Why Calorie Counters are Confused

confused

We’ve all been brainwashed about calories.

A few years ago I believed it myself. Losing weight was exclusively about “consuming less calories than you expend”. The mantra was: “eat less, run more”.

Fat people’s problems – I believed – came from them eating more calories than they expended. They were gluttonous and slothful; they lacked strength of character, which meant that thin people like me had such strength of character. This was uplifting news to me, if a bit prejudiced.

This way of looking at things seemed so obvious and simple. Today however, more and more people realizing how inane it is. Soon we’ll look back and laugh at the silliness. 

The mistake

The following explanation may be difficult to understand if you’ve been brainwashed with the “calorie in, calorie out” logic. It takes time to digest the concept (it did for me, too).

Here’s what’s wrong with calorie obsession: It’s absolutely meaningsless. It may seem logical and smart, but in fact it says naught, zip and nothing.

A typical example:
cal11
This sounds plausible, sure. But what does it really tell us? The fact that an excess of calories will cause weight gain is obvious. Really, it’s obvious to the point of the two things actually being one and the same. An excess of calories is simply the same thing as weight gain. When you realise this, you realise how the statement loses all substance:

cal12
This is plainly meaningless. It may be true, sure, but it’s devoid of any valuable information. It doesn’t say anything about the real causes of obesity.

Other generic statements from calorie fundamentalists include:
calorie3
As a calorie deficit is equivalent to weight loss, we can expose this flawed proposition as well:
calorie4
Again: a statement so obvious it becomes useless.

Comedy or tragedy?

This brainwashing would have been comical, had it not been for the tragic consequences. When a person with weight issues seeks the professional help of calorie experts today, they often end up hearing the following:

doctor

“Now now. There are many ideas about diets, fad diets and other things, but it’s really very simple. There is only one way. Forget everything else – there are no shortcuts. It doesn’t matter what you eat. Let me tell you: the only thing you need to focus on if you want to be thinner… Is to lose weight.”

Finally

Here’s what it would look like if people solved their maths problems by applying the same thought patterns as calorie believers do:

findx

A little too simple, you’ll surely agree! This is as gross a simplification as believing that obesity simply results from excess calories.

Although many people are now realizing that the calorie paradigm being fed to us is meaningless, there’s still a long way to go. The believers are so convinced that they can’t see how redundant the reasoning is. The problem is they’re still brainwashed.

A better way

Here’s better (free) advice on losing weight. No calorie counting or hunger needed!

More about the free updates that people get.

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Will LCHF Work Long-Term? Say, After Four Years? 117
Discovering Airline Diabetic Meal 109
LCHF on the Front Cover of US Magazine 93
Weight Watchers’ New Sweet Campaign 37
Get Your Hormones Checked and Lose Weight 19
right

59 Comments

Top Comment

  1. Atkins is "a" low-carb diet, but not the one I was following. Most people following Atkins are still "fat fearing", and replace the carbs with protein. In the long run, that won't work. You should aim for one gram of protein per kilogram of lean muscle mass (about 1 gram per 2 pounds of body weight will be close enough). And also aim for no more than 50g of carbs in a day, although if you spread it out a bit, 75 is ok (just not all at once). Everything else should be *enough* healthy fats to avoid being hungry, so you're not tempted to cheat. Avoid oxidized omega 6, found in the seed oils (canola, soy, corn), and of course trans fat. Everything else is fair game. Avoid "lean" cuts of meat, and anything that has "reduced fat" or "diet" or "low fat" on the label.
    Read more →

All Comments

  1. Peter Andersson
    Were talking with my GF today about her medication and we got to the subject that many says that they gain weight while on different medicine, so how many calories are there really in birth-control pills if calorie in/out is the only truth? :D
  2. chuck
    you need to distinguish even further. weight gain is not a problem. gaining weight does not make you obese. weight is nothing but a measure of the gravitational pull upon an object. it tells us nothing about the composition of the object.

    gaining fat is the cause of obesity.

  3. It's a tautology.

    A person who has gained too much weight is [or equals] a person who eats more than they burn.

    If they are the same, then you can logically say a person weighs too much because they weight too much, or they eat too much because they eat too much. Pointless.

    The implied cause is mental weakness: we aren't mentally tough or disciplined. Yet the US Marine Corp -- arguably the most disciplined group on the planet (jokes aside) -- suffers similar obesity rates as the rest of America. How can that be?

    The evidence against the mental deficiency argument is so overwhelming that anybody with any sort of mental toughness should be able to see it. The conclusion is clear and the same: yes, mentally deficient people are causing obesity, but it's by not correctly identifying the correct cause and by directing people to eat bad food.

    *sigh* Back to my coffee with whipping cream and coconut oil.

  4. Buzz
    After three months on Atkins induction, I never lost but actually gained 5 lbs. My doctor, a low carb expert, and someone the doc here knows, suggested I cut calories.

    So who are we to believe?

    I really want low carb to work. And I hear from lots of people who are successful. But for those of us who are not successful eating low carb, we seem to be pushed to the side and ignored. It's like we're making the so called "experts" look bad.

    How about helping us by trying to figure out why the diet doesn't work rather than blaming us for ruining your theory.

    Replies: #5, #6, #28
  5. FrankG
    @Buzz: in order to help you, would you be willing to share how much excess fat mass you had/have and for how long you've had it? And what were you eating and drinking during the three months of Atkins induction?

