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Old 02-05-2010, 04:04 AM   #1
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Interesting Article--calories in calories out

I thought this was an excellent article about the myth of calories in, calories out.


NaturalNews) Anyone who has tried to lose weight has heard the age-old formula: eat less, exercise more. This is intended to create a calorie deficit, where the body is using up more than it's taking in. The idea is to coerce your body into burning stored fat, but for many people low-calorie dieting ends up burning them out long before the fat is gone. This is not because of a lack of self-control or willpower. It happens because the very fundamentals of low-calorie dieting are downright wrong.

For people trying to lose weight by cutting calories, food suddenly becomes the enemy instead of a means to genuine health. Hunger pangs become a sign of success instead of a sign the body is craving nourishment. This kind of twisted reality - a world where we desire starvation to maintain a healthy weight - is contributing to modern disease and misery.

No one can actually say a certain amount of calories is right for everyone. There are many factors that can influence how many calories you need, such as genetics, lifestyle, exercise habits, etc. It's interesting to note the World Health Organization declared that starvation begins to occur under 2,100 calories per day, a number far more than most dieters assume they need. While we work so tirelessly to end starvation in third-world countries, in Western society we are starving ourselves on purpose.

To avoid the disaster of low-calorie dieting, we must define the term "low-calorie." It has come to have different meanings over the years. Not long ago, 1,200 calories per day was the standard number for dieting, and 800-calorie diets were not uncommon (900 calories, by the way, was the typical diet fed to prisoners in concentration camps during the second World War). These very-low-calorie diets still exist today. So many people cut back to 1,600 calories per day and assume this is not low-calorie dieting. This is an illusion. If you are eating less than your body needs to function at its best, then you are low-calorie dieting. When you are eating less than you need, your body perceives it as a signal of starvation. It is a simple, biological fact.

The idea of calories in versus calories out is a complete myth. The body is far more complex than that. There are hundreds upon hundreds of activities performed in your body at any given time - it needs fuel to perform these functions. If your body is not receiving the materials it needs from your diet, then it has no choice but to take from its only other source - itself. Most people assume your body will only use its stored fat for its various needs, but this is not true. Your body will also draw from your bones, muscle tissue and organ tissue. You may lose some fat, but it will be at the sacrifice of vital living tissues. This is not a good state to be in, so your body slows down your metabolism to prevent its own destruction. After all, your body has one natural instinct - to survive.

Many people who have been on low-calorie diets experience side effects like fatigue, depression, hair loss, dry skin, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles and a lack of interest in sex. Over time symptoms worsen and the body weakens until illnesses and allergies become frequent, and eventually degenerative diseases are more likely to occur. This deterioration may be fast or slow, depending on how extreme your diet is.

Another side effect of low-calorie dieting: when people focus on slashing calories, usually fat is the first to go - because fat has nine calories per gram, compared to four calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates. It may seem like a logical choice, but it's a poor one. The body treasures its dietary fat, which is used to coat every cell and is required for countless functions in the body. Getting plenty of healthy fats also satiates the appetite and prevents food cravings, so cutting them out does nothing but hinder weight loss efforts. Eliminating healthy, natural fats seems to exacerbate and accelerate all of the above-mentioned side effects of low-calorie dieting.

Eventually most people find it difficult to maintain a low-calorie diet, and after their diet many find they must eat fewer calories to avoid weight gain than before. Others continue on the low-calorie bandwagon, usually hitting a plateau which triggers them to "buckle down" and cut even more calories or exercise excessively to cause the coveted calorie-deficit. The body feels the effects of starvation even more, and fights back. At this point it often feels like your body is working against you - and you're right. It's fighting you with everything it has. The body will stop clinging so desperately to stored fat when it no longer fears starvation because it's receiving proper nourishment from food.

The idea of eating hundreds more calories every day may seem unusually generous to some, but it is not permission to eat irresponsibly. What's most important is making sure the foods you eat are natural, nutrient-dense choices. Choose whole foods - your body understands how to use these foods to their full advantage. Eat foods in the most natural state possible, and implement traditional practices like soaking grains, beans and nuts overnight before eating or cooking them. Avoid processed foods like refined grains, sugar, alcohols, aspartame, saccharin, monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrates and nitrites, and the rest of the gamut of food additives. These impair the body and prevent real nutrients from being utilized properly.

It's time to rethink the tired theory of low-calorie dieting. It's time to consider the fact that the body will quit hanging on to stored fat when it is properly nourished with healthy, natural foods it can use to rebuild. It's time to stop resisting food and realize it is the only path to healing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 by: Elizabeth Walling, citizen journalist

For More Information:

Ross, Julia. (2000) The Diet Cure. Published by the Penguin Group.

