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Thread: The True Definition of Calories i.e. "Why what you believe is extremist BS" page 60

  1. #591
    Rig D's Avatar
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    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

  2. #592
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    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.

  3. #593
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    Quote 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.

  4. #594
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    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.

  5. #595
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    Quote 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.

  6. #596
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    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.

  7. #597
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    Quote 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.

  8. #598
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    Hey, DHF is back, or whatever his name was. The engineer that's an expert in diet and nutrition..

  9. #599
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    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...........

  10. #600
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    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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