    Also (although I didn't read the above blog post as saying calorie restriction cannot help with reducing excess fat mass) can you say if it helped in your case and by how much... and if it did help, for how long have you kept off the excess fat mass?

  6. chuck
    buzz:
    did you do before and after body fat tests? did you change your exercise? are you certain you did not put on muscle?
  7. jake
    if you want to call it a tautology, fine, at least you acknowledge that it's true. people take this to mean that they can eat as many calories as they want, as long as they limit carbohydrate, and they'll still lose weight. that's about the stupidest conclusion you could reach from something that's admittedly tautologous.
  8. Atkins is "a" low-carb diet, but not the one I was following. Most people following Atkins are still "fat fearing", and replace the carbs with protein. In the long run, that won't work. You should aim for one gram of protein per kilogram of lean muscle mass (about 1 gram per 2 pounds of body weight will be close enough). And also aim for no more than 50g of carbs in a day, although if you spread it out a bit, 75 is ok (just not all at once). Everything else should be *enough* healthy fats to avoid being hungry, so you're not tempted to cheat. Avoid oxidized omega 6, found in the seed oils (canola, soy, corn), and of course trans fat. Everything else is fair game. Avoid "lean" cuts of meat, and anything that has "reduced fat" or "diet" or "low fat" on the label.
  9. Buzz
    I have 100 lbs, at least, to lose. I've been heavy on and off all my life. During induction I followed a diet of no more than 20g of carbs/day (real carbs not net carbs), about 70% fat, and about 25% protein. Even cutting back a little on calories didn't help.

    My doctor told me to do little exercise as he felt it would raise my hunger levels so I know I didn't gain muscle. My blood tests and thyroid tests were normal. I am diabetic but my blood sugar levels are now below 100 fasting and my last a1c was 6.5

    I tested for ketosis using a blood test and only once in three months went over 1.0

    I'm 55 and weigh around 300 lbs. This the heaviest weight I've ever been. I weighed this 10 years ago, lost 80 pounds on low fat/high carb but gained it back within a couple of years. I've stopped all medication even vitamins.

    My waist circumference hasn't changed in three months.

    I eat only real food--no preservatives or chemicals--and only use butter or olive oil as added fat. I eat fatty cuts of meat, skin on poultry, and full fat dairy. I kept track of what I was eating and consumed about 2200 calories/day on average. My doc said go down to 1500 and to even fast completely every few days.

    Replies: #10, #18, #35
  10. Zepp
    As a diabetic you have not much of choise what to eat anyway!

    The truble seams to be that your body dont want to use fat as a fuel, not more then it did befor anyway.

    If you didnt get more ketosis in the induction it seems to indicate that.

    You know many get high ketosis in the beginning only from the fat they eat!

    It seems that your body is almoste living om what you eat and not taking anything from fat cells.

    Could be that it have to adapt some more, but it should have don this alredy?

    The thing is that if one lose weight, then one have eaten less then one use, and the normal outcome of a low carb high fat diet for one how is obese is to get a lower apetite.

    If one need 2200 Kcal a day and only eat 1700 kcal then the body take 500 from adiopose tissuie.

    Almoste everyone can starv the weight down.. but it almoste make ones energy expenditure to get lower.. so the trick is to make ones body to expend more and take some from adiopose tissuie.

    For some it can take a long time, perticuly if ones body is used to work on high blood sugar.

    I presume that there is taken a C-peptide test?

  11. tess
    Buzz, if you've been heavy on and off during your life, that implies you've tried a lot of diets. i've been there and done that too, i've never been very much overweight (below 30 bmi), but am hypothyroid and a couple of years older than you. i have to restrict my carbs and very carefully choose the ones i do eat in order to lose -- in fact i do best on "zero carb" (a misnomer, because there is no such thing). so i understand your frustration!

    could you be hyperinsulinemic? you know that fat CAN'T burn in the presence of too much insulin....

  12. Buzz
    My insulin level at my last blood test, which was non-fasting, was 23.5. The normal range was up to 23 so it really wasn't that high.

    I'm as confused as anyone as to why I'm not losing.

  13. Janknitz
    "My blood tests and thyroid tests were normal." Buzz, I always question this statement. Doctors in the US tend to test TSH and maybe T4, but they don't do thorough thyroid testing. And often the TSH does indicate a problem, but it's not recognized by the physician because the lab norm for a "normal" TSH is usually 5.0. Most endocrinologists say it should be 2.0 or below. So your primary care physician may tell you your thyroid is normal when it is really not.

    It sounds like you could benefit from a good functional medicine doctor or a naturopath who will look closely at all the systems and give some suggestions on what may work. Most importantly, a doctor who will do a very thorough thyroid evaluation, including antibodies, free T3 and free T4, and reverse T3, and treat accordingly as indicated by the results of these tests. Even some endocrinologists (too many!) don't believe that these tests are useful or meaningful. But other practitioners look very closely at these and treat accordingly with good results.

    Dr. Atkins describes certain people are "metabolically resistant" to losing weight, and the Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution book describes a "fat fast" to see if you are metabolically resistant or not--it consists of 1000/cal per day of only fat. It's not meant to be long term, just a few days to test out the system. His theory is that most people are not metabolically resistant and the fat fast will start weight moving along. But I'm not sure he addresses what to do if you don't lose weight even on that regimen.

