Why the Calories In, Calories Out Argument is False (How to Eat Well and Live Right)

Back in 2009 I did quite a lot of running and followed a pretty strict diet.

I would calorie count down to the last gram of food, keeping a detailed log of everything I ate. It was utterly ridiculous. However, it seemed to be effective — over the course of nine months or so I lost nearly 30lbs and was the lightest I have ever been in my adult life.

It doesn’t mean that my method was optimum though. After all, if you’re running 20-30 miles per week and eating less than you normally would, the weight is bound to fall off you. Back then I subscribed to the calories in, calories out myth like most people do. Fortunately, I have since seen the light.

In this post I want to reveal the fallacy that is calories in, calories out, suggest that you do away with calorie counting altogether, and finally present a more enjoyable, sustainable and intuitive method for weight loss.

Defining the Calorie

The calorie (or to be precise, the kilogram calorie or kcal) is a unit of energy that was defined by the French physicist and chemist Nicolas Clément in 1824. It is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.

But what does this have to do with food? Well, the human body requires energy in order to operate. Everything from brain activity to blood flow requires energy, which is where the calorie comes in.

Conventional thinking assumes that the interaction between food and the human body is as follows:

Calories In – Calories Expended = Calorie Deficit/Surplus

For example, let’s say your body requires 2,000 calories every single day to keep things ticking. If you consume 1,800 calories then you will be at a calorific deficit and the body will seek the necessary extra energy from another source (such as your fat reserves or your muscle mass). Conversely, if you consume 2,200 calories, your body will store the surplus energy as fat.

Many popular diets are based upon nothing more than a simple calorie deficit. We know that a pound of fat is equivalent to approximately 3,500 calories. Therefore, if you enforce a calorific deficit of 3,500 over the course of a week, you should lose a pound of fat.

It’s a simple concept and makes dieting straightforward (in theory) and highly marketable. If you want to lose weight, consume fewer calories (and eat our “specially formulated” and wildly overpriced meals while you’re at it).

However, the theory is fallacious at best. For those of us who are willing to think beyond the calorie, a greater understanding of the effect of food on the body can enable us to lose weight without putting ourselves through grueling calorie-controlled diets.

Exploring the Three Main Nutrients

Calories are all alike, whether they come from beef or bourbon, from sugar or starch, or from cheese and crackers. Too many calories are just too many calories.

~ Fred Stare, founder and former chair of the Harvard University Nutrition Department.

Fred’s made a fool of himself.

The theory that the number of calories you consume vs. calories you expend determines your weight is false. In reality, the equation is far more complicated than that, due to the fact that human beings are incredibly complicated biological machines. If you take more than a moment to contemplate the notion that a unit of energy as simplistic as the calorie can precisely determine the makeup of your body, you’ll realise just how absurd conventional thinking is.

In reality, the way that different types of food influence the chemical reactions within our body has a huge impact on how many of the calories your consume will ultimately be converted into fat.

Let’s start by considering the three main nutrients we consume: protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Protein

Protein contains 4 kcals per gram.

You’ll find it in animal sources such as meat, fish and dairy products. However, protein can be found in a wide variety of other sources such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Protein is the second most abundant molecule in the body (after water). It is required for a number of functions within the human body — everything from building and repairing muscle tissue to replicating DNA. It cannot be wholly synthesized by the human body and as such is essential for life.

The body is unable to store protein for a long term period. Excess protein can be converted into alternative energy sources (such as glucose) or is excreted in urine. These processes require energy.

Fat

Fat contains 9 kcals per gram.

It is actually a general term for a number of different compounds that share key characteristics. In terms of what you eat, fats are found in a wide variety of sources such as oils, butter and nuts.

Fat has a number of functions within the body. It is most commonly understood to be a source of energy (within fat reserves), but it is also vital for the absorption of certain vitamins, maintaining healthy skin and hair, maintaining body temperature and even providing shock protection for the body’s organs.

The ingestions of fat is largely unnecessary for life. The human body only requires two types of “fatty acids”: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). Foods such as fish, eggs, certain oils and leafy vegetables contain these essential fats. Theoretically, you could take omega 3 and omega 6 supplements and live without any additional fat in the diet (although I wouldn’t recommend it).

Fat can be stored within the body then converted into glucose and used at any point in the future as an energy source. You’ve no doubt come across many people who attempt this (the storage part, not the energy usage part).

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates contain 4 kcals per gram.

You’ll find highly concentrated numbers of carbohydrates in a wide range of refined foods such as bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, candy and chocolate. You can also find it in unrefined foods such as beans, tubers and rice.

Carbohydrates are typically broken down into glucose to be used as energy in the body. They are what your body will first call upon when it wants to do something beyond the functions that require protein or fat. That’s why runners “carb-load” before a marathon — to maximize the amount of energy stored within the body for the huge effort ahead.

Carbohydrates are completely unnecessary for life. You can exist entirely without them. If you consume no carbohydrates, your body will synthesize the necessary glucose from the available protein and/or fat in the body.

Dispelling the Calories In, Calories Out Myth

If you’ve got this far then your intuition may have already convinced you that the calories in, calories out myth is a fallacy. While conventional thinking states that your body will treat a calorie of protein like a calorie of fat like a calorie of carbohydrate, nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s start with protein. Its primary function is to make your body fit and strong. Protein is not a good source of energy — it has to go through a process of synthesis to be turned into glucose, while the rest is lost in the urine. Furthermore, a higher percentage of calories are lost during the digestion of protein when compared to fat and carbohydrates. On a theoretical level, this effectively means that eating 100 grams of protein will make you no fatter than eating 80 grams of carbohydrates.

Furthermore, it has been argued that protein increases satiety, increases the metabolic rate, prevents muscle wastage and promotes muscle growth. Incidentally, more muscle requires more calories.

But what about fat? While it may be demonized by dieters across the world, fat is necessary for human life and really rather good for you — especially if you stick to the essential fatty acids. You need fat.

What you don’t need are carbohydrates. They just can’t wait to get you fat. Excess carbs are converted into fat and stored for later usage. The only problem is that you probably won’t use that spare fat as you’ll be too busy consuming more carbohydrates.

When it comes to carbs, your body is living in the past, when food was scarce and excess fat stores were a good thing. It doesn’t know that you’ll have just as many carbohydrates available to you tomorrow as you did today.

While I won’t suggest that you eat zero carbohydrates (as certain carb-heavy foods are rich in vitamins and minerals), if you kept your consumption down to a very modest level (say 100g per day) you’d probably be far healthier than you are now and at no risk to your health.

Intuitively, one might assume that a “normal” person embarking on a high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate diet would lose weight. But how does that relate to the calories in, calories out myth? For instance, would someone eating the exact same amount of calories but with a far greater consumption of carbohydrates experience the same amount of weight loss?

Scientific Evidence Against Calories In, Calories Out

A number of recent studies have concluded that a diet low in carbohydrates can result in greater fat loss when compared to alternative (yet calorically comparable) diets.

In 2003, a study conducted by Green et al. at Harvard University observed participants over twelve weeks as they followed one of three diet regimes:

  1. A low fat diet
  2. A low carbohydrate diet with the same amount of calories
  3. A low carbohydrate diet with 300 more calories per day

The first group lost 17lbs on average, the second group lost 23lbs and the third group lost 20lbs. Greene concluded that, “There does indeed seem to be something about a low-carb diet that says you can eat more calories and lose a similar amount of weight”.

In fact, the study proved the calories in, calories out argument wrong in two separate ways. Firstly, diets with identical calorie amounts resulted in drastically different outcomes. Secondly, the third diet’s total excess of 25,200 calories compared to the other two diets should have resulted in a net weight gain of 7.2lbs, as opposed to a loss of 3lbs (compared to the first diet) or a gain of just 3lbs (compared to the second diet).

In 2004, a study conducted by Yancy et al. for the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded as follows:

Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program had better participant retention and greater weight loss.

So what you eat (rather than simply how much you eat) can not only affect your weight, it can also affect the likelihood of you sticking to a particular eating regime.

Anecdotal Evidence Against Calories In, Calories Out

I am walking, talking evidence of how fallacious the calories in, calories out argument is.

I’ve already mentioned that I married a high-mileage running routine with a calorie-controlled diet in 2009 and lost a lot of weight as a result. What I haven’t mentioned is that in the latter part of 2009, I continued running but abandoned my diet algother. I started eating whatever I wanted, which included a lot of Domino’s and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

But I continued to lose weight — right up until the end of October when I stopped running. It seemed that no matter what I ate, the fat was still dropping off me.

The potential reasons for this are myriad, but one particularly strong argument is that my metabolism had been heavily boosted by the running. In short, I was able to eat more food than I could have before (even with the calories burned through running accounted for) and lose more weight than I otherwise would have.

In other words, my body was changing the way it dealt with the calories that entered my body.

Examples of such outcomes can be found with ease. Consider this: when Ray Cronise, a material scientist at NASA, heard that Phelps consumed 12,000 calories per day, he couldn’t believe his ears. The calories in, calories out theory told him that to do so and not become morbidly obese simply wasn’t possible. The following excerpts are from The Four Hour Body:

In order for Phelps to burn those kinds of calories above and beyond what his resting metabolic rate was…he would have to sustain more than 10 hours of continuous butterfly every day. Not even he can do that.

After a great deal of thought Cronise hit upon a theory: that the thermal load of the water was affecting Phelps’ metabolism.

The effect was the same as pouring hot coffee into a metal cup instead of a ceramic mug; the former loses calories (heat) much faster.

Cronise discovered that while the simple theory of calories in, calories out might technically be correct (in its most literal form), the popular interpretation of the theory is completely wrong.

Why? Because it assumes that calories can only follow two pathways once they enter the body: exercise or storage. The concept of excretion (through heat or waste) is largely ignored.

Mountain climbers lose enormous amounts of weight while scaling the tallest peaks in the world because their body needs far more energy simply to exist. Extreme temperatures can have a drastic effect on how calories are expended by the body (and thus, how much fat is stored).

Alternatively, we could talk about the astonishing number of other factors that can affect your weight, such as the amount of sleep you get, the times at which you eat and the type of exercise that you do.

While these examples aren’t directly relatable to the main argument of this article (that protein, fat and carbohydrates are all treated very differently by the body), they serve to highlight that the calories in, calories out theory is hopelessly flawed. While you can lose weight by simply adopting a calorific deficit, there are far easier (and more enjoyable) ways to lose weight.

