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

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    ChocoTaco369's Avatar
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    The True Definition of Calories i.e. "Why what you believe is extremist BS"

    Primal Fuel
    "What am I doing wrong?"

    "I can't lose weight no matter what I do!"

    "I couldn't lose weight on 1,200 calories a day but now can on 3,000 calories a day!"

    "I ate carbs and gained 5 lbs!"

    "Calories don't matter! It's all about insulin/leptin/insert hormone here."


    How many of these sensational, emotion-driven and completely ridiculous statements and thread titles do we see here on MDA on a daily basis? So much of what is sold in the health and fitness community is complete bullshit. People take extremist stances to play on people's emotions and capitalize on these emotions by telling people what they want to hear. The cornerstone of American society is becoming not taking responsibility for your own actions and blaming someone else. This is the mindset bloggers, gurus and authorities take advantage of. There are 10,000 different stories on this website alone where people were on 1,000 calorie a day deficits and couldn't lose weight but now eat whatever they want and lose as long as the foods are "Primal-approved."

    In short, people hate the word "calorie." A calorie suggests that people get fat by eating too much and not exercising enough - it basically says people who are overweight are lazy and gluttonous. Yea, it's not nice, but sugar-coating isn't approved on The Primal Blueprint, so deal with it. This is the weakness in people that the so-called "gurus" exploit to take your hard-earned money. Funny how people are so resistant to personal criticism yet have no problem being taken advantage of financially.

    Alas, this is where "context" comes in. I strongly suggest EVERYONE read this. Why? Because it's absolutely brilliant.

    The Sensible Middle Part 1 In Defence of Calories | Core Concepts Wellness

    I'd love to hear people's thoughts.
    Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 07-25-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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    Well, I like it, but that's because it agrees with what I believe from reading and from experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
    "What am I doing wrong?"

    "I can't lose weight no matter what I do!"

    "I couldn't lose weight on 1,200 calories a day but now can on 3,000 calories a day!"

    "I ate carbs and gained 5 lbs!"

    "Calories don't matter! It's all about insulin/leptin/insert hormone here."


    I agree with you, calories do matter. I just don't know why you do this to yourself with people that don't want to hear it.

    And because those people won't take the time to read the article, I pasted an important part below,

    Is a Calorie a Calorie?

    The answer to this question is a resounding ...“kind of, but not really”. I’m going to make this as mercifully short and un-nerdy as possible. Keep in mind the essence of my pro-calories argument isn’t that the caloric model is an exact and infallible calculation that will work for everybody under any circumstance. I make this disclaimer because invariably I get the “3500 kcal of Gummi Bears is different than 3500 kcal of salmon and cauliflower”. Yes I get that, thank you. Herein lays the asterisk beside the “calories in, calories out” theory. Tis true that different macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) have varying physiological ramifications – in this case, protein is more metabolically costly to handle.

    This doesn’t mean, however that the calorie theory is incorrect, nor does it mean that calories are NOT the primary predictor of weight maintenance. So – the asterisk here is that protein intake needs to be adequate.

    My thesis then is that calories matter the MOST when it comes to fat loss and fat gain. You cannot escape the fact that you have to be in a consistent calorie deficit to lose or a chronic caloric surplus to gain fat – regardless of your macronutrient composition (insert asterisk here).
    This is truly a great read though, thanks for sharing. Common Sense is in the building (hopefully performing stuff off "Resurrection" though)
    Last edited by iniQuity; 07-25-2012 at 10:52 AM.

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    Human beings are truly the most stubborn animals. That is true. Any animal in nature adapts to its surroundings to survive. We fight it with all of our might and pray that the surroundings adapt to us.

    If 1,000 people read this thread and one comes away with a grasp of reality, then at least that saves one person from themselves. That makes it worth it to me. You're right though, we all claim to want the truth, but when the truth doesn't agree with our preconceived notions we tend to ignore it.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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    Thank you for pointing at the elephant in the room Choco.