  14. Buzz
    My TSH was 1.3

    My T4 and Free T3 were both in the normal range.

    I asked my doctor about the fat fast and he said I could try it.

    I have copies of all of my tests. I don't just go by "what the doctor tells me."

  15. Katie
    in english, we might call this a "tautology" -- "needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word."
  16. Bev
    Buzz,
    Take a look at your stress levels and sleep patterns. My housemate and I have been eating almost identical meals for two years and I have lost fat and he has not. We know that he has a lot of stress and sleeps poorly from sleep apnea, and that is the biggest difference. Next weekend he gets his c-pap recalibrated and a mask better fitted to his face and we expect that to make a difference.
  17. Murray
    It is gratifying to read someone finally outing the tautology. Scientists and those in the medical profession seem to read too little literature and philosophy. The calorie tautology reminds me of moliere's comical virtus dormativa in The Imaginary Invalid and Nietzsche's expose, The Four Great Errors in Twilight of the Idols. Sure a tautology is true. It simply has no information content, no operational guidance. Hence the obesity epidemic. When one relies on the intelectual capital of six word slogans, one gets a proportionate return on investment. Metabolics is a lot more complex.
  18. FrankG
    @Buzz thank you for the detailed response.. I'm gratified to see that you have already been offered some suggestions.

    Your situation does seem unusual and perhaps LCHF is not for you, although as fellow Type 2 D I'd suggest that restricting carbs is still the best way to manage BGs.

    I wonder what if any, meds you are on to manage your BGs? Are you injecting insulin, or do any of your meds to encourage insulin secretion?

    The only dietary advice I can offer is from my own experience: which I realised independently while reading Gray Taubes' GC,BC -- I did not read Atkins until later and to be honest I was not overly impressed with that book. On this topic I'd also suggest reading Dr Richard K. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution, parts of which can be read for free on-line http://www.diabetes-book.com/ and http://www.diabetes-book.com/readit.shtml

    Anyhow my approach was not to gradually decrease carbs, as some prefer but to go "cold turkey" for the first few weeks... basically ANYTHING that listed greater that 1g carbs per serving was off the menu... apart from that I ate freely. I felt that this (what some might call extreme) approach was necessary to retrain my body or to kick-start the fat metabolism which had effectively lain dormant for so many years.

    I wish you success.. even if the weight loss does not happen easily I'm still confident that an LCHF approach is generally best for managing your overall health, especially Diabetes.

    Reply: #20
  19. Becky reusnow
    What do your meals look like on a fat fast? What do you use for a day of fat fast?
    Reply: #21
  20. Buzz
    I take no meds to control BG. I do it strictly by a low carb diet. In fact, I've stopped all medications to see if that had any affect on my weight loss. (None).

    I've read all the low-carb books: Atkins, Taubes, Bernstein, etc.

    What I've realized is that every low carb expert has their own opinion based on how they interpret data.

    What I'm going to do is:

    1) Keep track of everything I eat.
    2) Count calories. (I know this goes against the grain of the so called "experts" but the so called "experts" haven't been able to help me.)
    3) Increase exercise. (Again, this goes against the "experts" advice.) I don't mean spending hours in the gym. I'm just going to take longer walks.

    We are all different. There is no one diet, whether it be low carb, low fat, paleo, etc., that works exactly the same for everyone. It's a matter of trial and error.

    I believe total calories do count. If I take in more than my body burns, I'll gain weight. However, the make up of those calories also has an effect on metabolism. A diet made up of high carbs will have a different effect than a diet made up of low carbs.

    What I have started to do is observe how thinner people and cultures eat. I've found almost unanimously the following:

    1) They eat smaller portions.
    2) They spread their meals out to take up more time.
    3) They eat real food.
    4) They don't obsess about weight and enjoy their meals. They don't eliminate entire food groups but keep certain items, such as sugar, as only occasional treats.
    5) Countries that are more apt to have wine drinkers are thinner than countries more apt to have beer drinkers.

    My friends in France and Italy who eat in a traditional manner meaning three meals a day, no snacking, fresh foods, bread at every meal, wine daily--don't gain weight. Their kids, who have started snacking, eating junk, eating processed foods, just like Americans, are gaining weight.

    Thanks...I'm off my soapbox now.

    Replies: #23, #54
  21. Buzz
    My doctor said for the fat fast I should limit myself to 1000 calories per day and eat only cream cheese and macadamia nuts.
  22. Zepp
    Fat fast, is like ordinary fasting.. but one eat high fat, insted of the usual vegetabel juices!

    Verry greasy, restricted on vegetabels, dairy and others, minimum of protein to.

    It get calorie restricted by natur.. not by purpose.

    Its more like to se if there are any foodstuff that cause that one dont lose weight.

  23. FrankG
    I don't have an issue with counting calories, it is just another number which provides feedback on "how I am doing"... like keeping track of my BG, or how many MPG I get out of my car

    I see the point of this blog post to underline the tautology of constantly re-stating that is in order to lose weight you need to store less. This is redundant and so far as I am concerned, does not help bur rather gets in the way of those genuinely trying to shed excess fat mass. It leads into judgmental discussions about "will power", hedonism etc... leaving the obese feeling guilty for their on moral failings. While those who can magically manage this balance feel morally superior to the rest of us.