What This Means for Being Healthy Enough

It makes logical sense that a diet high in the nutrients that the body needs most would be good for you. But what does this mean for us? Should we all immediately jump on high protein, low carbohydrate diets?

I’ll say this first: do whatever you want. Don’t feel that you have to get sucked into something like the Atkins diet (which, incidentally, is not a diet I would ever recommend). If you replace your daily chocolate bar with a can of tuna then that in itself is an improvement worth of applause (and will result in net weight loss in the long term).

The Healthy Enough way is not to encourage eating regimes that are difficult to sustain. If you take anything away from this article, I want it to be that even the smallest of changes can help you to lose weight in the long run. You don’t even need to reduce your caloric intake or even worry about how many calories you are actually consuming – just eat different things.

With the above in mind, let’s look at a four simple adjustments you can make to what you eat that will enable you to lose weight.

1. Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast

Replace your cereal, bagel and or toast with bacon and eggs (go for free range or organic if you can afford it to derive the best nutritional value, but don’t sweat it if you can’t).

Seriously — starting the day with bacon and eggs can be good for you. I shit you not. Just try it for a couple of weeks and see if your weight loss increases (or weight gain reduces).

2. Eat Protein-Rich Snacks

I personally like a couple of slices of smoked salmon in the late afternoon (I have a serious smoked salmon obsession). It’s high in protein and essential fats and is delicious to boot. You can try anything you like though — pre-cooked chicken breast, cooked meats (make sure you get the good stuff) and boiled eggs work too.

3. Replace Carbs With Lesser Evils

One of my favorite things to do with curry is first halve the rice and double the amount of chicken, then halve the rice again and add some broccoli and cauliflower to the mix. You’ll still be eating the same mass of food (i.e. your eyes will still see a full plate and tell your brain that you’re not trying to starve yourself), but the carb hit will be much lower.

Alternatively, you can do complete swaps. I really like lentils in place of rice. You can try cauliflower mash in place of potatoes (it’s surprisingly good, especially when you throw in some salt, pepper, butter and mustard). Or spaghetti squash in place of pasta.

4. Swap Your Carbs to Protein Ratio in Your Meals

If you can’t bear to let go of your favorite carbs, try swapping your carbs to protein ratio. Most meals have a high carbs to protein ratio — i.e., you’ll have a load of carbs on your plate and a relatively low portion of protein. Turn that ratio on its head.

This is easy with say spaghetti bolognese — use half the amount of spaghetti and twice the amount of mince. You can do the same with curry (half the amount of rice and twice the amount of chicken). Have twice as much meatloaf and hold the potatoes. You can achieve this with just about any meal and you probably won’t even notice the difference. Even if you do, you probably won’t mind.

What About Candy?

The biggest problem I have with a low carb diet is the lack of chocolate. I love chocolate.

Put simply, it can’t be substituted. While I can cut out potatoes from a meal and not feel like I’ve cheated myself, missing out on chocolate is a pretty big deal for me. Nothing beats it.

So my advice here is simple: if you can make some sustainable changes to your diet but continue to eat chocolate and start losing weight, you’re golden. Remember — if you’re losing weight week by week on a sustainable diet, you will keep losing weight for a long time. You’re running a marathon, not a sprint.

If you’re not losing weight then you will have to consider sacrifices. However, I would still not advise that you cut out candy from your diet in the long term — that’s a relapse waiting to happen. What you can do is cut it out sporadically — for periods of time (say a week) where your willpower will hold out. If you can do this every now and then you may find that you lose weight in the long run.

Alternatively (or additionally), you can try out alternative snacks that are higher in fat and lower in sugar.

Is There Still a Place for Calorie Counting?

Proponents will argue that even if the calories in, calories out theory is imperfect, it can still be used as part of a weight loss program.

I can’t disagree with that — after all, I’ve counted calories to lose weight in the past. However, I have never been on a calorie restricted diet that has satisfied me. Going hungry is not the Healthy Enough way, which is one of the main reasons that I do not recommend calorie-controlled diets.

If you are calorie counting but still consuming a diet that is high in carbohydrates, not only will your weight loss be less efficient than it would on a low carb diet, but you will also find yourself going hungry. This is due to the decreased effect on satiety that is brought about by the consumption of carbohydrates (when compared to protein or fat).

It’s exactly why you can eat a pint of ice cream with little trouble but can’t so easily eat an enormous slab of steak. In layman’s terms, the ingestion of carbohydrates leads to a spike in blood sugar that leads the body to want more of the same. This same reaction does not occur in the body when you consume protein or fat, which both release glucose into the system in a far less impactful manner.

In my opinion, it is far better to cut down your consumption of carbs and carry on eating without concern for calories. If that doesn’t result in weight loss then you should take another look at the amount of carbohydrates you are consuming – it is probably still quite high.

Put simply, if you live off a low carb diet you will almost certainly not gain weight (regardless of how much you eat). Eating enough food to satisfy yourself and keep hunger at bay while maintaining or losing weight is definitely the Healthy Enough way.

Forget Calories

I’d like to wrap things up by formally inviting you to forget about calorie counting. It’s an onerous and ultimately misleading method of weight management.

Instead, think intuitively and practically about what you eat. While I love carbs, the decision to have two breasts of chicken and half the amount of rice with my curry is a no-brainer. I like rice and want it in my meal, but I love chicken and have no problem having less rice for more meat. On a similar note, starting the day off with bacon and eggs is highly satisfying and tends to keep me going all the way through to the lunch.

Understanding the effect of different nutrients on your body can give you pause for thought, which can be enough to discourage you from gorging on carbohydrates. Next time you pick up a chocolate bar, take a moment to realize that your body may convert every last bite into fat and send it off to some unsightly place on your body. Yes, it’s damned tasty (and I’m not going to tell you to put it down), but eating it is not really a natural act. If you feel comfortable with grabbing a chicken drumstick instead, be my guest. Your body will do far more good with it.

In conclusion, the more educated you are on what happens to the food you eat, the more likely you are to eat right. Forget about calories and pay intention instead to what you eat. The rest will follow.

127 thoughts on “Why the Calories In, Calories Out Argument is False (How to Eat Well and Live Right)”

  1. I was a strong believer in calories in, calories out theory, but I think you’ve convinced me.

    Your practical tips for eating is something I try to incorporate into my daily meals, substitute the carbs for the good stuff (protein).

      1. You do realize this article is pointless. Because the calories in vs calories out is not a myth. If you eat less calories then you burn you will lose weight. Because it worked for me and I’m losing fat great. Now high protein diets on the other hand are not healthy in a long run don’t believe me? Get on google and look up the problems of a high protein diet. No macronutrient can make you fat unless consumed in excess aka excess calories. Also you contradicted yourself what do you think a diet is??? A diet is teaching you how to create a deficit! I don’t care if its keto,low carb,low fat,paleo,veagan,very low calorie diet,etc or I don’t care how much science you got in your head or whatever or who ever you be researching or listen to. You will not lose weight if you don’t create a deficit end of story.

        1. Read the article again, Michael! The author makes clear that the ‘calories in, calories out’ formula is technically correct, but leads to many misinterpretations. Calorie deficit can be achieved more healthily by changing your resting metabolic rate, not by restricting calorie intake. Also, don’t just rely on the scales. Weight loss does not equate to fat loss. Restrictive diets lead to weight loss, but some of that weight loss is muscle loss and water loss, leaving you weak and dehydrated, and with a slow metabolism which hoards body fat.

          1. Hey London wasn’t trying to pick on his article and I know what your trying to say but I don’t agree. Metabolism
            people have been screwing that one up for years, they take words like starvation mode which is a very real thing but they apply it in the wrong context. Starvation mode happens when your body can no longer support its energy demands from food and fat stores. Lets say you resting metabolic rate is 1800 calories, thats the number of calories your body burns just lying in bed doing nothing and your eating 1000 calories a day, that means your body has to get the remaining calories from somewhere right? Well if your overweight your body will use your fat stores, that is the reason for fat in the first place, as a energy reserve, now once you get down to lower levels like 6% for men and I think 15% for women you no longer have enough fat on your body to cover the energy demands of your body, so your body starts using muscle. Now as far as dieting slowing down your metabolism,another true statement blown out of context. If you weigh 200 pounds your going to burn more calories then if you weigh 180 because your 180 self requires less energy then your 200 pound self so yes dieting slows your metabolism but in a good way not a bad way

        2. Human bodies are spectacularly complex. Eating too little can cause some of us to go into emergency pack it on mode if we are sedentary. I had an office job, 60 hrs a week at a desk and an injury that prevented me from exercising so I cut my calorie intake down to 1200 to try to keep my weight down. I still walked over 60 min a day, so not completely stationary. I continued to gain weight and went to see a nutritionist who said I was the healthiest eater she has treated and suggested I add 300 calories to my diet a day. Guess what, I finally lost weight. Turns out calorie deficit for me was changing my hormones and metabolism, CICO may work for you, but that’s due to your genetic material, it is not a universal truth.

        3. I agree completely. The study the author links to that he claims to scientifically disprove calories in/calories out actually SUPPORTS that theory. I don’t understand the point of his article, it’s factually incorrect and seems more like an opinion piece made to support the narrative “exercise good, just do that.”

          Scientifcally proven, the only amount of the cardio you “need” to do (If you’re trying to speed up the fat-loss process) is 2 hours a week. Doing 15-20 miles is ineffective and inefficient. 4-5 sessions a week of 30 minute High intensity interval training (several reps of SPRINTING for 30 seconds, then walking for 5 minutes) produces MORE results than steady-paced hour long jogs.

          With that being said, I took this article with a grain of salt and only read it to see if it could change my perception of a healthy routine, and it hasn’t.

    1. I have been at literally ZERO carbs for 45 days, been exercising daily (>10 miles a day according to my Fitbit) and I am basically at the same weight as when I started.
      Couldn’t be more frustrated!
      I have not been counting calories per se, but have been keeping track of in vs out and I’m apparently burning more than I’m eating (again, at least according to my meticulous accounting via Fitbit).
      I guess it’s just going to be the case for me that I will need to cut the overall intake.

      I think it’s a bit misleading for all these sites to aspose that you can eat as much as you want as long as it’s not carbs. Sadly, that has not been my experience.

