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Calories in vs. Calories out "debunked" article


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So..after telling someone that to lose weight, they'd need to stay at a caloric deficit and probably should track their calories, the reply was "that's wrong, and a gross oversimplification and a calorie is not a calorie" and I've got shown this article:

 

http://authoritynutrition.com/debunking-the-calorie-myth/

 

In the end, I feel that nothing in the article states otherwise, it's just a lot of elaborating on things that are either obvious (caloric density) or a lot of bullshit (comparing eating with breathing) or ignorant (fructose = bad...yeah if you don't use it!!1..ffs), but I'd love to know what you think about it.

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Here's a recent scientific review of the subject: Increasing Adiposity: Consequence or Cause of Overeating? It's not a new idea, but one that has been starting to get more attention recently.

 

Cutting calories will help you lose weight - in the short term. But most people don't keep it off for long.

 

I don't think the breathing comparison is bullshit, but perhaps they could have found a better analogy. The point they're trying to make is, eventually, you'll stop paying as much attention to what you eat.

 

Counting calories is not a bad thing - but working to improve the overall quality of your diet while you're doing that (e.g. more veggies, less refined carbs, etc) is probably a good thing.

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The issue people have with keeping weight off is that they think that it is a one and done proposition. If people approached weight as something to be managed cyclically, whether training for better body composition or not, then weight wouldn't have get half the press that it does. Balance needs to be struck. You can either manage your diet from day to day by tracking or eating a diet low in calorie density, or you can cut when you start getting fat and start eating more when you are down where you want to be.

 

The majority of the press given to weight loss is directed at "normal" people. Normals don't understand that sometimes you will suffer for goals, and that anything worthwhile is going to take both a lot of time and a lot of discomfort. They bite on any worm that's dangling in front of them that guarantees they can have their results without it sucking one little bit. All of the fads, whether it is the paleo craze or fructose being the devil, intermittent fasting or veganism all miss the mark somewhere. Like training, how one fuels themselves is something that needs to be learned and experimented with. To take someone else's template and use it verbatim without a single modification is just closed-minded. Anyone who spouts the gospel of Sisson is doing exactly that.

 

One calorie is enough energy to heat 1cc of water by 1 degree centigrade. Period. End of fucking story. There is more to nutrition than this simple fact, but there is nothing more to weight loss. If a body requires 2200 calories to complete 24 hours worth of tasks, but only takes in 1500 calories of fuel, the extra 700 is coming from somewhere. That is a fact. I don't care if the 1500 calories were of grass fed beef and organic greens, or mechancially separated chicken hot dogs and baked beans washed down with a frosty cold Mountain Dew. The body cannot continue functioning without that 700 additional calories. You are not a unique snowflake, and you do not defy the laws of physics or biology.

 

Edited for content

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Google "gnolls.org a calorie is not a calorie." It's at least a six part series, heavily cited and sourced.

I would love to see someone write the exact same thing, except a calorie is a calorie, and push for well over 10K legit source studies to back up their case. Heck it could get a lot more source material than that.

People just don't get how ridiculously proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the calorie is a calorie side of the debate is.

Our world is prone to false equivalency, making lopsided debates seem like actual legit debates. This is one of those places.

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I would love to see someone write the exact same thing, except a calorie is a calorie, and push for well over 10K legit source studies to back up their case. Heck it could get a lot more source material than that.

People just don't get how ridiculously proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the calorie is a calorie side of the debate is.

Our world is prone to false equivalency, making lopsided debates seem like actual legit debates. This is one of those places.

 

Do you even creationism, bro?

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I would love to see someone write the exact same thing, except a calorie is a calorie, and push for well over 10K legit source studies to back up their case. Heck it could get a lot more source material than that.

People just don't get how ridiculously proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the calorie is a calorie side of the debate is.

Our world is prone to false equivalency, making lopsided debates seem like actual legit debates. This is one of those places.

I can tell you haven't looked up the material on Gnolls and that you don't want to entertain a thought different than what you already believe even if it stands some chance of being true.

 

That's disappointing. Of all people, I'd expect "nerds" to be a little more intellectually honest than that.

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Intellectually honest. Puhleeeze.

Do you even remotely grasp how many hours I've put in studying diet? I'm long past the point of even bothering to read anything that isn't straight up science (as in actually published in a journal) because that's where interesting things come from.

Ge back to me when someone can do a meta-analsysis disproving that a calorie is a calorie and actually have it published.

And yes I did see that series. It is laughably bad. Sorry. Way, way, way undercited, contradictions, population studies, etc..., basically points to an at best severely limited understanding of modern nutritional science, if not an outright shoehorning around a conclusion with zero understanding of modern nutritional science.

For real nutritional science you can:

- Read interpretations of it by people like Aragon or McDonald who are pretty much science commenters/interpreters (or this site I find fairly fascinating, though he is prone to a little BS at times: http://suppversity.blogspot.com/)

- Follow scientists directly (Twitter is your friend) to get their take on their science.

- Read science directly. The search function at pubmed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) works great.

- Check out science conglomerations like the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (http://www.gssiweb.org/).