    Find what works for you and stick with it. My own approach has been that I am in charge of my own health care team... I'll listen to advice from others but I am the "expert" on me. Of course this also means that I take full responsibility if things do not work out as I had hoped.

    In terms of physical activity I found that came naturally. I no longer have a gym membership nor do I have to drag my sorry as$$ down there, fighting my body's every instinct to flog myself on a treadmill. I go for long walks, taking photographs and bird-watching mostly but I get out and enjoy nature... sometimes hiking all day. Or when forced (by my work) to sit in front of a computer I fidget and feel the need to get up and move often... I have weights by my couch at home and will work on my upper body while watching TV (for example) I don't sit still for long these days but I am not consciously aware of forcing myself to be active.. it just started to happen naturally again :-)

  24. Magnus
    Buzz - Do you eat when you're hungry or do you eat regularly according to old patterns you're used to?

    I've never had to lose as much weight as you, my BMI was 27 at its highest. Now it's 22. But, i noticed that I ate far less when I was losing weight (on LCHF) than without. But I plateau'd a couple of times. I figured I ate too much fat, and was eating according to old patterns, like lunch at noon and dinner in the evening. I can easily eat too much if the meals are too close to each other and they are too rich in calories.

    However, the calorie rule is true. You need to eat less calories to lose weight. The trick is to replace some of the energy intake with the stored energy, but without getting hunger sensations too early. You do have a lot of body fat that you should lose (=use=burn), meaning you probably do not have to eat as much fat as you do (70E-%). At my first plateau, I stopped eating excess fat, and started losing again. I still ate full-fat food of course, but not more fat in total than what I figured was enough to keep the food tasty. (However still VERY tasty, I consume rather large amounts of butter, cheese and cream still today). But I left out for instance the 10% yoghurt and excess eggs for breakfast, and started eating more vegetables. That way my hunger sensations was much better in line with my eating habits, with breakfast in the morning, lunch at noon and dinner in the evening. I tried skipping lunches when I was eating that 10% yoghurt and 3 eggs for breakfast, and I managed that quite well but I didn't enjoy it.

    As I said above, I can overeat very easily. I can have a large and very satiating LCHF meal and very soon (1-2h) after eat a similar meal again, several hours before I actually would get hungry. I have no problem eating when satiated but only when my stomach obviously is too full to receive more food. That, in combination with me loving pasta and bread made me eat far too much and gain.

    I'm not saying that you function exactly as I do, but I think it's worth to share my experiences anyway. I did start to lose weight easily on strict LCHF, but to reach the weight I have today I had to really think through what I ate and actually increase the carb percentage of my energy intake.

    The last plateau I passed when I suddenly started to feel very bad in my stomach after some meals, and I noticed it was the boiled eggs that caused it. When I stopped eating them (for breakfast) I started eating more finncrisps and carbs, and lost 3-4kg more quite quickly. Nowadays I'm probably eating 50-100g of carbs a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. But I stay lean and I'm on a weight I'm very happy with, and feel great overall. Very strict LCHF is not for me, but I strongly believe in low carb as a way to live healthy for the rest of my life.

  25. Buzz
    Thanks to everyone who posted.

    Ultimately, I think the answer is I have to find out what works for me. There are lots of different thoughts and ideas when it comes to low carb yet none are really written in stone. I have to keep experimenting until I find what works for me.

    I will continue to eat in a low carb fashion strictly because I prefer that to keep my bg low rather than take meds. I need to find out what that carb level is and work around it. I also find I have more energy when I eat low carb but sleep better when my carb level isn't ultra-low.