      1. That’s because fitbit is BS. Learn how to track calories, exercuse, TDEE correctly and then you will see results.

      2. Stop using Fitbit, it’s bullshit and seriously inaccurate. Increase your fat intake. The article even states that protein is converted into glucose… so basically you are just eating carbs, just less of them (if you are eating the same calories, but you are probably eating more calories of protein). Stop trying to eat ‘lean’.

        This article has some very good points but totally lost me at the Atkins bashing.

  2. Nice article Tom, love the new site by the way. You started it at the perfect time for me. Recently started to get my act together with regards to fitness and eating properly. i must admit i was counting my calories on Myplate, but it was getting a bit scary as with exercise and eating it was only amounting to around a 1000 calories. So i have started to consume more calories and have just cut out bread and all fried foods.

    Just enjoyed a dark chocolate kit kat there. sure as you said if u keep it too strict you can very easily fall off the wagon and resort to the old ways again.

    everyone needs a treat.

    Thx Tom.. Great Work

    1. Thanks GMac! Blimey — 1,000 calories? You must have been starving (literally)!

      Dark chocolate is a great option — far better for you than milk chocolate.

  3. This is good for someone who is just trying to lose a bit of weight, but the real physique and weight control has been from counting the macro nutrients you mentioned above.

    I know that if I eat 70g fat, 325g carbs, and 225g protein daily, I will be able to continue gaining a bit of size while staying lean. I also eat whatever fits within these guidelines, including fried chicken and bagels for days.

    The main reason I track these is because I don’t usually eat enough. There used to be days where I worked 9 hour shifts and would eat 1 meal all day long and be fine. I was also 20 pounds lighter and didn’t even know what a deadlift was lol

    Then I started eating lots of Taco Bell, but thats another story…

    There are a ton of helpful tips in here, and I thank you for sharing!

    Thanks again,
    -Gabe

    1. Logging your macros can be effective but you’ve got to be pretty dedicated to go down that road. Great to read that it’s working out for you :-)

      I’ve never had a problem with not eating enough ;-) Don’t get me started on Taco Bell!

  4. I swear, it’s like you are documenting exactly how I lost weight. I wouldn’t count calories, I would maybe try to eat more protein and fiber. I am in the middle of a slight relapse at the moment. I need to lay off the pasta and the fried potatoes, and maybe walk a little more.

    When I lived in Japan, one of the months I got really hyped about getting in shape. I started eating only meat and vegetables. I didn’t do anywhere nears this thorough research prior to starting, I just had a vague idea that that was a good way to go.

    I would stay full for longer, I felt more satisfied after meals and I lost over 10 pounds the first week. And I was already kind of skinny. Thankfully I started putting on muscle and gaining weight the second week!

  5. Awesome article, Tom! I am a fan of Mediteranean diet, which includes lots of carbohydrates, but the explanation you give in the article is really great. I have to try it!
    Still I think that high usage of proteins can make harm to kidneys even if this article explains it is only a myth. I would strongly suggest to drink lots of water. And as there is always already a name for everything: there are such diets as the Dunkan diet or the Atkins, which affirm what you mentioned above.
    Great post once again, Tom! Looking forward for another one;)

    1. I think you mean the Dukan diet Diana ;-)

      I’m not in the slightest bit concerned about “too much” protein. The idea that your body can’t handle a good amount of protein makes no logical sense to me (and has never actually been proven, to the best of my knowledge).

  6. This is a superbly detailed post. More like a trailer for an ebook actually.
    I have counted calories in the past, and still do. I agree that the general perception of the calorie in calorie out theory is gravely misunderstood. But, it works too, if applied correctly. The thing to remember is that all calories are not equal. So, instead of simply counting calories, I count the grams of carbs/proteins/fats I consume. It helps because I tend to gain fat very fast and have to work really hard to lose it. And, like you said, we intuitively know what foods are good for us and simply substituting the good for the bad can add up to great results. Like a banana instead of a slice of white bread, honey instead of sugar, apple instead of a chocolate. Being healthy is a commitment that lasts a lifetime. So, you have all the time in the world, but what matters is starting to make the changes.

    1. Hey Debashish,

      I’m happy to read that you’ve found a solution that works for you, but counting calories and macros is far too exhausting for me ;-)

      Cheers,

      Tom

  7. You’re fucking retarded.

    Calories in VS Calories out is completely accurate.

    Your article is detailing how to lose weight in an appropriate manner whereby more fat is burned than muscle, AS OPPOSED TO merely losing weight HOWEVER IT IS.

    Meaning if somebody wanted to lose 10 kg, and he/ she did not care whether it came from muscle or fat or any kind of ratio of the two, calories in vs calories out would be entirely appropriate.

    1. And yet muscle and fat weights different. So therefore you can lose more weight with same calories but different macros.

    2. I think what he is trying to say, in other words, that eating 1800 calories of garbage is much worse than eating 1800 calories of good food. “Garbage” meaning fast food etc. and “good food” meaning vegetables and home-cooked meals. Eating carbs is fine, but what kind of carbs and how much? Complex carbs such as whole grains or sweet potatoes is what you want, yet also not too much of that if you seriously want to “burn fat quickly.” So again, it’s the quality of the food which is more important than the quantity of calories.
      I therefore AGREE with this article! I lost 8 pounds of fat and gained 15 pounds of muscle within 7 months. I achieved this not by counting calories, but rather by eating healthy “good quality” food. Sure it took long and it wasn’t easy, but it was the healthier way to go. I was 22.3% BF and am now 13.76%! I should have a body transformation video posted on youtube once I get to under 10%.

      1. You’re wrong. Food choice is irrelevant, you can eat anything and lose fat – the determining factor is calories (energy) balance.

          1. you can find an article that supports pretty much anything on the internet including aliens. Starvation mode only exists once you run low on fat and it’s not really a thing anyway and you can have a diet of just jalapeno poppers and lift weights and you’ll lose fat and gain muscle. heck, i’m gaining muscle right now by eating 800 calories average a day and lifting weights with plenty of energy. been doing it for almost a month and i’m looking great. Just shy of 500 calorie deficit of my BMR.

  8. ”What you don’t need are carbohydrates. They just can’t wait to get you fat.”

    Utter Nonsense

    1. exactly, what is this guy saying? my diet literally consists of probably 75% carbs and ive been in good healthy shape my entire life.

  9. why do you say that carbs are bad, only 2 fats are good, and protein isnt a good source of energy. where the hell are you saying i should get my energy from then. calories in, calories out, is all it is and ive never been fat in my life. as long as you arent pounding cinnamon toast crunch all day like an idiot you wont be unhealthy as long as you have some variety i your diet. the real key to health is exercise as long as you are getting required vitamins and minerals etc. and on that note you could be pounding something like cinnamon toast crunch all day as long as you workout hard and take your vitamins and proteins and blah blah blah you could lead a perfectly healthy lifestyle. figure out how to lose weight on your own its not that hard.

    1. Lucky for you, you’re probably an ectomorph. Way easier to be skinny, compared to the other two body types, (mesomorph and endomorph) that ACTUALLY need to work.

      1. That’s a myth. Bodies have different structures and muscle/bone ratio, however our metabolisms work the same. Someone with greater muscle mass / size needs MORE calories.

        1. Anecdotal I know, but I was a chubby kid/teen, I was always on a diet (though I did cheat a bit) however I played football (soccer) virtually non stop when not at school/asleep. I remained chubby, really fit but chubby, could run all day, I sweated a lot but was rarely out of breath.
          My older brother did zero exercise, he was into war gaming, at school when I would be running around like a loon in break time he would be sat inside with his games, same at home, he was unfit, would be heavily out of breath if he did join in the exercise, yet could eat like a horse and did – large pizza, cream cakes, chocolate, chips etc. He was a bean pole, not an ounce of fat on him.

          25 years later things are a little different, I stay around the same weight eating a lot more and rarely exercising, he is the opposite, has to work very hard to maintain his weight, constantly exercising.

          My personal experiences strongly lean me towards there is a lot to the hormonal or metabolic malarkey to do with weight, it is not just energy in v energy expended.

          It used to drive me mad he could eat pizza, cookies, full sugar coke and sit on his backside and be skinny, I would have meat, potatoes and veg, water and run round for hours and still be fat.

  10. All good information. I do think that some attention to calorie counting should be done to stave off over-eating. I have low carbed before but I found I would over eat on protein because I love meat SO much so I’d end up maintaining my weight instead of losing. Now I do calorie count just because I cannot keep track of all my consumption if I don’t. So I still think the ‘myth’ has it’s place for gluttons like myself.

  11. This is the best article I have read In a long long time!! I still feel like my body is completely messed up. I definitely eat more protein than carbs and still can not get the weight off. It sucks.

  12. But see every body what he dont understand is that these silly low carb/ketogenic fad diets automatically create a deficit for you because your less hungry. So basically he just answered his on question what he was posting about which is irrelevant to fat loss! Basically contradicting himself. You do realise that even doctor Adkins said that yes it is calories in vs calories out. You still have to remain in a deficit to lose weight on anything you eat. Its just keto like diets make you feel full thus making you automatically remaining in a deficit. Plus don’t you realize that low carb can also slow fat loss??? Reason why one word.. No no no… Actually two words! LEPTIN AND GHRELIN!!! look it up!!!

    1. 300 grams of protein 1200 calories 300 grams of carbs 1200 calories 20 grams of fat 180 calories total 2580 calories typical bodybuilding diet 300 grams of protein 1200 calories 100 grams of carbs 400 calories 100 grams of fat 900 calories total 2500 calories just so you know 300 grams of protein is approx. 6 8oz servings of lean protein or 3lbs of meat very very difficult to eat 300 grams of carbs on the other hand can be consumed much easier and more then double that amount if you live off fast food, so the reason low carb diets work is not because carbs are bad it works cause carbs are easy to over eat.

  13. Does the author have any form of biological education beyond high-school and bodybuilding magazines? I hope you’re really shredded, because you can’t afford to be this dumb, if your body isn’t perfect.
    A few points to ponder:
    1. The 4 kcal per gram of protein is the NET energy yield. That means the energy produced by the breaking of molecular bonds minus the energy said breaking requires, minus the energy it takes for gluconeogenesis from glucogenic amino acids to occur and finally plus the energy that newly synthesised glucose yields. Average that out and you get 4 kcal/gram.
    2. I feel like I’m explaining this to a retard (and that may very well be the case), but fat lose and weight loss is not the same thing.I can cut out salt and carbs for a day and lose 2 kg. Nowhere in the cited studies did you mention body composition. And nowhere did the low carb group restore their glycogen stores in order to put them on equal footing with the high-carb group.