    These kinds of sensationalist posts you refer too (not just the ones related to calories) have personally made me pretty cynical of these forums to the point where I don't really like to read and post here much any more. The few times I've kindly remarked that people struggling with weight loss should consider counting calories have almost always been met with hostility and disregard... and I'm thinking, hey, YOU asked buddy. Meanwhile, people continue the circle jerk playing House MD, throwing out things like insulin resistance, leptin resistance, toxins, thyroids, metabolic advantage, fungi... I don't even know what else. God forbid anyone actually asks themselves if the most simple and common explanation of stalled weight loss might be the problem - that you're just eating too much.

    And is it such a ridiculous idea to test? I mean, lets pretend that I think I have some kind thyroid problem making me unable to lose weight. I think the best thing I could do is actually determine if reducing my calories doesn't do anything. If I start magically losing weight when I actually track my intake and controlling portions, great! Problem solved. I don't have some rare medical disorder. Prescription: cool it on the nut butter.

    Alternatively... if I do cut my kcal intake to 1200 a day, don't lose any weight after a month, and feel like sh*t. Then yea, maybe I have a serious medical problem that i'd be justified in investigating. Here's the thing - problems like celiacs disease and hyperthyroidism are very serious and should NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. People who legitimately have these problems often have to work very hard to resolve them or control them... and I guarantee that having a six pack is the last thing on their mind - they just want to feel good and not worry about dying. I think there's a saying in business that goes something like...always try the easiest solution first, right? Why fix a problem with a complicated solution when you can just do it with a simple one.

    There are days when I don't feel like going to work, but I'm not thinking my feelings are the result of some crazy medical disorder that makes me hate going to work... I mean, sometimes I just gotta suck it up and get there, accepting that my brain isn't perfect. It's the same with exercise. We all love to do it and understand how good it is for us, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't some days I was thinking about my work out for the day and thinking "man, f this, I just want to sit on the couch and drink a beer." Is it so crazy to think that hey, maybe the same thing applies to diet too. Maybe if I want to achieve that lean fight club Brad Pitt body... I just need some good old fashioned self control and work ethic.

    People idealize the concept of "Grok" way too much here. Grok is only the result of millions of years of natural selection... that he was able to live long enough to reproduce and not go extinct. And this concept is no different today. Humans and fatter and sicker than ever, yet as a species we are thriving more than ever before, and continue to grow exponentially. Natural selection isn't some Godly, intelligent force. It's arbitrary, and far from "perfect." Grok didn't live in a panacea where he ate a nutritionally perfect spread that caused his body to look like Martin Berkham's. Even if that were true, Grok wouldn't want to be six pack lean, because that means if there was ever a time when he couldn't eat, he would be screwed.

    The best approach, in my opinion, is to use Grok as a basic framework of understanding how humans evolved to best thrive on certain nutritional and environmental factors that were present for most of their history. Then, we want to integrate modern science and knowledge into that framework to give us the best possible tools to achieve our goals. Primal for me doesn't mean I want to regress back to being a caveman. Sorry.

    Man... I've been wanting to say that for a while. Feels good.

    P.S. - the "metabolic advantage" theory has been disproved... time and time again, and there is not one ward based calorically controlled study, not ONE, that shows a group will lose weight while another does not, while they both eat the same number of overall calories. Anthony Colpo is perhaps the leading expert on this type of research, and he thoroughly slays this theory here, with plenty of citations to back it up:

    http://www.thefatlossbible.net/They_Are_All_Mad.pdf

    Am I wrong? Then show me a study that does. Show me a study in which two groups eat the exact same number of daily calories where one group loses or gains weight, and the other does not. The burden of proof is on you. Good luck with that - because there are none.
    Last edited by primal pete; 07-25-2012 at 11:28 AM.

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    Having weighed anywhere from the one-teens to over 200lbs in my life, I think one of the reasons the two groups in the article work (Jenny and WW) is that they give you a guide.