    Reply: #37
  26. Angie
    I've been overweight most my life but I was the proverbial couch potato and my mom used to buy me boxed breakfast cereal and bars and drinks. I walked to school and back which was a mile both ways. My mom cooked the basic tuna and noodles, mac and cheese, beef and noodles, lots of potatoes because these were cheap products and fillers. I have found since graduation that I wasnt getting the 2 miles of walk, but I was not eating the sugar breakfast, I cut that out completely because eating breakfast when I was young made me feel sick all morning. I looked at what I was doing as a younger person and changed it pretty radically...
    I was gaining weight at the rate of 5-10lbs a year...
    I deceided to start eating breakfast, I would get up drink two glasses of cold water or 1 16oz bottle of cold water while making some eggs...I think that eggs helps me to stay full longer and I eat 3-4 scrambled each morning....as a snack I grab some almonds and a chunck of 86% cocoa chocolate and for dinner I make meat and vegtables...I stopped noodles and bread and any sugary drinks and limit to coffee or tea and I stopped eating out...most of the places that you can eat fast food have that pink slime in their products that cause bad health problems anyway..I added taking a teaspoon natural bee pollen not pill formed, to add vit and minerals into my diet and I started taking probiotic pearls....I started chewing more and getting more saliva mixed in before swallowing...for exercise started to do squats because they work most of your muscles on your lower half even with my bad knees starting out with only a few and have worked up to about 100 , I wanted to make muscle and burn with my muscle I found that they can actually make your lower back feel better too and then start walking just like I did as a kid a couple miles a day it started as around the block and I worked my way up to 6 miles every other day...I added small weights to gain back muscle tone in arms. I started losing weight and I have maintained pretty well but I have reached a plateau... I have lost 67 pounds doing this but I am still at 220...its winter and I gained back 10 pounds in 4 months because of not being able to walk but I have maintained the squats and weights or I think it would be more....I have reciently started walking on a tredmill at the local gym so that the snow is not a factor anymore but have not made any progress with continued weight loss...I've seen though all this where my weight goes up by a pound or two but then shoots down pretty quick in the beginning and that would be muscle gain and fat loss....but Im kind of stuck I've tried more food less food more weights more reps of squats....nothing seems to be helping and I still dont eat processed food or drinks and limit juice to a half cup every once in a great while...I think that I am confusing my body somehow any ideas I am willing to try ....I dont take any meds and the machine at walmart says that my bloodpressure is 118/67 and I am 43 years old most of my weight is located on my gut and on between the bra straps on my back....any Ideas would be welcome...90 lbs to go
    Reply: #36
  27. Uncle Buck
    Buzz is a troll, please ignore him. He has posted his message that LCHF don't work and how he believes we should eat in post 20. Post 20 is his real message.
    Reply: #30
  28. Sabine
    @ buzz Try VERY LOW CARB and VERY HIGH FAT (read labels: most store bought food is adulterated with carbs and fillers). Restaurant meals are a problem, as they add sugars to everything. Beware of all hidden carbs. Even one meal with too many carbohydrates can set you back for many weeks. Stick to a very low carb and very high fat diet for a few months and watch the miracle happen. Caution: you most likely have to keep this up for the rest of your life. Find yummy recipes and food, that you will LIKE to live with for the rest of your life, so you will not be tempted to cheat. (I always bring my own food, everywhere!) Stay away from all sweet tastes (even if it is low-carb), as even just the taste can trigger cravings and hunger. How about 200 grams of bacon topped with lots of high fat cheese? Low sugar gravelax (homemade) with avocado, small piece of halibutt fried in butter with hollandaise (lots of hollandaise)? Cabbage carbonara (a little cabbage with a LOT of carbonara and cheese)? (Just some suggestions).

    Good luck and happy losing weight. And eat fat (but not carbs and protein) until you are full, no calorie counting necessary, even if it is necessary to eat a whole pound of bacon with cheese topping in one sitting. The appetite/hunger will go back to less extreme proportions after a while. be patient and DON"T CHEAT (EVER!). (try 20-30 grams of carb per day, including fibre, 50 grams of protein)

  29. IMO: I don't see anything wrong with being aware of how many calories you are ingesting and trying to correlate that with what direction the scale is going in, but far too often I see newcomers to the keto/LCHF way of eating be told that to start, they need to find their BMR, use the Harris-Benedict Equation to determine their minimal caloric intake, and then eat at a 500calorie/day deficit.

    Before you know it these people are Intermittent Fasting on a 23/1 schedule and consuming frighteningly little energy.

    This calorie counting approach is usually advised in the same breath as, "the only reason that keto/LCHF works is because it diminishes appetite so you run a caloric deficit". There's nary a mention that this is not settled science and that there is disagreement amongst researchers and professionals about CICO, Keto/LCHF, food reward theory, exercise and the mechanics of weight loss.

    This seems to massively over-complicate something that for many people could be as simple as, "Try eating the right foods (HFLC). Eat when hungry. Eat until sated. See what happens. Adjust as necessary"

    Sure, a calorie is a calorie when you're burning them in a calorimeter...but metabolizing them is a different story entirely.

    Reply: #31
  30. Buzz
    I'm sorry, Uncle Buck, I forgot, you can't stand the Idea of anyone going off message. Either they are following "the rules" 100% or they are trying to destroy your beliefs.

    I see, in some of your other posts, you wan the "dietdoctor" to continue his "preaching." So, I guess anyone who has questions, or problems with the diet not working, is going against your beliefs and must be stopped at all costs.

    I don't see it as preaching. I see it as helping to educate us. We can then use that information to help ourselves either blindly like you do, whether it works or not, or by modifying it to what does work.

    It's sad you can't have your own thoughts. Instead of being a religious zealot, you're a LCHF zealot where the "gospel of low carb" must be accepted without question.

    Reply: #32
  31. Buzz
    You're exactly right. The best way is to "eat when hungry, eat until sated." That's how people without weight issues eat.

    However, there are many people struggling with weight that eat for so many reasons other than hunger that those signals have either become whispers or are not known at all. They need to be relearned.

    So many dieters are dealing with emotional eating issues such as stress eating, binge eating and the like, that even following the strictest of LCHF diets doesn't bring them success.

    LCHF is a healthy way of eating. When people are completely tuned into their hunger signals, then there will be no need to keep a record or count of calories; the body will regulate itself.

    If you talk to a fitness trainer or exercise physiologist, they'll say the most important component is exercise. If you talk to a psychologist, they'll say the most important component to weight loss is dealing with your emotional issues. If you talk to a doctor, nutritionist or scientist, they say the food intake, both type and amount, is the most important issue.(I mentioned issues with emotional eating to my doctor who does research into low carb diets and his eyes literally glazed over. He didn't want to hear it since I couldn't produce scientific research. :) )

    The truth is all three are important. When they are all dealt with, each component contributes to weight loss success.

    For most people eating a LCHF diet, dealing with emotional eating, and adding some physical activity into their lives, will see success in terms of weight loss.