    1. I do not have a university degree, but I can read, and I have read that if all you do is adjust your macros slightly, but still continue eating the same daily calories, you will lose weight, in the long run. This is caused by the thermal values of different macros, so replacing some of the carbs, and some of the fat with protein, will cause a bigger thermal effect, so in that context, yes calories in and calories out are not, equal. Also protein, has a more sating effect, so you may even end up eating less calories without trying, also protein helps to spare muscle loss, and muscles are very hungry, so if you are gaining muscle but losing fat, to a greater degree, you can consume more calories, without adding extra weight. Cheers.

  14. I know this is an old article but as someone who teaches thermodynamics and is engaged in weightlifting it really rubbed me the wrong way.

    Nothing said here contradicts calories in/calories out. Nothing. In fact, calories in/out is simply a way of writing the mass/energy balance equations of our thermodynamic laws. These are not theories, or fallacies, or myths but laws. It does not matter if apply them to rockets, the human body or giant systems. They are not contradicted. They are laws and apply everywhere, no matter how complicated the system.

    Everything that the author of this page wrote is simply a misunderstanding of these laws and how calories in/out relates to them. Calories out covers ALL ways of burning or removing calories from the system. Just because you thought of another point where calories are burned, such as through chemical ineffeciency, does not mean that the equations are wrong.

    1. Thank you! I was thinking that the whole way through. Just because we’re not correctly measuring the calories in or calories out doesn’t mean that suddenly the laws of thermodynamics doesn’t work. A calorie deficit leads to weight loss. A calorie surplus leads to weight gain. It really is that simple if all you care about is weight loss or weight gain.

    2. I was in the fitness industry for years and have helped many people lose weight using the “calorie in – calorie out” system. As a matter of fact, I have two very close friends who, recently, both lost a lot of weight (one lost 115 lbs. and the other a 105 LBS) using this tried, tested and true principle. As well, I decided, last month, to drop some weight and so far (1 month and 3 weeks later) I have lost 23 LBS. Nothing fancy, just keeping an eye on my caloric intake (1800-2000 per day) and keeping moderately active, mostly walking and hiking and average of 1 hour four times per week. Healthy food choices and a moderate life style will bring the pounds down. IF there are no medical issues that interfere with NORMAL body functions Its simple math.; burn more than you take in. I know there are all sorts of trendy new ideas out there designed to “blow you away” but the fact is that weight loss in theory is simple. Being disciplined is the hard part. Different diets may work for different people but regardless of the plan that people choose to go on the successful ones are the people who stay consistent, maintain focus on their goals, and watch their caloric intake.

  15. Please do not listen to this advice!

    You said: “Excess carbs are converted into fat and stored for later usage. The only problem is that you probably won’t use that spare fat as you’ll be too busy consuming more carbohydrates.”

    Incorrect. A calorie deficit means that your body didn’t get enough energy from food intake and therefore will be forced to use it’s own tissue.

    It doesn’t matter when you eat, at some point your body will run out of food and switch to itself. This process will happen throughout the day, between meals and at night-time.

    After eating your body will use the energy from food, which will last for a while, but it will run out.

    Please do not listen to this advice! Calorie counting is time proven method for losing fat. People who say otherwise, either haven’t tried it or we’re doing it wrong.

  16. Old article.However, I say mix different types of eating ( at different times, just like mixing up your training to avoid the body adapting) everything works for 4 weeks, them BAMB your stagnant.Cycle the way you eat ( life is cycles anyway) there is no ONE WAY, and for Christ sake train hard americans

  17. You are very ignorant because for women, who have a ton of estrogen, it is different. I am a 5’1 woman ….marathon runner who loves marathons, I don’t need to fit into a specific dress because at 103 and size 0/00 I ALREADY CAN. The key to maintaining a low weight IS calorie restriction. Without restriction, you will always gain weight, protein, fat, sugar WHATEVER. When I am at marathon time, I eat more because I have to gain it but after I the race I go from 2200 calories a day the week before to 1700 so that I continue to be a sexy and happy size zero….now people will yell at me and say that is not enough but my basal metabolic rate at THIS WEIGHT dictates that I can not eat more than that. MY DOCTOR, told me I’m at peak health. I can even do as many pull ups as female marines (required 3) The only way for women (because despite popular belief, even “skinny” women’s genetics are designed to store extra fat than a man for a future offspring, all women are designed to carry fat) My mother, she’s 50 and in menopause, since I was a little girl she never let herself go. She is 5’5, so a few inches taller and a size 40. She does not even run marathons but follows a normal balanced diet like I do. She probably eats 1800…. Some people just have to face facts that if they want to maintain a certain weight, they have to eat less and move more. AND STOP EATING PROCESSED SHIT ALL TOGETHER. IF IT COMES IN A BOX IT IS UNNATURAL AND SUGAR LADEN. That’s how women maintain super model looks.

  18. Another apologist for LCHF. I could see this coming a mile away just by seeing the title! Sure enough, after reading this article for 2 minutes my thoughts were confirmed. I remember a study where three weight loss diets were studied. Low fat, low carb and the third I believe was a Mediterranean diet. They found no significant difference in weight loss. Low carb provided quicker weight loss in the short term but after a year there was virtually no advantage to any of the three diets. Personally I avoid LCHF like the plague for a number of reasons not the least of which is the fact that high animal protein/fat intake brings on gout. I can eat meat, fish and seafood in modest amounts but I favour legumes for protein. Fortunately eggs don’t adversely affect gout and dairy actually improves gout by lowering serum uric acid. Also, LCHF increases my LDL-C. Not good! I stress the MUFAs and PUFAs (omega-3, omega-6).

    1. Not sure what study you looked at but there are plenty of peer reviewed studies showing low carb diets to be much more effective for weight loss-short term and long. Also, why are you bringing up gout? It’s not like a high percentage of the population has gout, so why even make that point…if we’re going to worry about something how about type 2 diabetes which is much more prevalent. Guess what, low carb diets do wonders for diabetics. Low carb isn’t for everyone but it would be ideal for a good portion of the population, no need to bash low carb diets.

  19. I think calories in and out is simply the physics which governs all physical processes – humans included. You cannot escape physics even if you try hard or cheat. Outside of the lab, the problem is: how do you know when to stop eating – to say “no” more thank you? What is not discussed here is listening to what your body tells you and how that is affected by the type of food you eat, the social environment you eat in, how the human body has evolved (to binge), emotional factors, how disciplined you are – and so on. Is your mind saying “yes!” when your body is actually saying “no!”?

    1. Conservation of energy ,while relevant, cannot and does not expllain the dysregulation of human adipocytes anymore than it exlpains the freakish muscularity of Belgian cattle. NOT EVEN REMOTELY SUFFICENT. You are misusing it and I confirmed this with over 40 top physicists. Our laws are our BEST GUESSES….EXTREMELY FALLIBLE. OUR MODELS. Physics is NOT done by fiat

    2. Much remains to be learned about energy and matter. The goal is to find which old laws were wrong. Our laws are not laws, they are models. They are OUR VERY fallible guesses gone through the sieve a bit. GUESSED models.They are NOT AT ALL MANDATES that matter has to follow or obey. The universe does NOT have to follow our models.

    3. The real question is this : “Can we infer from the conservation of energy principle the behavior,regulation and dysregulation of mammalian fat cells?.” The answer is HELL NO! Neither obesity, nor freakish muscularity is exllained by this principle. Relevant to all life? Yes. Sufficient? Not even remotely!

    4. THE BEST physicists in world personally told me that obesity is NOT a physics issue. It is eplained by GENETICS,BIOCHEMISTRY,PHYSIOLOGY. BIOCHEMICAL phenomenon….. Obesity is not even 1/10th solved.
      Energy can be led to many different pathways in the hody. How energy is partitioned, handled, wasted, absorbed or used is NOT AT ALL addresed by conservation of energy principle. It is only a state equation…

    5. I think human is a combination of physics, biology, chemistry, and Chi — mental, emotional, and spiritual 3 in 1.

  20. I don’t think the author of the article said calories in vs carlories out does not effect weight loss, they in fact said clearly that it does. What it does say though is that doing calorie counting is a tedious method to log everything that not everybody can sustain.

    Cutting carbs out of your diet altogether is not the best idea, they even say to have a 100g a day so your not cutting them out.

    Too many people have replied with critism but did not read the article correctly.

    What do I think, I think eat everything in moderation and exercise is the key to being healthy and if you need to lose weight, yes you need a deficit in calories at the end of the day.

  21. The caloric hypothesis has no predictive power as numerous overfeeding human experiments show,as well as numerous mouse studies involving gut microbes. Dr. Jeffrey Gordon pioneered this. Body weight is largely INVOLUNTARILY regulated. We do not have as much say as previously erroneously thought.

    1. You’re talking rubbish! Millions of people follow a calorie controlled diet and lose weight every week in a predictive manner. Bodybuilders, average gym goers, athletes, stay at home mums… you name it… there all doing calorie controlled diets. The only thing that most people don’t understand is metabolic adaption, this slows down the results, only a small % of people know what this is and how to combat it.

