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"Calories in / Calories Out" -- Please Stop the Madness

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  • Lyle Mcdonalds article is a great overview on the underlying science at play, its quite definitive, there is no point arguing its details which i think both of us probably agree. I have read it in its entirety once and skimmed it for info many times.

    lets look at a few things you replied with that i would like to point out. we pretty much agree up until this point.

    Originally posted by Gorbag View Post
    Everybody also the most obese insulin resistant person are daily burning off their own body fat - day and night! The problem is that they also store at least the same amount or more than they burn off!
    I would agree that an IR obese person burns some fat, but is it the same amount as a person with a healthy metabolism, I think not. How much less does this person burn then. is it?

    CI - 500cals + 50 cals = CO - 450cals (this person only burns 5 grams of fat a day, takes them 200 days to burn 1kg)
    CI - 500cals + 150 cals = CO - 350cals (this person only burns 16 grams of fat a day, takes them +2 months to burn 1 kg)
    CI - 500cals + 350 cals = CO - 150cals (this person burns 39 grams of fat a day, starting to get there)

    See it all depends on how good an obese person can burn fat, whether their CI=CO equation will tend towards fat burning (CI = - 500 deficit cals + 500 body fat cals = CO) or towards the food cravings and exercise lethargy (CI - 500cals = CO - 500cals). How good their fat burning abilities are is hard to distill as you are right there are many factors at play. But Judging by what you described as the problem (them storing as much fat as they burn) I would say their bodies are tending towards the food cravings and exercise lethargy version of the equation (which leaves me being right ).

    Originally posted by Gorbag View Post
    Yes, hormones may mess up things, especially if they makes you eat more, but hormones can’t do much without incoming calories that surpasses the daily energy expenditure.
    you've got this around the wrong way the hormones don't cause the excess food intake, they cause a bunked fat burning metabolism which makes the body decide to balance the equation using food cravings and exercise lethargy, you've got the chicken before the egg.

    See Lyle Macdonald's article is great to read to get an understanding on how it all works from a scienctific perspective. To use it as a strategy to lose weight for the people with great metabolisms is a fantastic idea, they can consciously decrease their calorie intake and increase their exercise and the body will choose the fat burning version of the CI=CO equation, causing great success.
    On the other hand Lyles article used as a strategy by the people with broken metabolisms (coincidentally usually the very people whom are obese and need to lose the fat) will be lead to failure, as it denies that the body won't choose an easier path to balance the equation.

    I'll say it again, people with metabolism problems shouldn't specifically use a calorie deficit to lose weight, it will work somewhat but not to the full extent that the CICO camp propose. They should eat to fix their metabolisms first, once that is done, go nuts on the calorie deficit and increased exercise, you will have great success as science will be backing you.
    Last edited by dilberryhoundog; 04-06-2013, 05:44 PM.
    A little primal gem - My Success Story
    Weight lost in 4 months - 29kg (64 lbs)

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    • "I'll say it again, people with metabolism problems shouldn't specifically use a calorie deficit to lose weight, it will work somewhat but not to the full extent that the CICO camp propose. They should eat to fix their metabolisms first, once that is done, go nuts on the calorie deficit and increased exercise, you will have great success as science will be backing you."

      Like the way you put that. Thanks.

      Comment


      • As someone with a disordered metabolism (medically diagnosed), I can assure you that you don't 'fix' your metabolism. It is what it is.

        I have what my endo calls a 'genetically slow metabolism' and I also happen to be extremely carb sensitive (hyperinsuleimic?).

        To lose weight (and maintain), I need to always eat very low carb--no more than 25g a day. I also need to keep my calories low. It would be impossible for me to control calories unless I also keep carbs low (insatiable appetite), and I can actually gain with too many green vegetables if I drive carbs to 50g or so.

        People need to understand their issues and work with them for effective weight management. There's no 'one right way' for everyone. But ignoring calories is one of the biggest mistakes for Primal/Paleo eaters (and low carbers) who are trying to lose weight. It's not enough to eat healthy foods; without a caloric deficit, there's no weight loss.

        I eat low carb Primal for my health, and I eat low calories to manage my weight.

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        • People need to understand their issues and work with them for effective weight management.
          I think this is the biggest takeaway and the one people don't really want to hear. You have to put in the effort to understand how your body works and accept the way you need to eat to lose AND accept that other things may work for other people. The problem is it takes some time and experimenting to get there and it may include some regain etc.