  32. Zepp
    Buzz, I weight about half of you and eats about 2200 Kcal.. you are on calorie defiency alredy.

    So if the calories is the problems.. its more about that you eat to little.

    But I happen to know others like you from our swedish forum.. you are not alone.

    What one can say is, that something is wrong, you should lose weight on that energy consumption, your blood sugar levels, your thyroid levels and insulin levels.

    And there are other problems to, that can make one gain fat storage, those how have fat storage disturbances, but this is verry rare.. about one on 1,5 miljons.

    And they have other symptomes to.. they acumulate fat everywere, in the liver, lungs, muscles and all over the place.. they have a verry low or absent lipolysis.

    Soo.. there are other ways to be obese, low carb doesnt revert every condition, but as a diabetic you have to stick to it anyhow.

    The moste comon cause beside insulin related causes, is hypothyreos.

  33. Sabine
    @buzz I feel for you, and I really like you to succeed. So here some more:

    As for myself, it took me a long time to find out how to do low-carb PROPERLY. (you may want to read the book Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek wrote)

    The biggest obstacles to a high fat/low-carb diet for me have been of a logistical nature.
    1. Fat and fatty foods may be expensive (a high fat cheese that cost $5 2 years ago now costs $10.50)
    2. Healthy animal fats are sometimes difficult to obtain (the store has been out of butter after Christmas, and they have been out of double cream since Christmas)
    3. The agenda "out there" seems to be REDUCING FAT for the sheer heck of it, so high fat products are hard to find (the same mascarpone brand that used to boast 80% of fat and no carbs just 3 years ago now comes with 40% fat and, you will not believe this, High-fructose-corn-syrup as the third ingredient) (all cream cheeses at our store have corn-starch added to be able to reduce the fat-content)

    It takes some ingenuity and creativity, and some research, but as you are still interested and eager to find out, i have high hopes for you, that you will eventually arrive at a manageable solution for yourself.
    (regarding my previous post: do not obsess about the proteins, but know, that lean meats and fish definitely need to have extra fat - a lot of it- added in order to be healthful)

  34. Buzz
    Thanks to everyone for your ideas and thoughts.

    Well, all but one.

  35. Sabine
    @buzz

    Hello again Buzz. For us people with severe metabolic dysfunction related to carbohydrates, it may take a long time for the scale to change.
    Anyway, I had to do it and stick to it for more than two months before the results started. However, even though my weight stayed constant in the beginning, I noticed, that my shape changed. Slowly, very slowly, I was losing abdominal fat, THEN I was losing weight (AND GAINING MUSCLE by just everyday normal activity).

  36. FrankG
    @Angie: have you looked at the drop-down menu section at the top pf this page? Dr Andreas covers many of the basics up there. If you have any more specific follow up questions I'm sure there is plenty of help around here.
  37. Troy Wynn
    Have you ever considered eating protein (animal flesh, fish etc) only and let your fat come from your body? supplement the minerals and micro-nutrients? Basically, zero carb, very low fat, mainly protein. Which is a LCHF diet for you.
    Reply: #39
  38. CU
    The more I read Doc' articles, the more sense he makes.
  39. Buzz
    There's a reason why it's Low Carb High Fat and not Low Carb High Protein.

    Upwards of 50% of your protein intake, according to Dr. Atkins, gets converted to glucose (carbohydrate.) So increasing your protein intake actually also increases your carb/glucose intake. The more glucose you take in, the more insulin you make, and the more fat you store.

    There was a diet years ago, The Stillman Diet, that was exactly that. The reason people lost weight was they got sick of eating protein. Very hard to stay on long term.

    Reply: #41
  40. Sabine
    TO WHOEVER MENTIONED IT:

    I AGREE!

    Calorie restriction and starving yourself WILL BACKFIRE!
    EAT UNTIL FULL!
    Or your bodies will think they are starving and restrict burning in order to save us.
    The results are fatigue, bad mood, inability to lose weight........just to name a few.....

  41. Troy Wynn
    Not in your case. Your body fat is fat used for fuel. why must it come from dietary fat? It doesn't have to. Your body could care less where your fat comes from until you get lean enough that you have to up the dietary fat for energy. If you carry 180 lbs of body fat, that's plenty for you use for quite some time. Think about it.
    Reply: #44
  42. Sabine
    I agree Troy, as long as one is not hungry. I myself started out overeating (mostly fat) in order to keep severe cravings and hunger in check, all the while losing weight. After a while my hunger went away.

    ANOTHER MATTER:

    Hello Buzz again! Some believe that food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances can contribute to inflammation, autoimmune issues, increased stress hormone etc....these can interfere with brain function and damage the brain and other organs. Then there is bad bacterial overgrowth from years of sugars and starches. After removing all offending agents, it takes time for the body to heal and repair.
    It is assumed, that these factors may contribute to unsuccessful weight loss.
    Many people of Northern European and Asian descent are allergic to the various glutens. some to nuts, lactose, casein.............
    Most of these foods are not feasible on a low-carb diet anyway, and things like double cream, for example, can easily be replaced by coconut cream (tastes good too).

  43. grinch
    I don't think its meaningless.

    When you say that "Excess calories are the cause of obesity" is obvious, what makes it obvious? Some of your own followers claim that laws of thermodynamics don't apply to humans, so maybe its not so obvious. Maybe the decades of research spent trying to prove this hypothesis meant it wasn't so obvious.