      1. If this is such a brilliant idea, why the blank are you Americans such a fat arse bunch. 2/3 of Americans are over-weight, all they have to do is eat less and move more, according to your failed opinion. It is one thing to cut calories and exercise more, it is another thing to actually keep a calorie deficit up, eating the SAD low fat protocol. If people could get over the USDA driven FEAR of FATS, they would find it so much easier to eat at a calorie deficit…..1.. If you look at what has been written in the article, you will see that 1 of the low carb diets was 300 calories higher than the other 2, and they still lost as much weight as the calorie controlled low fat diet 2..You say they got the calorie count wrong, are you kidding, with fat as the driving force in low carb they got the count wrong?? and yet in the low fat diet, Oh yes they got there count right, You are looking through low fat eyes and cannot see there are other bonafide .ways to lose fat weight, No-one said you couldn’t lose weight on a low fat diet, the article said, in studies low carb was a good choice for more fat loss, and also I am saying studies have show if the dieter can get over his/her FEAR of FAT prejudice, it could be a long term solution to the out of control obesity Rates in the USA and most of the capitalist populations. CHEERS

  22. Right on message. I started a self directed exercise/low calorie/low carb program this year using the calorie in and out thought process. I was kind of sort of counting calories and was losing a reasonable amount of weight. Over three months, I lost about 15 pounds. I wanted to hasten my weight loss so I downloaded a popular app that would allow me to watch calories more accurately. I set a limit of 1500 per day of any type of food and abandoned the low carb intake. My exercise program was, and still is, weight lifting 90 minutes every other day 3 days a week with three days of 40 minutes of cardio on an elliptical machine in between the weight lifting days and one day of rest per week. After watching just the calorie count religiously for one full month at 1500 or less net calories per day, I lost no weight at all on the low calorie of any kind diet. I assume that it was because I did not care what I ate as long as I maintained the 1500 calorie rule. I was frustrated and decided to ditch the app and return to my original method. The weight loss picked back up and as of my sixth month, I have lost 30 pounds. I have increased the cardio slightly each month as my stamina has increased and body weight has dropped. I had to increase the cardio because it was becoming so easy with my increased stamina and better health that it was not challenging to me and was becoming boring. I now do 27 miles per week on the elliptical machine with a weekly calorie burn on the elliptical of about 3000 calories. I burn an additional calorie count of about 750 total calories during the weight lifting days. I have changed my body greatly, adding muscle mass and losing fat mass. I see a time in the near future where I will have to eat more to maintain weight. I also must say that exercise is now fun and I am miserable on my off day because I enjiy it that much I gave made bew friends at the gym and eceryone there seem to be positive and happy people as they strive to improve their health.

    I totally agree with this article and I am able to enjoy eating now by not worrying about calories. I snack on nuts and fruit. I eat fast food maybe twice per month. I insure that I consume a reasonable amount if protien and vegetables and I am much happier than I gave been in years. This is not a diet and I don’t dread each day worrying about calories. I eat good food and ample amounts of it.

    Thanks for the great article and I encourage others to adopt this as a life style.

    1. What happened to you is called metabolic adaption. It happens when drop calories too low.

      You can’t escape calories, its a measure of energy and this is what determines whether you use stored fat.

  23. It is common sense, meat and vegetables first, and then eat whatever you like in moderation. Mother of 4 adults, I have kept my high school weight 50 years at 18.5 BMI.

  24. Have any of you guys seen the so called “Twinky diet”? Google it and see how a guy lost weight by only eating twinkies. How, you ask. Simple, CICO (calories in calories out).

    As long as you create a deficit, no matter how you do it, be it by exercising or eating less than your TDEE (or better yet, your BMR) you will lose weight.

    If you somehow gain weight eating less calories than your BMR, please contact NASA and collect your millions because your body has somehow entered a state where it can create mass out of thin air.

    PS: you are probably just counting calories incorrectly, so before contacting NASA and making a fool out of yourself, double check your calculations, otherwise, see ya on CNN!

  25. This is a joke. Proven scientific research shows this is not a myth nor is it false. I’ve lost 150 pounds by counting calories and kept it off for 5 years. Im not 11% body fat doing the same.

    1. Actually, proven scientific research which is more up to date has already disproved calories in calories out. Go find a recent research article and stfu about things you dont know anything about

  26. This is good to know. As a teeny tiny woman, my maintenance calorie intake is 1200. That’s sad and unsustainable. And depressing.
    There has to be a more sensible alternate to calories or little people like me would literally STARVE TO DEATH..
    Think about that all you lucky larger people.

  27. The title of your article is intentionally misleading. Nowhere in the article do you, in any way, disprove ‘the myth of calories in vs calories out’. All you have presented is that various calorie sources count in differing degrees towards the ‘calories in’.

    The simple fact is, if energy in < energy out, your body mass will reduce. That's physics. You're actually supporting that argument, only emphasizing foods with lower 'energy in' and a lifestyle that's higher 'energy out'

  28. This is another ot those articles that do more harm than good. They try to say that ‘calories in, calories out is wrong’ but then make thier case by answering a different question.

    It is a gravity defying argument to suggest that the energy you intake and the energy you expend isn’t what determines your weight. How we then go on to interpret that principle is a different matter. So it is quite obvious that the principle doesn’t tell you what types/balance of food you should be eating to be healthiest, it doesn’t translate into a precise daily formula, it doesn’t tell you why some people will be hungrier than others, and it absolutely makes no moral judgments! It is just physics.

    It may be that it is much more difficult for one person to lose weight than another – they may feel hunger much more acutely than someone else (its subjective). But that isn’t a basis for saying that the laws of physics apply to some people but not others. It is perhaps too harsh to draw a conclusion that it is every individual’s responsibility alone – when people struggle with something we should be supportive. But it isn’t helping someone to allow them to cling to the notion that the issue isn’t something they can control, or that the responsibility lies somewhere else entirely. Articles like this (which are really about healthy eating) risk fuelling a narrative of responsibility denial.

    1. Hey. Dipshit, if you read the article you would have understood that their claim is that the number of calories you take in, isnt necessarily the number of calories that you think it is to your body, depending on what youve eaten. And this is only a small reason as to why this shit doesnt work. There are much better arguements which the author goes on to mention.

    1. HELLO OX, If you don’t get sufficient hydration, you will die. If you don’t eat protein, Your body will eat its self until you die, If you don’t eat essential fatty acids (omega 6, and omega 3) you will die. Eating animal flesh and sufficient fat, (lots) you will get every mineral and vitamin Essential to good health in a human. Although it is good to eat some vegetables, and fruits, They are not, I repeat the are not Essential to life. look around the net. It is basic nutrition 101. Between 130-150 grams of Carbs will adequately run your brain etc, but in its absence, fat and protein will fill the gap. Cheers. go here: http://graemethomasonline.com/carbohydrate-daily-requirements/

  29. Loved this article! While I will not dispute the efficacy of following a calorically restricted diet, I will say that it’s very difficult to sustain over a long period of time. I am much happier when I’m not hungry and I can eat carbs until the cows come home. So, for me, it’s a no-brainer to ditch the carbs in favor of foods that provide greater satiety while allowing me to get closer to my goals. As of late, I’ve done a TERRIBLE job at adhering to these basic principles but you’ve reminded me just how effortless it was to maintain a stellar physique when I didn’t eat copious amounts of carbs.

  30. Hi,

    I’ve found that people who claim that calorie counting does not work inaccurately count calorie consumption, inaccurately estimate calorie requirements, or inaccurately weigh themselves. In other words they claim so because of errors in their experimental design.

    The study you gave showed a very small weight loss difference, 17 lbs, 23 lbs, 20 lbs, well within the range of experimental errors.

    Someone can estimate that they require 2600 calories to maintain their weight when in reality they require 2300 calories to maintain their weight, this means when creating a 500 calorie deficit they’re only creating a 200 calorie deficit in reality.

    With high-calorie foods (usually low fat foods) it’s easy for people to underestimate the calories consumed because eating just slightly more would mean many more calories consumed.

    With low-calorie foods it’s easy for people to overestimate the calories consumed because eating a lot more would mean not many more calories consumed.

    Also depends on if the person is using an accurate scale, I know a scale I had was really inaccurate.

    Your suggestion seems to be to substitute higher calorie foods for lower calorie foods, which would create a calorie deficit, same as calorie counting indirectly.

    So the claim that calorie counting doesn’t work results from experimental errors.

    1. How in the name of sanity can low carb HIGH FAT food, be naturally lower in calorie, than a LOW FAT HIGH CARB food. LOW CARB, is high fat 9 calories per gram, low fat is high carb, 4 grams per calorie. CHEERS

  31. 17 lb on Calorie Deficit and 23 lb on low carb?
    You do know that Low Carb diet can eliminate as much as 8 lbs of water? the 23 lb weight loss doesn’t necessarily mean Fat loss. Since the people on calorie deficit were still consuming an adequate amount of Carbs, that means they retain at least 5-8 lb of water. Yes, low carb does work, but the extra pounds are misinterpreted in my opinion. Your body also releases extra glycogen in low carb, which can also contribute in the extra weight “lost”. What we should care about is fat loss, not Water and glycogen loss.

    1. The claims are due to experimental errors, most likely.

      17 lbs on a calorie deficit vs. 23 lbs on a low carb diet, but most low carb foods are low in calories, so it’s probably due to experimental errors.

      I also remember reading another study which claimed that people exercised more when told to eat more or not worry about calorie consumption, meaning their calorie requirements were higher on a higher calorie diet.

      Just shaking your legs at work burns calories.

      So many different variables could’ve caused the weight loss difference.

      This article fails to mention that a low-carb diet is almost the same as a low-calorie diet because most low carb foods have less calories, meaning it’s easier to overestimate the amount of calories you consumed on a low carb diet and easier to underestimate the amount of calories consumed on a high carb diet, causing experimental errors.

      But if someone meticulously accurately measured calorie consumption, they would find small results in eating low-carb vs. high-carb foods if the calorie consumption is equal (as was found in the junk food diet experiment where the nutrition Professor lost 27 pounds, body fat dropped from 33.4% to 24.9%, good cholesterol up, bad cholesterol down, triglycerides down 39% on a junk food diet).

      His suggestion is the same as a low calorie diet, he says to substitute carbs with lesser evils like spaghetti squash, but spaghetti squash has way fewer calories than other foods (as most raw vegetables are low calorie foods).

      So he’s basically saying to eat more low calorie foods (same as calorie counting indirectly).

      1. Marvin low carbs are low calorie, are you kidding??. fat is the main macros, with 9 calories per gram, that is over twice the calorie rate of protein or carbs. low carbs are low in carbs moderate in protein, and high in fat. your statement beggars belief.

    2. ALL, let me repeat that, ALL, calorie restricted diets, lose water weight, look around the net studies on different diets, not just the way you see the world, when I was 25 I made a statement, to an older man, his reply was, if you can come back to me in 10 years and tell me you still believe that to hold as truth I will listen. I well be 68 years old in May 2016, and looking back, I can see many “truths” that maybe were just opinions, and mostly on something someone else said. I still take a lesson from this older mans advice a young gun, back in the day.