          I think the first step of primal or paleo- that elimination of processed and toxic foods is usually enough for most people. But when you stall or it doesn't work, you simply must start trying things, AND be patient. For me, fat loss is just slow, but it happens and as long as I eat this whole foods, healthy diet it seems to happen as long as I stick with it and work out. I can't accelerate fat loss no matter how much I do. But lucky me, I can drop a lb or two a month and pretty much eat whatever primal approved foods I want. (I tend to eat under 2000 calories a day without trying to restrict).

          I figure I might as well enjoy what I eat so I stay on track. I spent a lot of years denying myself foods to no avail. It makes me sad to see advice that includes ridiculous levels of denial of healthy foods in cases where people don't know if they actually have a damaged metabolism. That does not work long term unless you are someone who really does need an extremely restricted diet.

          There are other things to try before extreme low carb or extreme low fat that will likely work if you give it time. But time.... and patience is in short supply and I feel the desire to move the process along.

          http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
          Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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          • dilberryhoundog, “Broken metabolism”? There is nothing “broken”, but a hormonal imbalance, and this is not only the case for the typical obese and insulin resistant person. Take a úberlean person as an example, that have been on a diet for a long time and is down to 5% of body fat! What about his metabolism - is it "broken"? Well, as the extreme opposite of the obese person he is usually extremely insulin sensitive, and the leptin levels are very low. Hormones are in imbalance in the opposite spectrum of the typically obese – and the body simply screams "EAT! - BINGE! - GAIN WEIGHT! - everything in the úberlean persons metabolism is prepared to gain weight and to avoid starvation, the body tries all possible “tricks” to make him eat – hunger pangs, “fat-hunger”, dreams about food etc.

            Well, let’s go back to the obese person with a so called "broken metabolism", insulin resistant and messed up hormones etc. From an evolutionary perspective this person is now perfectly prepared to lose weight, to start a period with very little food, or no food at all; to survive a severe famine, so the metabolism is adjusted for a “no-food-period”. The obese person is the perfect fat burner; he carries all the food he needs stored on his body as body fat, even micronutrients like vitamins are stored in the body fat! A very lean person can't live exclusively on his own body fat, especially if physically very active, because the body can't release fat for the energy expenditure fast enough without breaking down lean tissue. So saying that the fat persons are bad fat burners is as wrong as it can be, they are indeed the best fat burners there are!

            So, obese persons are perfectly adapted for burning fat, since this is the preferred fuel for most tissue most of the time. The brain and nerve tissue runs on glucose and uses ketone bodies as a reserve fuel, while the rest of the body uses fat for normal activities and glucose as a reserve fuel for anaerobic activities. Let's take as an example an obese person that eat his last meal for the day at 8 PM and the metabolism will be fired up for a few hours until most of the food is digested and everything run stable, the brain and nerve tissue get glucose from the liver and other tissue run on fat. When the obese person wakes up in the morning most of his body runs on fat while the nerve tissue continues on glucose (switching to ketone bodies little by little). And if we don't feed the obese person he will continue to burn fat from his own body without no problem, because he is perfectly adapted to do just that! Some obese persons that don’t get food may feel that they almost freak out because of a strong response from hunger hormones like ghrelin but this will soon diminish after a few days!

            So to finish; There is nothing "broken" in the metabolism that the fat person cannot access his own stored fat! Au contraire, nobody can access their fat better than just an obese person, a skinny person that is very active will break down muscle and organ tissue, because he can't access his own fat stores fast enough, that's not the case with a fat person at all…
            Last edited by Gorbag; 04-07-2013, 11:38 AM.
            "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

            - Schopenhauer

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            • @gorbag

              Having a great capacity to do work does not make you adapted to do that work (having lots of fat doeasn't make you good at burning fat). Kind of like a skinny kid hanging round a Gym all day, he might be surrounded by weights and barbells but unless he does the work he won't be adapted for the work. He like the obese person might do a little bit of work here and there but very little adaptations are gunna come unless he gets serious and really forces his body to actively use his body, this will force the perfect adaptions you speak of. A person sitting at 5% bodyfat is far, far, far more likely to be perfectly adapted at burning fat, because he has done the work (lost the fat) and continues to keep doing the work (keeping the fat off), fat burning for him comes easy. I guess I was wrong using the term broken, maybe I should've used underutilised, maladapted or poor to describe their metabolisms.
              A little primal gem - My Success Story
              Weight lost in 4 months - 29kg (64 lbs)

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              • Originally posted by KimchiNinja View Post
                Repost below for relevance.

