I don't believe in calorie theory.

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Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 47

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Posted: 11 Jan 2013, 16:22
Let me be more specific. I believe that food has calories and that people burn them off, but I do not believe that it's a precise science, for several reasons.

1. The composition of food we eat may not be the same as that tested when calorie charts were created. To give but ONE example, chickens or cows today may be fattier or less fatty than when they were tested. Therefore who can say with any accuracy how many calories are in a chicken leg or hamburger?

2. Also, so much depends on how much fat clings to the food when cooked and served -- some people drain on kitchen paper, some don't. Some fats and oils stick to a piece of meat more than others, etc.

3. Each individual processes and metabolises food differently and at differing speeds. The individual's insulin response plays a huge part. Also, the composition of the individual -- a bodybuilder for example burns up more calories even on days with no exercise. Because of this, it is absurd to say that, for example, "walking uses up X calories an hour." It's even more stupid to say "sex uses up X calories an hour" because not only does it depend on the individual person, but what do they mean by "sex", anyway? I mean, one doesn't use up much energy just lying still and letting one's partner do all the work. But it's still called "sex".

4. Different foods have a different effect on insulin, which (everyone agrees) is the fat storage hormone. This won't change the calorie count of a food, but it will affect what the body does with it. An 8oz steak will have less impact on insulin than the same weight of lasagne or buttery mashed potatoes.

5. Combinations of foods are affected by (4). For example, if one person eats a steak followed by nothing and another eats a steak followed by a glass of orange juice, the heightened insulin caused by the OJ will cause more of the calories in the steak to be stored as bodyfat.

Because there are so many variables, those listed above and maybe a few more I don't know about, the idea that we can know the calorie count of a food, and the idea that we can know how that food will be metabolised, and, most of all, the notion that activity Y burns off X number of calories, is quite absurd.
Hyperinsulinaemic, carboholic and serial failed dieter!
Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 1,997

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Posted: 11 Jan 2013, 17:00
Well, basically, yes, but that doesn't mean it's not valuable to do.

Calorie counts aren't absolutes even though people treat them as magical "right answers". Every calorie count has some sort of margin of error, and the magnitude of the error bars depends upon things like consistency of production and accuracy of measurement.

Do I believe that every single pound of carrots has exactly 186 calories? No, of course not. Most pounds of carrots will have somewhere between, oh, maybe 170 and 200 calories.

Similarly, bodies do not behave in precisely predictable manners, and we can't exactly predict how we metabolize or burn calories.

That's OK, though. Unless we make systematic errors (like always measuring more than we meant to), we should still be able to get reasonable approximations.
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,978

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Posted: 12 Jan 2013, 00:57
Yet here we are, seeing so many awesome results. Go figure. Smile
"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do. Or do not. There is no trying."
- Master Yoda.

From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, and living healthy. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier!
paperiniko

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 343

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Posted: 12 Jan 2013, 02:37
It is not a faith and there is nothing to believe or not to believe, there are facts that have a solid scientific backing and there are myths such as the role of insulin in fat metabolism that is widely misunderstood.
All diet aiming at fat loss are based on calorie deficit however they try to dress up their approaches
jonnybadback

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 321

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Posted: 12 Jan 2013, 03:56
Its only a guide due to variables.

calorie [kal´o-re]any of several units of heat defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius (1°C) at a specified temperature. The calorie used in chemistry and biochemistry is equal to 4.184 joules. Symbol cal. See also nutrition.In referring to the energy content of foods it is customary to use the “large calorie,” which is equal to 1 kilocalorie (kcal). Every bodily process, including the building up of cells, motion of the muscles, and the maintenance of body temperature, requires energy, which the body derives from the food it consumes. Digestive processes reduce food to usable “fuel,” which the body “burns” in the complex chemical reactions that sustain life. The amount of energy required for these chemical processes varies. Factors such as weight, age, activity, and metabolic rate determine a person's daily calorie requirement. Nutrition experts have computed daily calorie requirements in terms of age and other factors. These tabulations serve only as guides; they cannot, of course, embrace all individual variations.From its daily intake of energy foods, the body uses only the amount it needs for energy purposes. The remainder is stored as fat. If the average adult consumes more calories than the daily requirement, he or she will gain weight. However, if consumption is less than recommended daily requirements, the body will supplement its energy sources by drawing upon stores of fat and the person will lose weight.Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
Marlboro Man

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 418

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Posted: 12 Jan 2013, 08:07
in on yet another insulin debate...
eat food, track calories, adjust accordingly
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
—Aristotle
"It's not a diet, it's not exercise, it's a lifestyle."
-Unknown
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

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Posted: 12 Jan 2013, 08:53
The inherent inaccuracy and variables don't matter much as long as you keep your measuring and tracking process constant - the errors will tend to average out over time. Put another way, you don't have to be accurate as long as you are precise.

Of course, you don't have to count calories at all to stay in a consistent energy deficit (or surplus), but as you can see from my weight chart over the last year, the strategy can work just fine:


It doesn't matter whether I was actually at 3200 and 2100 calories, respectively. What matters is that I kept my measuring process constant. If I want to gain slower or lose faster, I eat less. If I want to gain faster or lose slower, I eat more. The numbers may as well be arbitrary. Like Marlboro Man says - just track calories and adjust accordingly.

erika2633

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 799

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Posted: 12 Jan 2013, 11:58
Of course it's not an exact science, but the ability to get pretty close is what matters. You can find many great posts on this site from people that have sat down and done the math between their diet calendar and their weight history. They find out that, according to the numbers, they should have lost more/less weight. But like you said, it's not an exact science. The point is that they are still creating a caloric deficit and losing weight.