  32. can you suggest some protein rich options for vegetarians. I know lentils and beans are good source of protein but they also come with carbs. I find it very difficult to substitute carbs with protein.

    1. If you eat dairy, great, protein powder with your oat meal and some full fat yogurt for a fat that comes with dairy. Be careful with fat and carbs at the same meal, as insulin will shut off fat burning and use carbs for energy, then store the dietary fat as fat.

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  34. I think this is one of the best articles i have read about this subject I have been reading a lot about calorie find lots of information on what the minimum you should taken in, I read the Palio diet/ primal /Atkins vegan/ vegetarian diet etc. I have read about calories carbs protein fat etc. my personal philosophy is all things in moderation. And I think when you look at what you are saying it is probably the rite balance for my genetics. If I don’t eat meet every few days at minimum I’m completely shot. After I cut carbs and refined sugar I had a headache for days then I started to feel better. So hard to give up sweet-tea! I know I. Eating better now and my meals look a lot more like what you suggest, so thanks this was an important article for me. My average intake is 55% fat 30% protein 25% cards.

    Small thoughts fallowed by a questions.

    1. I do still think that to loos wait you need fewer calories in then out some of that can be simply that the foods are a better source and type. I am currently 20 to 30 lbs over my wait according to most recommendation and I am les concerned with actual wait and more focused on muscle/fat balance. 23% fat.

    Most only recommendations I have Sean have suggested that long term you should not have more then 1000 difference. How ever I have had some difficulty with this day to day because of increased activity and HIIT work out according what Fitbit register+/- . After that I just want to maintain the muscle.

    ? So yes or no, on the calories should I have a aim for 1000 les or not at all.

    2. I have increased my overall activity from let’s say 60 minutes a week to 300 and I have added HIIt three to four times a week. my concern is that I will under or over do calories some days I just can’t eat enough to keep up with Fitbit 3700-4000 estimations based on activities. No workout days are like 2500.

    So the question I have is If I take in 2400 calories a day and have a day that goes over 3400 does my body trigger starvation mode and counter my efforts?

    Again great article

  35. Thanks so much for this. My doctor told me to count calories and that I can go back to eating carbs as i cut them out almost completely – i’m 200-300 calories under a day and gained 5 lbs… so angry. Love my doctor – but i think I’ll print this out for him.

    Thanks so much!

  36. This is so wrong it’s scary. I can’t believe people are buying this bs. And you’re actually insisting people eat bacon and eggs for breakfast?? You clearly don’t know much about nutrition and you did contradict yourself because you can’t cut out carbs or eat a low carb diet and expect not to relapse and gain all the weight back. CARBS ARE GOOD FOR YOU when you eat them as plant based, unprocessed whole foods. The body’s main energy supply is carbohydrates, the brain and body need an abundance of glucose to stay healthy and balanced. You should only be cutting out processed carbs like pasta, bread, and all that unhealthy junk. In terms of macronutrients, you should be eating mostly carbs with a lower % of protein and fat. Something like 60% carbs, 20% protein and 20% fat is optimal. Honestly check out Dr. Mcdougall, he is a doctor who has published work about this topic and also check out the high carb lifestyle.

    1. Exactly!! Thank God somebody knows what’s up. I was literally scrolling the comments expecting to see a zillion replies stating this, but everybody is just sitting here agreeing?! “Carbohydrates are completely unnecessary for life. You can exist entirely without them.”
      …. is this a joke?? I eat an entirely plant based diet and the majority of my calories come from carbohydrates, and I’ve never felt better. All these people talking about diets high in eggs and bacon and chicken and steak.. when Dan Buettner found the five regions of the world where people live abnormally long lives, he was quoted saying this: “Take specifically the people of Ikaria, Greece — Buettner’s personal favorite population. “When it comes to diet, they have three key things,” he tells Yahoo Health. “Ninety percent of their calories come from plants, 65 percent of their diet is complex carbs, and the third thing — and this is a supplement everyone should run out and buy — is beans. A cup of beans a day for longevity.”
      Now look at majority of people who subscribe to this high protein high fat zero carb type of thinking, and show me the regions where they are thriving. Call it ancedotal all you like, I’ll take actual statistics over bogus nutritional theories anyday.

  37. Hi Tom,

    I really like your article. I was obese 10 years ago and had to do something drastic. I decided to cut down my carbs and as true as I’m sitting here, I managed to lose weight really fast. Within eight months, I had lost 24 kg. After I had reached my desired weight, I started to increase my carbs again and managed to keep my weight within limits I chose for 9 years. Last year, I lost focus and put on 13 kg. Again, I tried the low carb diet, but somehow it didn’t really work for me. I guess I didn’t exercise as much as I did the first time around.

    Exercising is a vital part of the low carb diet. Exercising and plenty of fluid (water and herbal tea). This time around I opted for intermittent fasting. I eat two to three meals one day and fast for 24 hours. My last meal before fasting would be somewhere between 6 and 7 pm. This ensures, that I will have at least one meal a day, even when doing a 24 hour fasting. At the same time I do pay attention to my carb intake. Carbs are definitely my enemy no. 1. I’m a tour guide and go on tours a lot. While working, I can’t do the 24 hours fast. Instead I skip breakfast and have lunch and dinner. Again, I make sure I keep an eye on the carb intake. Within 20 days, I’ve lost 5.5 kg so far. I tend to lose weight considerably faster, when I do a 24 hour fast every second day.

    All the Best,

    Wolfgang

  38. This was so wrong on so many levels. I seriously face palmed my fave off. Please find something else to do with your life then give “nutrition” or “diet” tips. Thank you

  39. The problem I have with this article is that a diet high in protein and meat as described lacks the needed dietary fiber for digestion and elimination, and that research that shows that eating a lot of cured meats like bacon and smoked meats are carcinogenic and could lead to cancer. The author says to go ahead and eat bacon every day. Occasionally eating bacon is ok, but daily? Also, he says you do not need carbohydrates at all. When the Atkins Diet first came out, carbs were removed from the diet and people died. Yep. The Atkins Death Diet was a high protein, no carb diet. The author also mentions nothing about fruits, whole grains like amaranth (which is actually a seed), quinoa, millet, unhulled barley, and whole oats and wheatberries, etc. Sure, a plate of highly processed spaghetti is going to pack on the pounds, but whole grain in the diet provides many key nutrients and aids in digestion and elimination. I think anything in moderation is ok. I have been more interested in the lifestyles of centenarians, rather than how much I weigh. I want to stick around for a while. Most of the diet info out there focuses on how you look, not what will sustain you for longevity. I eat a lot of protein, so I am not anti protein, I just think any diet that suggests to completely eliminate protein, or carbs, or fruits, or vegetables, or fats, is bonkers. I don’t count calories. It just seems ridiculous.

  40. The only thing that matters in WEIGHT LOSS is calories in vs calories burned, that’s it. This is not seriously debatable and any scientists, doctors, health experts etc who claim otherwise are either misinformed, ignorant or trying to sell you something.

    If it takes 3000 calories a day to maintain your current weight, and you cut that by 1,000 a day, it doesn’t matter if you eat 2000 calories of bacon and chocolate cake or 2000 calories of rice and lettuce.. you’ll lose the same amount weight over the same amount of time. This is not debatable. I’ve done just that three times in my life, each time losing from 50-70 pounds over a few months time. It IS all about calories, not about fat intake or protein or blah blah blah. I LOVE my chocolate and was not going to give it up. I eat around 600 calories of sweets every day after my dinner which is about 800 calories. Breakfast is about 500 and lunch is soup 90% of the time, around 200 calories. I eat less than 2,500 a day to maintain my 185 lbs. When I was 250 I was eating about three times the calories. When it comes to weight loss, It’s about calories all the time, that’s it and it makes no difference where those calories come from, ever, none.

  41. I read a book about the adrenal gland and adrenal fatigue. I very much believe that even if you exercise and eat a healthy restricted diet you may still not lose weight. Even healthy food like vegetables are void of many of the necessary nutrients, because of the way they are grown. Your body knows what it needs and doesn’t need so if your not getting enough nutrients from your food of course your body will think that something is wrong and hold onto your body fat. The body knows how to take care of it self. Of course you should eat healthy food, and exercise but you should also take vitamins because if your only eat 2500 and aren’t eating exclusively healthy food, you are not getting enough nutrients.

  42. Clever, ad hoc explanation to create confusion by drawing on eclecticism and a panoply of molecules and their intereaction which are secondary to any general rule, law of energy and matter. Bunch on nonsense that funds authors, publishers and private for profit research being done at universities and elswehre

  43. kilogram calorie? Really? a kilogram is 1000 grams. a kilocalorie is 1000 calories. There is no such thing as a kilogram calorie. Well, there could be but that would be a unit of mass * energy which doesn’t make useful sense in any context that I can think of at the moment.

  44. This article is quite beautiful. I feel as though you talk in a manner that those with no experience on this subject cant understand. And I felt that you were very well versed on the subject. My personal experience backs up what you claim, as well. However, i disagree on your opinion of the atkins diet. I think that it is an amazingly effective and simplistic diet for short term weight loss. Additionally, your methods of living with this knowledge are nearly mentally retarded. You literally suggest swapping out your chocolate bar with a can of tuna. There isnt any one on this earth that ive ever met who would feel satisfied with tuna instead of a sweet that they craved. Ignorant, ineffective, and just downright silly. Instead, people need to learn to cook themselves healthier alternatives, or as the farse of calories in calories out dies down we can hope that manufacturers will begin putting out products that dont literally aim to target fat gain via their main ingredients.

    But, ignoring calories all together, thats very very smart. And I appreciate greatly that you mention that. It is nice to know how many calories, ballpark, are in what you are eating, I feel, so that you can aim for simething nearer to 2,000 than like 6,000, assuming you’re a lazy bum like me, but its not super necessary. I was on a calories in /out diet for much longer than you it seems, to jo avail.

    The only effective diets I have found were the atkins (short term use only here people!! Its not healthy in the long run its for short, targeted fat loss) and one similar to the paleo diet which works by correcting and improving your intestines proper bacteria, these sorts of diets are called things like the makers diet, and i think the caveman diet does something similar, also i think one is called “prinal”. Either way, promoting healthy flora in your got, and eating low carb, by eating no processed foods(this is a LOT harder than it sounds, for example white vinegar is a processed food), i have found is THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE WEIGHT LOSS METHOD, at least for me , personally.