    That statemeant is meaningful if one believes that a human has reasonable control over their calorie intake and expenditure such that they can willfully create a caloric deficit. That seems to be the belief of the people that say the key to weight loss is to "eat less, move more".

    So its only meaningless if you reject the hypothesis that lifestyle choices can influence calorie balance. Personally, I can't decide how much control I believe people really have, because I've seen people adopt active lifestyles and lose tons of weight and maintain it independent of their food choices. But at the same time I've seen people struggle and keep regaining no matter what they do. I really think the answer varies from person to person.

  44. FrankG
    @Troy -- "Think about it."

    That would all be well and good if this were simply a maths or physics experiment, unfortunately we are dealing here with human physiology.

    As Sabine rightly responds "as long as one is not hungry"...

    In the face of calorie restricted input the body will do what it can to hold onto and ration out existing stores -- after all it has evolved with no way of knowing how long this state of "famine" might last.

    BMR is reduced, fidgeting is cut back, motivation for physical activity is reduced (yes... biochemistry effects our behaviour) and body temperature may even go down a little -- all in an effort to reduce energy expenditure This has all been demonstrated over and over again.

    AND what has also been demonstrated is that this effect can persist long after the calorie-restriction has ended... the so-called "rebound" fat gain, often to even higher levels than baseline.

    Simplistic maths or physics do NOT apply in the real world to humans... we are not simple machines.

    This is why calorie-restricted diets have such a poor record in the long term... meantime we are seeing increasing numbers of folks eating LCHF, NOT being hungry and maintaining it easily over many years -- working WITH the body rather than fighting against it :-)

  45. sjm
    What a silly article. First you "crush" the two common statements because apparently they mean nothing, yet in your how to lose weight article you do exacty the same thing.

    >choose low carb diet
    Protein and fat makes you more satiated than carbs. Which makes you eat less. So in fact you are just telling people to eat less.

    >eat when hungry
    Meaning don't eat when not hungry meaning eat less.

    >eat real food
    As opposed to fake food?

    >avoid fruit
    Eat less x.

    >avoid beer
    Drink less y.

    Also you say that you think artificial sweeteners trigger insulin response and even did nice little test to prove. I'd expect you as a doctor not to pubilsh expreminents like this that were most likely not done to any reasonable scientific standard AND most defnitely are not peer reviewed.

    Also I'd like to ask if you actually have a postgraduate research degree in medicine as implied by calling yourself MD, because that's how the term is understood in most of the world (if you directly translate from certain languages into english a general physicia would indeed be called doctor of medicine, but surely you would not use such confusion for you benefit?) Because I couldn't find any published research from you and.

    Replies: #46, #47
  46. FrankG
    @sjm -- what a silly comment

    I sometimes wonder if there are people who are incapable of abstract thought.

    There is clearly a recognition that reducing excess fat mass requires storing less energy in fat cells but the examples you cite above are Dr Andreas telling one HOW to eat to achieve this -- practical suggestions instead of platitudes.

    Think of it this way: In order to save on my car's running cost I need to burn less petrol (gasoline).

    Can I achieve that by simply stating over and over again "I must use use less petrol" or do I need to recognise and understand how things like: the quality and cleanliness of the air cleaner, the tyre (tire) pressure and tread-wear, the way I drive etc... etc... all contribute to how efficiently my car runs and how much petrol I use?

    In the exact same way: simply telling people to "eat less, move more" without a recognition of how to help the body work efficiently is absurd and redundant.

    As for your thinly veiled attempt to discredit Dr Eenfeldt's credibility and professionalism I think I could care less about your opinion as an anonymous commenter. I'd stack his clinical expertise (with real human patients) against any mouse trials that are on offer out there.

  47. sjm,
    I don't think my arguments were clear enough to get the point across.

    Yes, obviously to lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. This however is meaningless, as it basically just says to lose weight you need to lose weight.

    My advice is meant to achieve a caloric deficit without a need for hunger, by making the body's hormonal regulation system work like it's meant to work. That will result in WANTING to eat less than you burn, if overweight. Basically WANTING to behave in a way that achieves weight loss.

    Regarding the term MD: The use differs from country to country. However in the US for example (where more than half of the readers of this blog live) you get an MD by going to medical school and becoming what's called a "doctor" (like me). What you are talking about is called a Ph.D. in the US.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Medicine

    Reply: #58
  48. Sabine
    A few quotes from "Food and Western Disease" by Staffan Lindberg.

    "one prospective cohort study......found that moderately high caloric intake was associated with LOWER total mortality in women, and a similar trend in men."

    ..."Two foods with identical caloric content do not necessarily transfer equal amounts of energy between different systems.........Highly relevant in this context is the finding in animal experiments of decreased body temperature on a low-calorie diet" (in other words we burn LESS calories if we eat less)

    This is what it is all about: you don't feed your body, then it will try to burn/use less, AND there is a difference depending on WHAT one eats, even if one eats highly caloric.

  49. Zepp
    Im soo inspired of traditional nutritial visdom.. so I aplyed that wisdom on world powerty!

    And the conclusion is that they only have to earn more and spend less.. then if we could get the message out the powerty is gone!

    So obvious, if they dont aplay to this.. they want to live there lifes in powerty?