    Two things I've noticed about myself when I've gotten unhealthily fat. One is that I've forgotten the cause and effect relationship between how much food I eat and how fat is my ass. The other is that I have no concept of what a normal portion of anything is.

    And that is why I weigh and measure and track and will until they pry my food scale from my dying hands. I wish I was in tune with my body enough to only eat when I truly needed sustenance, but my psyche takes over if I'm not diligent.

    The funny/ironic thing is that when I'm restricting calories, I'm usually eating beautiful healthy food, and I wonder what the hell I saw in all the crap I ate that made me fat.

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    i'm throwing down a comment here, just so i can track the thread easier. i can't wait for the stories of people that have lost weight while eating 4000 calories a day - just by eliminating carbohydrates and declaring war on insulin (or whatever stupidity they come up with)...

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    I've been in the place where I was religiously weighing, measuring and counting calories, and coming up with big calorie deficits every day and not losing weight. Two months of calorie deficits, and according to all the "calories in- calories out" rules, and still no weight loss. I firmly believe that there does need to be a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. And yet, it wasn't happening. Its mystifying, frustrating and it makes me curious. So whats wrong with posting "what am I doing wrong?" or "I can't lose weight no matter what". How are those "ridiculous statements"?
    Last edited by camel; 07-25-2012 at 11:35 AM.

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    "This doesn’t mean, however that the calorie theory is incorrect, nor does it mean that calories are NOT the primary predictor of weight maintenance. So – the asterisk here is that protein intake needs to be adequate.

    My thesis then is that calories matter the MOST when it comes to fat loss and fat gain. You cannot escape the fact that you have to be in a consistent calorie deficit to lose or a chronic caloric surplus to gain fat – regardless of your macronutrient composition (insert asterisk here)."

    Can't argue with this. Good stuff choco.

    "Let’s put research aside for one second and just apply some common sense. I am by no means endorsing Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, but do you honestly think that these long-running programs would be successful as they are if they didn’t work? Clearly it does work for many."

    I love this quote too because so many people on this forum doubt this fact.

    "The best diet is the one that gets you into a caloric deficit and one you can sustain. For some, lower carb approaches do just that – for many others, more dietary variety and works best. Rest assured, however that you will need to be in a deficit to lose. So even if you don’t “count” calories per se, you need to be keenly aware of them. And even if you don’t use them as a front-line strategy, you should at the very least look at your total intake first should you stall in your fat loss efforts.

    As long as you are hitting your protein/calorie targets, feel free to eat things that don’t confine to somebodies definition of “unclean” foods."

    This article is SPOT ON!
    Last edited by jimhensen; 07-25-2012 at 11:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by primal pete View Post
    Thank you for pointing at the elephant in the room Choco.

    These kinds of sensationalist posts you refer too (not just the ones related to calories) have personally made me pretty cynical of these forums to the point where I don't really like to read and post here much any more. The few times I've kindly remarked that people struggling with weight loss should consider counting calories have almost always been met with hostility and disregard... and I'm thinking, hey, YOU asked buddy. Meanwhile, people continue the circle jerk playing House MD, throwing out things like insulin resistance, leptin resistance, toxins, thyroids, metabolic advantage, fungi... I don't even know what else. God forbid anyone actually asks themselves if the most simple and common explanation of stalled weight loss might be the problem - that you're just eating too much.

    And is it such a ridiculous idea to test? I mean, lets pretend that I think I have some kind thyroid problem making me unable to lose weight. I think the best thing I could do is actually determine if reducing my calories doesn't do anything. If I start magically losing weight when I actually track my intake and controlling portions, great! Problem solved. I don't have some rare medical disorder. Prescription: cool it on the nut butter.