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Waldo- you crack me up with how absolute your knowledge is. CICO is not some end all authority on nutrition. Just as the amount and quality of your workout is important, so is the amount and quality of your food. You are in a minority in the nutrition community that believes in strict CICO

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I don't have a horse in the CICO race, but bad science makes me cringe. Several of the gnolls.org sources lead to source-free web pages. Several lead directly to published journal articles that have little to do with the arguments they are being used to support. At least one (texture is more important than macronurients in Part II) seem like complete non-sequiters.

 

 

Long story short, feel free to state that a calorie is not a calorie, and continue providing scientific evidence, but DO NOT use that poorly researched and poorly constructed gnolls.org series. It is a very unreliable source.

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Waldo- you crack me up with how absolute your knowledge is. CICO is not some end all authority on nutrition. Just as the amount and quality of your workout is important, so is the amount and quality of your food. You are in a minority in the nutrition community that believes in strict CICO

Really, find one, just one, study that can actually prove that food "quality" matters.

Strict CICO is widely believed to be true. It is also held to be true that CO is a variable value.

This right here is the best description that I know of for how the body actually works with regard to energy intake and expenditure:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/62/4/820.long

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Really, find one, just one, study that can actually prove that food "quality" matters.

Strict CICO is widely believed to be true. It is also held to be true that CO is a variable value.

This right here is the best description that I know of for how the body actually works with regard to energy intake and expenditure:

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/62/4/820.long

Find a study that shows that food quality matters.....Are you kidding me?  That's a joke, right?  

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Find a study that shows that food quality matters.....Are you kidding me?  That's a joke, right?  

 

I'm interested in reading something that says the carbs from a sweet potato are different than the carbs from bread, or that grass fed beef is processed differently than traditionally raised beef. Find me data on anything positively correlated to an "unhealthy" diet that has been corrected for anorexia and obesity. I want so bad to believe that the meat that I kill for, the vegetables I grow and store, and the food I cook with the best ingredients is somehow benefitting me more than buying something off the shelf of lower quality. I have not found that data point yet.

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You're not wrong that the types of food you choose matter, rjanke; it's just that if you control for their content, the source doesn't matter.  That said, it may be hard to get everything your body needs in the quantities it needs if you only ate junk food.  But if you did watch the overall content, you'd reap the same benefits.

 

And organic isn't necessarily pesticide-free, just to nitpick.

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Going back to the beginning of this thread...

 

The reality is that for the vast majority of people (especially the people that use these articles as justification for not cutting calories to lose weight), this whole debate is largely if not entirely irrelevant. There are very knowledgeable people on both sides of the debate on whether calorie source matters, but I don't know of anyone who I remotely trust that says that the average person doesn't need to create a caloric deficit in some way to lose significant amounts of fat. Going from "a calorie is a calorie and creating a caloric deficit is the only thing that matters aren't quite true" to "so I don't need to bother creating a caloric deficit because calories don't matter" is poor logic and a good sign that someone is looking for excuses. 

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I'm interested in reading something that says the carbs from a sweet potato are different than the carbs from bread, or that grass fed beef is processed differently than traditionally raised beef. Find me data on anything positively correlated to an "unhealthy" diet that has been corrected for anorexia and obesity. I want so bad to believe that the meat that I kill for, the vegetables I grow and store, and the food I cook with the best ingredients is somehow benefitting me more than buying something off the shelf of lower quality. I have not found that data point yet.

 

You'll be reaping the benefits long term.  It's expensive to perform a long term study to prove this, but i'm sure there are a few going on right now considering how quickly the organic, natural food market is growing.  Although the obvious answer is that your food would be free of antibiotics compromising your immune system, extra hormones, and fewer pesticides.  If that's how you are living now, than I find that admirable and very impressive.  

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You're not wrong that the types of food you choose matter, rjanke; it's just that if you control for their content, the source doesn't matter.  That said, it may be hard to get everything your body needs in the quantities it needs if you only ate junk food.  But if you did watch the overall content, you'd reap the same benefits.

 

And organic isn't necessarily pesticide-free, just to nitpick.

Yeah, unfortunately it's not, but the reduction in foreign chemicals and poisons to the body is definitely a good thing.  

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Oh. This again. I'll just leave this right here.

 

Nobody will ever "debunk" CICO, because nobody will ever debunk physics. An imbalance between calories in and calories out will cause a change in weight. Also, nobody will ever prove that eating margarine, whey, white sugar, and a multivitamin is more healthful than a diet made up primarily of lean meat and veggies. They will only ever prove that the first can cause a person to lose more weight if it is more heavily restricted.

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Yeah, unfortunately it's not, but the reduction in foreign chemicals and poisons to the body is definitely a good thing.

What makes you believe that is what organic means?

Often they have to use a lot more pesticides/herbicides/chemicals what have you because they aren't as effective.

Foreign; that's a good adjective to tag on, haven't heard that one used yet by adjective dieters.

Oh. This again. I'll just leave this right here.

Nobody will ever "debunk" CICO, because nobody will ever debunk physics. An imbalance between calories in and calories out will cause a change in weight. Also, nobody will ever prove that eating margarine, whey, white sugar, and a multivitamin is more healthful than a diet made up primarily of lean meat and veggies. They will only ever prove that the first can cause a person to lose more weight if it is more heavily restricted.

Its chemistry moreso than physics.

Gasp, macronutrients AND micronutrients are CHEMICALS

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