  50. Sabine
    Did anybody notice that if they overeat they get hot?
    Did anybody notice the urge to move on a high calorie High-fat/low-carb diet?
    I eat as much as I like, and I stuff myself WITH HEALTHY FOOD as much as I like. My weight (118lbs at 5'8") does not even seem to be influenced now by how much I eat. It does not even matter if the right foods are chosen.

    While still on carbs I froze myself nearly to death every day, with short bursts of heat that lasted for 5 minutes after eating some more junk. Also always hungry, the real bad kind of hunger with sour mood and sweats. Always sick. I also was FAT.

    I have no desire to go back to this.

    Replies: #51, #52
  51. FrankG
    Most definitely Sabine ;-)

    Another experience was when living with the Inuit in Northern Canada: although they now "enjoy" many of our Western Industrialised Foods, many of those where I stayed still also "live off the land"... seals, arctic char, caribou, ptarmigan, even polar bears on occasion!

    Before any extended trip out in the cold of winter, they would be sure to eat their own "country food" as they called it, rather than the store-bought stuff... as they had found it was only this country food which kept them warm and full of energy when out in frigid temperatures.

  52. FrankG
    I might also add from my (highly unscientific but nonetheless) careful viewing of documentaries where teams are ascending Mount Everest: that while the "Europeans" (who of course take all the glory for the ascent) are "carb loading" on mar$ bars and pasta, the Sherpas -- who do all the heavy lifting between the various camps -- prefer to eat yak-meat fried in butter :-)
  53. grinch
    @Sabine

    Well my experience has been quite different than yours. I have always been physically active, but needed to lose some weight in order to perform better in my athletic endeavours. The problem for me has always been binge eating whenever I exercise. So I went very low carb for a while. I suddenly had better control over my eating and lost a good amount of weight. But let me tell you this had ZERO effect on my energy levels and ZERO effect on my overall daily calorie demands. In other words it appeared the only difference VLC made is that I sponteanously reduced my calorie intake. However after a while I started eating more again and gain a few pounds back. That's when I abanded the carb-insulin hypothesis. Instead I think my body's long-term homeostatic system kicked in and adapted to this change in diet, and ultimately wanted to drive me back up to my set point.

    Anyways my belief is that the people who have more success on LC diets are those who have more drastically changed their lifestyle. If you went from obese, sedentary, and eating pure junk to exercising moderately with a LC diet, you are going to feel much better/different than someone like me who was already physically active and only modestly overweight.

  54. What Atkins now says is that while most people are sufficiently satisfied on the high fat diet so as to spontaneously eat fewer calories than they need, many do eat enough fat calories to push them over their needs. I am one of those people who finds it easy to eat more calories than I need in an unrestricted setting.

    I suggest you read The Anderson Method by William Anderson, which is based on portion control and developing effective strategies rather than diet or exercise.

  55. Counting calories if fraud:

    Calorie off by as much as 80 % They are enormously innaccurate

    Nobody could consciously match the 12 MILLION or so calories ingested to expended over a decade, YET the BODY does it FOR US and far more accurately.

    Research from all over the world shows that people ( not actively trying to alter their weight) remain remarkably weight stable over a decade.

    Even when you are " counting calories " YOU'RE NOT.

  56. Rob
    Doc, how does a high fat low carb diet impact on someone suffering from a genetically inherited high cholesterol reading?
  57. Zepp
    Its dependant of wich geneticaly defiency one have!

    And its a garbage diagnose altso.. if they dont know way you have high cholesterol they say.. it must be geneticaly!

    Its quit simpel to find out if its thruth, by your self.. becuse then one or both of your parents have the same condition.

    If they dont have this.. its probably the more common, metabolic syndrome.

    I got this diagnosis to.. but its not that, becuse my cholesterole levels have droped from deadly high to nearly normal on a high fat diet!

    But in the begining it rised.. and first after 4 years it droped.

    Soo.. first.. do your parents have this.. did some of them die in there middel age from it.. and ask the doctor wich sort of it they think you have!

    And if one have the deadly sort.. one have high cholesteroles the whole life.. even as a kid!

    Soo.. you have to sort it out.

  58. Samantha
    @Doc
    Thank you in comment 47 for finally clarifying what you mean, because you had me really confused. I get the argument for argument's sake and see your point about being sold ideas that are meaningless, and changing the world one thought process at a time; however, at the end of the day the bottom line (and we Yanks Love the bottom line) is eat fewer calories than you burn if you want to lose weight.

    I have excellent reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, yet I had to scour this whole site looking for that simple statement.

    Good. Glad that's settled. I think it would be helpful to put that statement at the top of the article. Call it a caveat if you want, but the argument tends to obfuscate that which you later state is obvious and I don't think that's your goal. And perhaps highlight that it's not being aware of how many calories one consumes that is the problem, but that to rely on numbers rather than natural signals is. Otherwise I'm right there with you on all other points.

    I thank you kindly for generously bringing all of your research to us. It has already helped me tremendously. Keep up the good work!

    Reply: #59
  59. Zepp
    The big problem.. I asume, is to tell people that LCHF is no new magic diet.. and that there is no other eighter!

    Its this new low fat, low calorie, dogma that is totaly wrong.. it confuse people.. when healt and normal weight is more about eating whole real home cocked food.. frome the best groceries one can bye!

    And that every calorie affects your body in a different way!

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