    Alternatively... if I do cut my kcal intake to 1200 a day, don't lose any weight after a month, and feel like sh*t. Then yea, maybe I have a serious medical problem that i'd be justified in investigating. Here's the thing - problems like celiacs disease and hyperthyroidism are very serious and should NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. People who legitimately have these problems often have to work very hard to resolve them or control them... and I guarantee that having a six pack is the last thing on their mind - they just want to feel good and not worry about dying. I think there's a saying in business that goes something like...always try the easiest solution first, right? Why fix a problem with a complicated solution when you can just do it with a simple one.

    There are days when I don't feel like going to work, but I'm not thinking my feelings are the result of some crazy medical disorder that makes me hate going to work... I mean, sometimes I just gotta suck it up and get there, accepting that my brain isn't perfect. It's the same with exercise. We all love to do it and understand how good it is for us, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't some days I was thinking about my work out for the day and thinking "man, f this, I just want to sit on the couch and drink a beer." Is it so crazy to think that hey, maybe the same thing applies to diet too. Maybe if I want to achieve that lean fight club Brad Pitt body... I just need some good old fashioned self control and work ethic.

    People idealize the concept of "Grok" way too much here. Grok is only the result of millions of years of natural selection... that he was able to live long enough to reproduce and not go extinct. And this concept is no different today. Humans and fatter and sicker than ever, yet as a species we are thriving more than ever before, and continue to grow exponentially. Natural selection isn't some Godly, intelligent force. It's arbitrary, and far from "perfect." Grok didn't live in a panacea where he ate a nutritionally perfect spread that caused his body to look like Martin Berkham's. Even if that were true, Grok wouldn't want to be six pack lean, because that means if there was ever a time when he couldn't eat, he would be screwed.

    The best approach, in my opinion, is to use Grok as a basic framework of understanding how humans evolved to best thrive on certain nutritional and environmental factors that were present for most of their history. Then, we want to integrate modern science and knowledge into that framework to give us the best possible tools to achieve our goals. Primal for me doesn't mean I want to regress back to being a caveman. Sorry.

    Man... I've been wanting to say that for a while. Feels good.

    P.S. - the "metabolic advantage" theory has been disproved... time and time again, and there is not one ward based calorically controlled study, not ONE, that shows a group will lose weight while another does not, while they both eat the same number of overall calories. Anthony Colpo is perhaps the leading expert on this type of research, and he thoroughly slays this theory here, with plenty of citations to back it up:

    The Fat Loss Bible | They Are All Mad
    Jesus. I am severely upset you don't post more often. This is fantastic, particularly the first paragraph.

    There are too many excuses. I see it constantly: "I'm eating beef, eggs, and snacking on cheese and almond butter. Why aren't I losing weight?"

    Well, beef is typically one of the most calorically-dense meats. Eggs are 65% fat, making them one of the most calorically dense unprocessed animal foods in nature. Nuts are more calorically dense than chocolate, so if you're going to eat nut butter you may as well eat Hershey's. And have you ever eaten cheese? I know I can eat a whole block of cheese without blinking and it has a caloric density similar to ice cream.

    I've tried making suggestions. Things like: don't put butter in your coffee, maybe trading in your pork shoulder/spare rips/ribeye for sirloin/pork loin/London broil/chicken breast to save calories while still getting in quality protein or buying reduced fat yogurt (reduced fat dairy isn't much more processed than whole dairy, they just skim a little cream), but then I'll get labeled as "fat phobic." The truth is, fat DOES make you fat, and very easily - if you eat more than your body needs. When you're dealing with fat and a simple tablespoon can be 100 calories, it adds up VERY FAST when you have just a few pounds to lose.

    BUT - in defense of these forums, it is a much more sensible place than it was a year and a half ago when I joined. People are much more open to eating carbohydrate. When I joined, <50g/carbs a day were the norm. Now, we've moderated to around 100g it seems. 100-150g is probably most sensible for people with desk jobs since it allows a balanced diet without excessive blood glucose. Heavy lifters, please feel free to eat a lot more.
    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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