Schwarzbein, Diana. (1999) The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger.

http://www.westonaprice.org/traditi...

http://www.naturalnews.com/025953_h...
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:11 AM   #2
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Outstanding!!! I am a firm believer that if you eat till you are satisfied, you will not need to count calories. If counting calories worked, if low fat worked, if counting points worked, we would all be thin. I wish it was as simple at 'cal in cal out', really that would be great. So often, healthy is forgotten or pushed aside in the quest to be thin. My BFF won't quit smoking because she is afraid to gain weight. Who cares how thin you are if you are sick??
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:18 AM   #3
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Wonderful article! I wonder when Joy Baur will feature this on the Today Show?
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:20 AM   #4
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Wonderful article! I wonder when Joy Baur will feature this on the Today Show?
LOL! We think not...unfortunately.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:25 AM   #5
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It's a good article, but I think one point it makes needs to be made clearer. That no one knows what anyone's optimal calories are. I gain when I eat to full satisfaction, plain and simple. I ate for a solid week, VLC, under 10 net grams of carbs a day, and probably averaged 2500 to 300 calories a day. I didn't exercise. I gained.

I lose BEST when I keep it under 1500 calories a day and exercise a LOT.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:38 AM   #6
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Great article! There is definitely an Atkins or lowcarb advantage when it comes to calories! No other way to explain how much we can eat and still lose!

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It's a good article, but I think one point it makes needs to be made clearer. That no one knows what anyone's optimal calories are. I gain when I eat to full satisfaction, plain and simple. I ate for a solid week, VLC, under 10 net grams of carbs a day, and probably averaged 2500 to 300 calories a day. I didn't exercise. I gained.
However, I think Victrola makes a good point .. And I'll go one step further, some of us (read: Me, lol!), have a broken "satisfaction meter" and so the directive to eat according to our hunger will never work for us. I've done 85% fat before and, like Victrola, if I do not portion out my food, I am one of those people that would keep eating. When Dr. Atkins in DANDR mentions that a (normal) person would not overeat eggs that same way they might overeat other foods, he was not talking about me, lol.

Thankfully, as the article indicates, lowcarb food allows us to eat more calories than would normally be the case on the usual high carb regime, and still lose or maintain weight, but some of us do need to keep our eye on it.

I think there are quite a few people that overeat on lowcarb and wonder why they do not lose .. and that a ****** (figuring out your exact carbs, calories, etc) here and there would help. If like Victrola and I, you are a small person and you are trying to lose weight but eating 3000 calories, you will need to rethink things! lol!!
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrola View Post
It's a good article, but I think one point it makes needs to be made clearer. That no one knows what anyone's optimal calories are. I gain when I eat to full satisfaction, plain and simple. I ate for a solid week, VLC, under 10 net grams of carbs a day, and probably averaged 2500 to 300 calories a day. I didn't exercise. I gained.

I lose BEST when I keep it under 1500 calories a day and exercise a LOT.
I'm wondering if eating a "solid week" is enough time to really gauge whats happening? Did you track your fat ratios, carbs and calories? When you say less than 10 "net" grams of carbs, what does that mean? I only ask these things because I'm curious and of course I'm an advocate of VLC high fat. I was convinced for a long time that starving myself was the only way I could lose weight. Then I started low carbing and lost weight effortlessly on Atkins. Then I couldn't lose weight eating over induction levels of carbs but I also discovered I was eating alot more carbs than I thought when I actually tracked them. It took a long time to figure out exactly what was going on. Once I found out I was insulin resistant and what that meant, all my troubles made sense, and the solution was very simple.

There have been numerous artilces based on countless studies that dispell the calorie in calorie out theory. But as you say, every body is different. However, I would encourage you to try a vlc/hf way of eating for more than a week to really be able to evaluate it and how it affects your body. I've read lots of info about becoming completely keto-adapted, and it definitely takes most people longer than a week. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best. We all have to support each other on this journey to good health!!
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:53 AM   #8
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Very true, we are all different. I am very lucky with the amount of food I can eat and not gain even when no doing LC. I was always chubby, but not obese but i could eat more than my 6' 200 pound weight lifting boyfriend. I guess I just don't believe its as simple at 'cut calories, lose weight' no matter what plan you follow. For example, if all you ate every day was 800 calories of sugar/carb junk I don't think you would lose weight and be healthy. You will probably lose muscle, and be sick and have 'bathroom issues' but if you ever ate normally again that weight would come back in a snap if you even did lose any. We all need to find a balance between good health and weight loss
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:55 AM   #9
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Great point, Teri!!! One week is not long enough for your body to adjust, even while doing strict Induction. I always say 'give Atkins a month' to anyone who will listen to me!! If you think of your whole life, how much is one month, really??
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teri f View Post
I'm wondering if eating a "solid week" is enough time to really gauge whats happening? Did you track your fat ratios, carbs and calories? When you say less than 10 "net" grams of carbs, what does that mean? I only ask these things because I'm curious and of course I'm an advocate of VLC high fat. I was convinced for a long time that starving myself was the only way I could lose weight. Then I started low carbing and lost weight effortlessly on Atkins. Then I couldn't lose weight eating over induction levels of carbs but I also discovered I was eating alot more carbs than I thought when I actually tracked them. It took a long time to figure out exactly what was going on. Once I found out I was insulin resistant and what that meant, all my troubles made sense, and the solution was very simple.