                Oh dear, well I made it thru pg15 of this "discussion forum" thread and had to stop, because after 15pgs of "discussion", there were only three intelligent posts discussing the topic...and one of them was mine.
                Perhaps there's an element of confirmation bias in your evaluation of posts?

                Originally posted by KimchiNinja View Post
                The problem with the "eat less, exercise more" folk wisdom, aside from the fact that it doesn't work and doesn't explain many observations, is that it a lazy way to dismiss all other possibilities. Well the ocean exists cause a lot of water is in it. Okay how did the water get there? Oh shut up KimchiNinja, we don't like to think about that.
                I agree. I think that health and weight loss are linked in that they both depend on hormonal balance.

                Originally posted by KimchiNinja View Post
                Below I disaggregated the calories in / calories out formula. If the original formula holds, then the disaggregation also necessarily holds.
                Yeah, no. Your qualitative descriptions are for the most part wrong.

                I think that the person who pointed out that CICO was true but meaningless for people seeking health / weight loss had it correct.
                Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

                Griff's cholesterol primer
                5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
                Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
                TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
                bloodorchid is always right

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                • dilberryhoundog,
                  It's not a question about being adapted to use fat for fuel or not, since everybody are using fat as their main fuel most of their time! The human body is perfectly adapted to fat burning, it's not a mechanism that have been turned off because you have become too fat! Obese persons are more "adapted” to burn fat in the sense that they are less dependent on other kind of fuels, they have become self-reliant so to say! Not so with a semi-starved 5% body fat person, since there is a upper limit to how many calories per pound of body fat that can be released for energy per day, a person with little body fat must get dietary fat and carbs to cover his expenditures, to avoid starvation or breakdown of muscle and internal organs. The very lean person will burn dietary fat, but will be very, very, reluctant to give up its last body fat stores - the so called stubborn body fat - and will often prefer to break down other tissue instead of burn his own body fat when getting very lean…
                  "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

                  - Schopenhauer

                  Comment


                  • "Calories in, calories out" works perfectly, in the context of a healthy metabolism. Period.

                    But not everyone has a healthy metabolism and there is a lot more going on inside the human body than we can ever know for each individual person without a ton of lab tests and the like. Bottom line is, if you find something that results in you losing weight, whether it's simply counting calories, eating a VLC diet, or eating extremely low fat then stick to it until you hit your goal weight or stall. Then you can look at adding other tweaks to your diet/exercise regime to take things over that last hurdle or to play around with your body composition a bit.

                    Because our bodies are all different, different strategies work well for different people. Not everyone (indeed, the reason most people find this website) has a perfectly 100% healthy metabolism and may need to go that extra step to lose the weight. And for EVERYBODY, that extra step is going to be different in some way.

                    This is the beauty of primal. It fits perfectly within whatever paradigm you believe in or find is working best for you.
                    "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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                    • Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
                      "Calories in, calories out" works perfectly, in the context of a healthy metabolism. Period.

                      But not everyone has a healthy metabolism and there is a lot more going on inside the human body than we can ever know for each individual person without a ton of lab tests and the like.
                      So if a person no longer has a healthy metabolism calories don't matter? It's always calories in/calories out regardless of your "metabolism." People that can't lose weight simply can't undereat their hunger. That doesn't mean CICO no longer exists. It means you better fix your thyroid, adrenals, nutrient deficiencies or fix whatever other problem you have so you can manage a deficit for weight loss.
                      Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
                        "Calories in, calories out" works perfectly, in the context of a healthy metabolism. Period.

                        But not everyone has a healthy metabolism and there is a lot more going on inside the human body than we can ever know for each individual person without a ton of lab tests and the like.
                        So if a person no longer has a healthy metabolism calories don't matter? It's always calories in/calories out regardless of your "metabolism." People that struggle losing weight simply can't undereat their hunger. That doesn't mean CICO no longer exists. It means you better fix your thyroid, adrenals, nutrient deficiencies or fix whatever other problem you have so you can manage a deficit for weight loss.