  45. This article is pure bs. We NEED carbs. Our brain and cells run on carbs. Oh my god, people actually believe this? Its not the carbs that make you fat, its the animal fat in meat and dairy and excessive fat in general.

  46. HCLF saved my relationship with food.

    I am a University of Toronto student who has struggled with my weight for the past 4 years. I’m not fat, I’m normally-weighted. First year freshmen 15 -> lost 10kg on a LC diet (lean protein + carb restriction + personal training) -> “yes” physically/”no” mentally -> two years of weight yo-yoing (struggled to maintain my diet/but my body could not handle it during exam seasons/I would literally binge on carbs) -> eventually I gained it all back and more.For the past month I have began a HCLF whole food lifestyle (trying to go vegan) and I have not felt so good in many years. My weight is also steadily going down. But what I feel was the most important, and what I really want to share is that I am really happy, satisfied, and content about my relationship with food and I have never EVER felt that way ever since I have began my LC diet. I have no bad intention or anything to this blogger. LC diets do work in the short-run. But in the LR…this is just a personal story, what has worked for me in the long-run. And I sincerely hope that LC diets do not cause people to go into the same situation as I have. Peace.

    1. You’re still counting calories with HCLF or any other “diet”. Calories are a measurement of energy, not a diet plan.

      1. Yes, you are right. I know, and I do keep track of what I eat. The reason I replied was to respond with the fact that carbs “are” very important for the human body. And I am not on a “diet,” I’m on a “way of eating” that I have found works well for me, personally. Cheers, and happy eating(:

  47. You may not be counting the calories, but they still count. CICO is the base point of weight loss. If you eat less than you burn you will lose weight. What that weight will consist of will depend on other variables. If you ate only cake say 1800kcal a day and you could stick to that, and didn’t not exercise you would lose weight. A lot of that weight would be muscle.

    Change that 1800kcal to 50% protein 25%carb 25%fat and lift weights with light cardio and you will also lose weight . This time mostly fat while maintaining or even increasing lean body mass.

    What you have described here doesn’t make CICO a fallacy. It is a scientific fact. You are just taking it to the next level by looking at how macro nutrients can affect the type and speed of weight loss.

    Eating high protein, lower carb and fat isn’t some new fad. Weightlifters of all stripes have been using it for decades. What you describe has been the hack forever. Protein fills you up faster for less calories than more calorie dense foods like potatoes/oils/sugar.

    If you are losing weight, you are still eating in deficit, if you track it or not.

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  49. this is a great article thank you. I have been trying to fully understand the macronutrient impact on the body and i came to this article with my own suspicion of calorie defacit not being the one stop shop its claimed to be. i want to get leaner, but I am a badminton player at a high-ish level, with 3 playing days a week during full season. i also do interval training, so I am wondering how i balance my carb intake vs protein & fat but stay energised and stay lean. i put on weight despite the alarming amount of energy i consume (5000 calories a week) probably because my % of carbs is around 70% of my daily diet (breakfast cereal, brown bread at lunch, potatoes in eve). i workout 5- days a week, gym during lunch breaks and badminton 2-3 times a week in evenings/weekends. i know that I will need carbs after a workout, to refill what the body has used. other than that, will i have good performance with a lower carb diet? any advice would be great.

  50. You had me with calories in and calories out being over simplistic but then you went on to bash carbs. Big mistake. You need carbohydrates for sanity! Its what our bodies naturally crave. High Carb low fat vegan diets have shown to prevent obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases. See Dr. John Mcdougall’s Starch Solution and Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes. This low carb bull is what gets people in vicious harmful diet cycles in the first place. Keep in mind, when I say carbs, I don’t mean cake and donuts, I mean carbs from fruits, veges, beans and legumes. Carb up people and you will be happy and healhty.

  51. did the researchers weigh the poop inside the participants, or the urine in the bladder, all three groups lost weight. the small differences aren’t statistically valid, so it’s incorrect to use it for the calories are different hypotheses

  52. Low carb diets are efficient at weight loss, but are they good for the planet? Are they good for the crises we are now facing? I’m sorry to say this, but in the whole scheme of things, a low carb diet primarily based on non-plant based protein is 1. Completely and utterly disgusting. Have you seen the amount of meat and animal products you would consume? And 2. They tend to be horrible for extremely active people. If you’re working out, you’ll notice a major downfall in your performance.
    The thing is, I understand that many need to consume less insulin spiking carbs, but not all carbs are the same! Low GI carbs can prevent you from crashing and help you feel fuller for longer.
    However, what annoys me the most is that you’re condoning the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of animals that btw consumes a 1/3 of our food stores! If we stopped, we could end world hunger. Animal agriculture also tends to be one of the most damaging to our enviroment.
    If you want to encourage people to go on a low carb diet, the least you could’ve done is provide some vegetarian/vegan options. Eggs and bacon? What, are you trying to give a speech for a massacre or something? Please, I urge you, low carb diets CAN be beneficial but PLEASE don’t consume ANY more animal protein than you are now. Plant based protein shakes, legumes, nuts and seeds are all amazing sources of protein!

  53. I got rid of the junk food, I increased protein and dropped the carbs. Additionally, I’ve taken up a disciplined exercise regimen. Noticed 2 things: 1) didn’t burn off fat, and 2) started smelling ammonia in my sweat during intense exercise. Regarding the second part, I hydrate well, so it’s not that. I understand that it’s my body breaking down proteins because it doesn’t have carbs enough to work with.

    Now I’m all confused and frustrated.

  54. People who claim they were eating the proper calories and not able to gain/lose wait are always the result of human error. When you take those people and put them in strictly controlled metabolic wards that track their calorie intake the calories in vs. calories out rule holds 100% of the time. Once human error is accounted for they have never found evidence that it is false. Your own personal confidence in the accuracy of your meal reporting is meaningless (no offense).

    Now, strategies for eating properly, for changing your very lifestyle to be healthier DO work, but it has nothing to do with the veracity of calories in/out.

    Additional comment: Almost all fad diets that work, work because they exclude something which usually causes a calorie deficit.

  55. I’m currently on a severely calorie restricted diet at the moment, and contrary to expectations I don’t actually feel hungry. I’m doing this as an experiment in losing internal fat. I have, however noted some muscle wastage, so am bumping up the protein and non-starchy vegetables. I still go to the gym most days for weight training and some cardio.

    I’m not actually saying you’re wrong, but really, for someone like me, who at an early age thought wistfully about not having to eat at all (my mother’s cooking? :) ), caloric restriction is completely comfortable.

    It’s not for everyone of course, and you do have to watch certain essential nutrients and keep the muscle mass up.

  56. Hey Tom! Great article. Although it’s a semi-misleading title, it does end up doing a good job building the right expectations of the diets built around it. One thing that bothered me though, that I feel is a big deal when it comes with macronutrient/calorie counting, is Sodium and Potassium in-take on top of water.

    Not only should you be drinking a substantial amount of water, you’d have to consume a good amount of sodium to process the water through your body. Now whats left out is the fact that you NEED to also manage Sodium with Potassium in a greater number. You can’t lose weight without water, you can’t consume lots of water without sodium and you can’t consume large amounts of sodium without potassium. This all leads to macro managing your nutrients.

    I’m making this a point since Protein is great for diets, its even more critical to manage your ability to maintain diet/bulking with a healthy body. Nothing worse than losing weight/bulking with hypertension or diabetes.

    Just saying. There are far more important things than Protein, especially when a lot of the stuff people want from Protein comes with a large dose of Sodium. :P Which gone unchecked, can be disastrous.

    Right now I’m fighting to maintain my blood pressure now that I just started exercising/training and working a diet. The best thing that came out of Calories In and Calories Out hooplah is the excellent websites you can log and use your “best judgement” to see where you’re at for the day. I don’t count to a single calorie, but its a great reference point for ratio management.

      1. Human manure can account for many Calories Out. Farmers know that if animals are fed in excess there will be
        more nutrients in the manure. To see what happened to the excess calories consumed by Michael Phelps
        you could calculate his heat loss in the water and measure the caloric content of his waste.
        I would think
        the resting metabolism of a conditioned athlete would decrease not increase,
        since they would probably have a more efficient digestive system. If Michael over ate I suspect many of his excess calories would be in his manure.

  57. “Carbohydrates are not essential”
    Oh my god.
    No no no no no.
    Protein will work for the rest of your body but your brain CAN NOT accept anything but carbohydrates. You will be tired and miserable if you don’t eat carbs because you’re starving your brain of energy. Your body cannot convert protein to glucose rapidly enough to keep you healthy.

    1. sigh… no no no that’s wrong. fat is broken down into glycogen, which is actually a lot easier for the brain to use. you need to make sure you get enough cholesterol in your diet to keep your nervous system and brain from being damaged. but ketosis actually gives you energy. i used to have a huge brain fog and concentration problems eating carbs and now that i’m down to less than 20g a day I taught myself linux, began programming and have the concentration to keep doing my workouts every day. I used to be so spaced out and ADD it was causing problems at my job — and now I know how to be healthy and energetic. Using fat as fuel is how we evolved and how we work best. Carbohydrates aren’t part of the human diet but they’re easy and convenient. Not only that but carbs cause insulin spikes causing you to store fat immidiately. If I eat protein before a workout I feel a lot more able to keep pace the whole time.

  58. That’s exactly what I’M finding out from my research in dealing with a desk job for the 1st time EVER in my life. I have tried EVERYTHING and have just recognized BMR for what it is. I’m beginning, this week, to boost my calories-reduce my carbs. Fingers crossed!!

  59. I am so with you on calorie deficit fallacy. I had 7 months of trial between late October of 2015 and end of May of 2016. A little background about me or just skip to next paragraph. I am someone who worked out for many years in the gym in my late 20s and entire 30s (gym work outs, hours of swimming and running etc 4-6 days a week) and built quite a decent muscled body underneath the fat that has hidden it since I turned 40 and left exercising for the next 7 years due to hectic work and school schedule (decided to go back to college to earn another degree). I have never had my 6 packs but there were times I was very close to achieve it. I could swim 1 hr non-stop and followed with 3-6 miles run at 8minutes a mile, or 1 hr of weight lifting. On the weekends, I would run between 6-10 miles and another hour of work-out with weights. I was usually around 185lb and I am also 6ft tall. I was also pretty good with my healthy diet, consumed around 2500-3000 calorie a day. I ate plenty but they were small portions and not high in carb or fat.

