains, raw green vegetables and very fatty foods rich in PUFA - nuts, seeds...I'm on the fence about fatty fish and high-PUFA meats like chicken thighs, pork, etc.

                          Lift heavy weights and move around a lot and the ease that you'll lose weight will increase even further. And never starvation diet. If you have 50+ lbs to lose, you can maintain a pretty large caloric deficit. At that point, your body has so much excess adipose tissue it probably won't fear starvation. But when you get into the 10-15 lb range...now it matters. You need mild caloric deficits with regular refeeds to support the metabolic rate. Again, this doesn't mean calories don't count. This is all about calories. It makes you have to be smart about maximizing your nutrition and being realistic about your rate of fat loss. Most people want things to happen too quickly, so they plateau by not eating enough.

                          Again, CICO is perfect 100% of the time. You just have to make sure you eat nutritious, filling foods that maximize your metabolic rate so you can make the caloric deficit as low-stress as possible so you can maintain it both mentally and physically.
                          Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

                          Comment


                          • Hey, DHF is back, or whatever his name was. The engineer that's an expert in diet and nutrition..

                            Comment


                            • General response to thread, not an individual.

                              Bla, Bla, Bla, CICO
                              Bla, Bla, Bla, CICO is 100% right,
                              Bla, Bla, Bla, There can only be one.
                              Bla, Bla, Bla!

                              Why do all the calorie counter diet businesses stay in Business?
                              Because their clients invariably fail.

                              There is a lot more to achieving and maintaining good health than just counting calories, even if you are eating nutritious food, the mere act of counting is triggering a stress response.

                              If the CICO system is always 100% right, why waste your time here, start a site, market your protein shakes wirth calories noted and let the $$$$ roll in.

                              As for disclosure, I haven't spent any money on books, shakes, or anything Paleo or Primal, I've read published studies, watched free doco's, absorbed info from discussions, the only money I've spent is powering my laptop.

                              Oh no, please don't tell me Mark owns the power company.

                              I think it's completely disrespectful for people to come in with their high and mighty CICO banner and suggest we've all been duped by the Primal Mark god, sure he's got his thing, does the buck stop with him.
                              No my buck stops at my feet and I take full responsibility for making my own decisions about my future, I don't put my trust in him or anyone here.

                              Quite amusing how the Carbies take the same high and mighty stance to say the Fatties are wrong, fact is you're both wrong most of the time and right some of the time.

                              We can only take people here at face value, and if they say they are counting religiously, then we have to assume they are, how can you suggest that CICO says this is so, therefore you must be a liar or cheat if you are not losing weight on 1,000 calories.

                              More ranting,
                              Bla, Bla, Bla, balanced approach
                              Bla, Bla, Bla, be patient, eat well, reduce stress and listen to your body.
                              Bla, Bla, Bla, Everyone has an agenda.
                              Bla, Bla, Bla...........
                              "There are no short cuts to enlightenment, the journey is the destination, you have to walk this path alone"

                              Comment


                              • There is nothing really wrong with CICO as a concept. The problem is that people try to make it into something it isn't.

                                CICO is a diagnostic rule of thumb. In other words, if you have someone who is losing weight, CICO imbalance is highly likely. CICO points you in a direction and gives you something to look at. If food intake and activity levels are reasonable and balanced, the weight loss is not dietary. If food intake and activity aren't reasonable, now you can start looking at why. Is there something physically wrong with the person preventing exercise? Is there a metabolic issue?

                                The problem comes when people try to flip it around and make it a prescriptive rule... "balance CICO for weight maintenance." That's an error, a mistake in reasoning. Why?

                                Prescriptive rules must use relevant units of measure. You can tell employers they must pay workers at least $7.25 an hour, you can't tell them they must provide at least 3.5 "Life Satisfaction Points" per hour because - even though life satisfaction is something everyone should have and getting some from your career is good - there is no way to figure out what a "Life Satisfaction Point" is or even if it's the same for everyone.

                                Humans can't directly perceive calories (in or out), and - short of very detailed analysis that is beyond the reach of most individuals - we have no real way to measure calories, so calories aren't a good unit of measure for prescriptive rules you want humans to follow.

                                Humans have a highly evolved set of drives and impulses that have guided us towards eating - or not eating - and staying active. That system seems to have broken down for a large percentage of the population over the past 50 years. 50 years ago "skinny" (by modern standards) was the norm and obesity was unusual. Today....not so much. CICO is helpful in figuring out why but from there you need to address the root causes before you can really fix the problem. Trying to use CICO as a fix is trying to short circuit the troubleshooting process...it's lazy...and lazy rarely works.

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