                        The "broken metabolism" excuse is just that - an excuse. Metabolisms don't "break." If your metabolism is broken, you're dead.
                        Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                          So if a person no longer has a healthy metabolism calories don't matter? It's always calories in/calories out regardless of your "metabolism." People that can't lose weight simply can't undereat their hunger. That doesn't mean CICO no longer exists. It means you better fix your thyroid, adrenals, nutrient deficiencies or fix whatever other problem you have so you can manage a deficit for weight loss.
                          Sometimes people have to accept that they need to get "healthy" before they can lose the weight. If their metabolism is broken or damaged in some way, this may even mean gaining some weight while you concentrate on introducing exercise into your lifestyle and eating healthy to slowly fix and regulate thyroid, adrenal, and other hormones in your body. And because different people have different issues, they will react to different types of diets in different ways. The "miracle" for one person may not be quite the miracle for someone else.

                          Everyone is different and the solutions to our problems will, likewise, come in different forms.
                          "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

                          Comment


                          • Gorbag
                            I pretty much agree.

                            I will say this tho. An obese person will be burning fat all day, from their Mcdonalds or fries or pizza. How much fat over the years do they actually cycle in and out of their adipose stores daily though? maybe a little at the end of sleep when the glucose from their midnight ice cream snack and from their liver stores has finally depleted.

                            What is the standard obese persons "go to" method for accessing fat (energy)? Is it from their vast reserves? nope, Its through their mouths. It's easy, it's efficient, It's a learned habit. The ability is there to burn fat but it is not utilised, what happens to things that are under utilized? they atrophy.

                            Why is this? well I've explained before, there is 2 ways to balance CI=CO. One is by adding fat from stores, if faced with a defecit from either side. The other is by raising energy ingested if their is a calorie output increase or decreasing energy output if their is a calorie deficit on the input side. The second one mentioned is the go to for an obese person, they will default to this because its what they know, it's how they have done it for years, their food craving and exercise lethargy pathways are well worn.

                            If they want to lose fat they have to become comfortable with an energy deficit, they have to train themselves to trust that their metabolisms can make the energy from reserves and that they don't just need to have that midnight ice-cream snack to energize them selfs. This metabolic training needs to happen slowly and methodiaclly because If faced with a big challenge like a regular daily large energy defecit (like CICO CW), the obese persons brain will just default back to what it knows best. This is very similar to if your just starting out on your weight lifting program. Start small and controllable you can't do a 400 pound dead lift in your first week.

                            So (this isn't specifically to you Gorbag) you can't just throw a CICO CW deficit daily at an obese person. they will fail. They need metabolic training first. It's not that their fat burning systems aren't there. Its that they don't trust their body to do its thing, so they get in first and throw the energy down their gullets.
                            Build the trust, get comfortable with your body burning fat, give your self some metabolic rest (no deficits for a day or 2), exercise your fat burning, while not fighting your brain to add moar food (eg time larger meals further apart). Once you got all that happening then you can challenge your adonis metabolism further by increasing your calorie deficit.
                            A little primal gem - My Success Story
                            Weight lost in 4 months - 29kg (64 lbs)

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                            • Law of conservation of energy (pretty much every physical principle is derived from that assumption) is so basic that it is not useful as an explanation. It is like saying Rafa Nadal hits ton of top spin because of law of conservation of momentum. True, but not really an useful explanation.

                              It is an identity. Like the Assets = Liabilities + Equity kind of balance sheet accounting identity. How useful is the explanation that the firm's equity is high because Assets > Liabilities?

                              Since digestive efficiencies, metabolism vary across individuals and it is so difficult to control or properly measure all the variables influencing the so called energy balance, i would rather use changes in weight to determine whether there was a calorific deficit or excess and not the other way around.
                              I laughed when i read about a study involving motion detecting underwears to account for "missing calories" post fact to justify the change in weight.
                              Few but ripe.

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                              • Originally posted by 70in2012 View Post
                                Law of conservation of energy (pretty much every physical principle is derived from that assumption) is so basic that it is not useful as an explanation. It is like saying Rafa Nadal hits ton of top spin because of law of conservation of momentum. True, but not really an useful explanation.

                                It is an identity. Like the Assets = Liabilities + Equity kind of balance sheet accounting identity. How useful is the explanation that the firm's equity is high because Assets > Liabilities?

                                Since digestive efficiencies, metabolism vary across individuals and it is so difficult to control or properly measure all the variables influencing the so called energy balance, i would rather use changes in weight to determine whether there was a calorific deficit or excess and not the other way around.
                                I laughed when i read about a study involving motion detecting underwears to account for "missing calories" post fact to justify the change in weight.
                                +many
                                The Champagne of Beards

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