    I have reached 200lb after I turned 40, and kept gaining weight as I not only stopped working out but left dieting as well. I was 238lb (my maximum weight ever) in late October 2015 and I was 47. I found this little community gym next to my house. I kept a very good record of how much I exercised daily/weekly. I made excel sheets and recorded it for 7 months. I did not do the same with my calorie intake. Simply, I did not feel the stress of it though I made sure I kept my calorie intake under 3,000 calories a day. I am pretty good in guessing calorie of food products through my years of exercising, doing my own shopping, and being employed in multinational food and beverage company for more than 10 years prior to 2014. In most days, I would consume around 2,500-2,700 calories a day, sometimes a few hundreds less or more but I hardly ever consumed 3,100 calorie a day. I work from home so I don’t move around much, doing my work on the computer though I have the luxury to hit the gym a couple of times a day. It takes only 8 minutes to leave my apartment and get on to an elliptical machine.

    On average, I worked out twice a day throughout a week sometimes three days, spent most of those hours on the elliptical machine but also have worked out with free dumbbells or machines (good number of equipments to give me full body work out although there were not enough too heavy weights). Most days, I would burn 1,000 calories before breakfast. and do another 60-90minutes around 4pm and then sometimes another 60 minutes before 9pm. I worked out 2-4 hrs a day Monday through Saturday and Sunday I would walk to the grocery store (a 5 miles round trip walk in 2 hrs carrying a 30-35lb weight on my return). Due to gym being closed at times, the total number of days I did not work out during these 7 months were about 6 weeks, mostly during holiday season Nov-Jan. I managed to lose the first 15 lbs during this time. Although the result was slow since I worked out a lot, I was still pleased with it.

    After mid January till June, the gym off days were hardly existed so I burned over 12,000, mostly 14,000 and as much as 18,000 calories a week through exercising. I ate no more than 3,000 calories but anything I desired though mostly regular home cook meals. In January, I got on creatine and I have always experienced weight gain as much as 5lb during the loading phase. It also helped me to work out with heavier weights (+20-30lb on weight machines). Guess what the result was by the end of May 2016? 220lb and my lowest weight showed on the scale was 215 for a brief time.

    So after taking less than 4 months off from work outs due to being away from home, I am back to work outs again. After two weeks of warm up and getting rid of the rust, I started keeping a calorie deficit count as of October 2016. Meanwhile, my weight reached to 228lb. I am about the complete my first week. It was a slow week but still managed to do 2 work outs a day on average Mon-Sat. According to MyFitnessPal app, with my sedentary job and body frame of 6ft and 228lb, I am supposed to consume 1,500 calorie a day to drop to 170lb in 6 months. In other words, I can consume 2,500 calorie a day to maintain my current body weight. I know I can’t do much work outs on the weekends since the gym is closed except a half day on Saturday. I do one elliptical at 9 am and have breakfast and little rest and then go back for another 45-60 minutes free weight work out. If the weather is nice enough, I take a 5 miles trip to the grocery store both on Saturday and Sunday evenings. I do not do any other work out on Sunday. I try to save +10,000 calorie Monday-Friday regardless of how you calculate (supposed to be equal to 3lb or more) and eat more on the weekends, 2,500 + the calories burn through exercising. Until Friday morning (3-4lb less than the start of the week), things seemed like going in the right direction. I stayed up late on Friday and had to consume about 1,000 in two extra meal. All the loss weight came back before I hit the gym on Saturday morning. After the gym, the extra weight was gone but only for a few hours. I understand weight fluctuates throughout the day, that is why I always get on the scale in the morning before breakfast and I go to the gym. Anyhow, I consumed less than 4,000 on Saturday because of the two Friday after midnight or rather very early meals on Saturday morning. My total calorie deficit was under 1,400 calorie including the exercises. 1,500 calorie intake for target weight, 1000 calorie burnt during exercise but consumed 3,865 calorie on Saturday. I know the weights are back but I will scale myself on Monday to see the first week result.

    I can assure you, unless I consume under 2,500 calorie minus the 750-1000 calorie burn by walking on Sunday, my weight will not look good on Monday morning. If the following week things seems like going in the same direction as the last year, I’ll be totally convinced calorie deficit is just a total B.S. I’ll share the result with you as well.

    Thanks for reading.

    Peace.

    (Dislike proof-reading and hoping I am clear enough to share my experience with the rest of you)

    1. I am 6ft and I need to consume 2,500 calorie to maintain my body weight with a sedentary job according to multiple fitness websites and smart phone apps. I work from home and do not move around much all day long except exercising. My plan is to get down as low as 170lb in 6 months. Therefore, the same web sites suggested that I need to consume 1,500 calorie a day for my situation.

      Okay, here is my results for the last two weeks (I followed the same last year. This time I am paying more attention to my calorie intake.

      My starting weight on 10/3 was 227.7lb. I weighed myself few times for a few days prior to exercising. The scale stood over 227 and under 228 each time. I weigh myself always around the same time in the morning after I wake up.

      10/3-09/2016 = 227.7lb (my starting weight) => 18,011. Total calorie consumption for the week and 2,573 per day). Total work out hours 21 hr a week and I saved 12,786 calories by exercising.

      10/10-16/2016 = 224.4lb (my starting weight) => lost 3.30lb. Even though I was supposed to lose just slightly under 4lb for the previous week. I am pleased with the result.

      18,036 Total calorie consumption for the week and 2,605 per day. Total work out hours 27hr 20 minutes a week and I saved 16,736 calories by exercising. I almost have gone zero calorie (only 764calorie) for the entire week.

      This is the week when the calorie in and out math looks like it did not work. I weighed myself around the same time after waking up and visiting the bathroom. The number was 222.8. I was displeased and decided to cheat on this number because over the weekend I kept checking my weight and it appeared around 221.2 and even as low as 220lb. So as I always do in the morning, I did elliptical exercises for 80 minutes to burn fat and 1000 calorie before breakfast. I came home from the gym, took a shower, weighed myself again. My weight was 220.6 (as always, my weight appear much less after a workout in the morning on an empty stomach). Even though it was a better result, still it wasn’t good because based on my calorie intake and consumption, I should have lost 4.5lb.

      My starting weight on 10/17/2016 was 222.8 (loss weight 1.6 lb, it is a 3lb error) when I weighed as I always do or 220.6lb (loss weight 3.8lb, the error is still three quarters of a lb) after my first 80 minutes elliptical work out on an empty stomach.

  60. LOL, this guy calls Ben and Jerry’s and pizza carboydrates. Um news flash, pizza and ice cream may have alot of carbs, but they also come packed with loads of fats from cheese and oil! in terms of calories, if 1 gram of fat has 9 cals compared to only 4 for carbohydrates, clearly you can’t compare healthy carbs like fruits and starches that have 4 calories per gram and come with water and fiber to a high simple carb/fat laddened foods like pizza and icecream :l. Please educate yourself if your going to talk about basic nutrition!

  61. I have lost over 50 pounds in the past 5.5 months on a HCLF vegan diet of mostly whole, plant foods. Very little oils and very little processed foods. I exercise regularly (HIIT and strength training) and I do not count calories…never have I ever felt better in my mind, body, or soul. It’s not about how much you eat,or which percentages of macros, it’s about WHAT you eat and how your body can use those foods to nourish your body instead of turning it into fat….

  62. Here is the update on my progress and to confirm that calorie in-out math doesn’t work for me after 9 weeks of exercising and dieting. I dropped from 228 to 202 by December 1st though looks like I am hitting a plateau since then as my weight is generally fluctuating between 204-206lb. Here are the numbers on a weekly basis:
    Week – # of Calories consumed, # calories burned through exercises, Loss of weight, (Error margin in lb),
    Week 1: 18,011 – 12,786 – 3.30lb – (-.21lb)
    Week 2: 18,236 – 16,736 – 3.80lb – (-.77lb)
    Week 3: 17,370 – 12,077 – 2.00lb – (-1.49lb)
    Week 4: 10,386 – 4,750 – 3.20lb – (-.19lb) (I was sick with a sore throat so no work out or proper eating)

    Week 1 through 4 was based on 2,500 daily calorie consumption that is required to maintain my body weight 228lb.

    Week 5 through current time is based on 2,250 calorie consumption that is required to maintain my body weight of 215lb.

    Week 5: 14,115 – 14,992 – 2.80lb – (-1.95lb)
    Week 6: 13,195 – 12,770 – 5.20lb – (0.82lb) (Made a drastic change on my diet: added veggie juicing, Apple cider vinegar/lemon juice/ginger drink, not eating after 9pm or just having some protein and no carbs)
    Week 7: 13,618 – 13,665 – 2.20lb – (-2.31lb)
    Week 8: 16,141 – 10,815 – 1.20lb – (-4.18lb) GAINED WEIGHT instead of losing over 3lb!!! It must be the sudden drop of 5.2lb. No, it wasn’t an error on my scale. I stayed under 204lb even after having meals for a day.
    Week:9 15,713 – 11,805 – 2.40lb – (-0.98lb)

    My weight on Oct 1st : 227.7lb
    My weight on Dec 1st : 202.6lb
    My weight on Dec 6th: 203.6lb

    I have reduced my cardio workouts and increased working out with weights or applying some HIIT work outs. Still, my cardio work outs makes 75% of total work out down from 85-90%. Initially, I was planning to drop to 170lb to be under 10% bf and have 6 packs. At the moment, I am comfortable with my weight and focusing on just dropping body fat%. My bodyfat % dropped from 20.8% to 15.5% while my total body water percentage increased by 5% since the start but I have also lost 7lb of muscle while losing a total of 25lb. That is also the reason why I am going to focus on losing body fat by changing my workouts. The jeans I could barely fit in at 188lb fit the same way at 205lb. That means losing over 14lb fat. These number are based on my scale. What is important is the difference at the start and currently.

    Anyhow, based on “calorie in and out” and above numbers, I should have lost an additional of 11lb. Assuming, I made some errors in recording my food intake, I should still have lost more. Simply, if you look at the numbers, I burn almost all the calories I consume weekly through exercising. So the calories I need to maintain my current body (2,250-2500 daily) is my calorie saving, which is between 15,250-17,500 calories weekly, which also equals to 4.5 -5lb of weight.

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