As far as the "absurd" notion of activity X burning off Y calories, it's not completely absurd. Yes, this website does have some generic exercises to enter into your diet calendar that can inaccurately estimate calorie burn, but if you take it upon yourself to wear a quality heart rate monitor or BodyBugg or something similar, you can get pretty close.


Someone who is busier than you is working out right now.
There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.
eKatherine

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 1,266

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Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 17:06
Sure, anybody can tell you that when it comes to losing, gaining, and maintaining weight, all calories are functionally the same and interchangeable, whether they be protein, carbohydrate, or fat. It's the same with vitamins, which are functionally the same and interchangeable, right?

No, wait...
NCNOLE

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,183

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Posted: 16 Jan 2013, 18:03
But it works for many and is a cheaper tool for weight loss. Maybe an excuse for others to keep doing what they want because "nothing works". Everyone has to find their own path.
paperiniko

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 343

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 02:00
when it comes to losing or gaining weight calorie are indeed the same.
They obviously are not in terms of nutrition content, health properties and ability to satiate you, but if you are able to keep yourself at a long term deficit with a diet made of pizza or mcdonalds or whatever other junk food without going overboard in terms of calories, then you are guaranteed to loose fat, no question about it.

Obviously I am not saying that is the best way to loose weight
eKatherine

Joined: Aug 12
Posts: 1,266

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 05:29
Well, paperniko, so all calories are identical and interchangeable when it is convenient for your hypothesis, but they are not when it is not convenient. How, um, convenient.
riocaz

Joined: Jun 12
Posts: 654

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 06:42
You seem to be missing the point of his comment.

Calorie deficit will make you lose weight.

But a diet of "junk foods" will likely leave your body lacking in a lot of other stuff (vitamins, minerals, etc etc etc).

42" jeans(25/01/2013) 40"(28/02/2013) 38"(20/03/2013) 36"(25/05/2013)
Down from 60" waist jeans since June 21st 2012.

Still keeping to my 26" jeans, but they are too tight for comfort. too many tasty things in the US, and over Xmas.

Onwards and Downwards! Smile
http://www.menu52.com/
shmiller

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 497

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 07:05
I don't believe in grumkins and snarks.
"The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter, either side of the hill" The Grateful Dead
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 07:09
Body mass is determined by energy balance. The quality or macro composition of the diet does not change this.

The macro- and micro-nutrient profile of the diet affects body composition, health, performance, mood, satiety, and dietary adherence. Because of this, the two sides of the energy balance equation are dependent variables - your daily energy expenditure will be affected, directly and indirectly, by the types of food you consume.

If you expend 2000 calories of energy in a day, you can and will lose body mass by consuming 1700 calories. It does not follow from this premise that food choices are irrelevant - of course they matter. If you don't get enough protein, the type of body mass you lose will include more muscle and other lean mass, compared to a diet that isn't deficient in protein. If you're insulin resistant, eating lots of sugar and not much protein and fat will probably make you feel awful, among other ill health effects - not a good idea. If you are chronically deficient in micro-nutrients because you get all of your calories from Pepsi and french fries, you may continue losing weight, but also cause/exacerbate/increase the risk of various health problems. You'll probably also be hungry all the time and have miserable energy levels, making dietary adherence almost impossible. The types of foods you eat can affect your sleep, your energy levels, your exercise performance, etc.

These aren't hypocritical or inconsistent claims. This was rather the point of the "Twinkie diet" media stunt. An energy deficit means less body mass, but food choices still matter, for many reasons (including whether you can maintain a consistent energy deficit in the first place). And since most people interested in getting smaller are looking to lose fat rather than just "weight" (there's no amputation diet on the site, after all), food quality is and always will be relevant, and "one size fits all" dietary advice will rarely be helpful.
erika2633

Joined: Nov 11
Posts: 799

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 08:02
Oh Nimm, you are so very eloquent and rational, I love your post (as usual!)


Someone who is busier than you is working out right now.
There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.
Diablo360x

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 781

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 08:17
Great post Nimm.
Love your food or risk failure. No quick fixes, this is a lifestyle change. No extremes are needed just consistency.
umdterpsgirl

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 233

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 10:40
Where's the like button Nimm? Smile
kingkeld

Joined: Sep 09
Posts: 1,978

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Posted: 17 Jan 2013, 11:19
I'd like to hear more about this amputation diet. I could reach goal weight simply by losing a leg. Sounds easy enough. Smile
"Losing weight is never about eating as little as possible"
- Kingkeld.
"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
"Do. Or do not. There is no trying."
- Master Yoda.

From October 4th 2010 to April 3rd 2012 I lost half my body weight - 80 kilos/170 lbs. Since then, I have had two cosmetic surgeries to remove excess skin. I have now quadrupled my strength, gained several kilos in muscle mass, and today I focus on building muscle, optimizing my diet, and living healthy. I am stronger, healthier, thinner, happier!
paperiniko

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 343

      quote  
Posted: 18 Jan 2013, 00:41
ekatherine before replying it would help to read the posts, and I do not formulate any hypothesis.
Nimm said it all as usual



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