There have been numerous artilces based on countless studies that dispell the calorie in calorie out theory. But as you say, every body is different. However, I would encourage you to try a vlc/hf way of eating for more than a week to really be able to evaluate it and how it affects your body. I've read lots of info about becoming completely keto-adapted, and it definitely takes most people longer than a week. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best. We all have to support each other on this journey to good health!!
I say solid week now because this is back from my bingefest, but even before the bingefest, I noticed a substantial stall or slow down when I ate too many calories and I generally stayed at or below Induction levels. My ratios tend to be roughly around 75% fat, 20% protein, 2 to 3% carbs. Ish. I say net carbs because I include carbs like salad and eggs, but really my gross carbs tended/tend to be around 10 and net carbs quite a bit less.

Unfortunately, I don't want to take the chance of eating to full satisfaction and continue gaining weight. I love this WOE and the food is delicious, so I could easily eat, say, a couple pounds of ground beef a day with cheese or bacon or mushrooms or whatnot. And if I ate breakfast on top of that, hell, that could put me close to 4000 calories! And I would gain!

I've put my body through a lot of torture over the years with dieting. Like Tada said, there's something broken in there for me. Grrr.
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Old 02-05-2010, 04:59 AM   #11
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Wonderful article! I wonder when Joy Baur will feature this on the Today Show?
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:30 AM   #12
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Great article, thanks!
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:51 AM   #13
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The article completely misses the mark in its conclusions. It truly is all about calories in, calories out - it always has been, always will be. Certain diets have a metabolic advantage which allows you to burn more calories - but that is still calories in vs calories out.

I am not a proponent of "low calorie" diets - mainly because most people's definition of low calorie is restricting calories to the point of sending the body into the starvation mode, which is when the body starts to re-absorb muscle mass and alter hormone levels to slow metabolism - in an effort to make calories out match what is coming in (calories in, calories out) You want to have a small caloric deficit, but you cannot take that deficit to extremes. Problem is you cannot pick a number out of your hat and think that is right for you... 800-1200 a day is ridiculous for most poeple. It takes trial and error to discover what is really your number, but we do all have a number.

When you properly nourish your body with foods that are high in nutrients - like veggies, healthy proteins and healthy fats - your body will lose fat... because high nutrient foods are generally lower in calories than their highly processed counterparts.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:57 AM   #14
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I think this article assumes we are machines and all have the same metabolism. We do not.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:59 AM   #15
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I agree with Kajun and Magicsmom on this.
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:41 PM   #16
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While some form of "the energy from food in compared to the energy you use for all metabolic processes, including exercise, will determine whether you gain or lose weight" is no doubt true, calories are way too simple.

The minute you start studying all the complex processes for digesting the various nutrients, primarily fat, protein, utilizable carbohydrates, and soluable fiber, you immediately realize that counting all these things with "calories" is oversimplified and misleading.

Calories are basically defined as a unit of heat, how much a specific amount of water will go up in temperature from the energy of burning a food. Well, our bodies don't burn food, despite our using that term metaphorically sometimes. We break the molecules down and get nutrients from them in a zillion different processes.

If you went by a strict definition of calories, think how many calories sawdust would have! And yet we all know that since the main component of sawdust, cellulose, is not digestible by humans, sawdust doesn't have calories in any meaningful way when we talk about human diet.

Now theoretically when the USDA did their calorie testing they took out the amount of energy that would be used digesting a given food, which is interesting and obviously a big estimate right there...

Fiber is a good example of how inaccurate calories are. Soluble fiber is counted at the standard 4 calories per gram, while actual research shows it contributes more like 2 calories per gram. It's complicated because the contribution it makes is through fermentation, not directly.

Inulin is a type of fiber that has 25-30% of the energy value of other carbs. But since it's grouped in with carbs, it will be valued at 4 cal/gram rather than the correct 1 cal/gram.

Insoluble fiber like wheat bran isn't digested at all and has no calories, but it is counted in confusing ways on labels both from one country to another and in the US.

Anyway, calories are a ballpark measure that can be a useful guideline for determining what to eat, but we shouldn't think they are a foolproof system!
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