Posts filed under ‘Calories’

Random Vacation Musings – Weight Loss Dulls Hunger

I’m spending a few weeks out of the office with a nice view.

Except that it’s raining today, so I thought I’d stop and drop a few thoughts. Less of a cogent blog post, more like scribbling on a bedside pad in the middle of the night, half awake from a strange dream.


August 25, 2011

Set Point vs. Settling Point

UPDATE – This post is no longer in line with my thinking in some ways. See newer post.

I overheard a young (and overweight) young man complaining that he had been having trouble losing weight. His slightly less overweight female friend suggested that his body might be thwarting is fat loss – that his body has a natural “set point” and that any attempt at straying from said point would be futile.

This idea seems solid on the surface, but as I hope to show, it’s a little off.


May 26, 2011

Isocaloric but Very Different

“It’s all about calories.” It’s a widely held belief, and as I discussed in my two part series on thermodynamics (1, 2), it’s really hard to measure all those calories and that  “calories in vs. calories out” says nothing about where food is stored or used.

Unfortunately, most people don’t care to think about the issue in depth. So here’s a nice easy one.

Let’s take a look at two isocaloric diets: Diet #1 is 2.5cups of table sugar per day, and Diet #2 is 4.5lbs of chicken breast. Both diets come in at 2000 cals/day.


2 comments May 11, 2011

Do Calories Count? 1st Law of Thermo (Part 2)

Despite breaking this post up into two parts (part 1 here), this one is still a little long. Push through to the end, and you won’t be disappointed.

Last time we talked about the issues involved with applying the First Law of Thermodynamics to the entire human body as a control volume. Go back and read that post, especially the “Summing Up” paragraph at the bottom.

All caught up to speed? Good, let’s get going.


9 comments April 28, 2011

Do Calories Count? 1st Law of Thermo (Part 1)

This is a two-parter. Part 2 is here.

Calories are a contentious subject in the fitness and nutrition community, especially around these parts. The whole foods corner stresses that food quality is more important than quantity, and the low-carbers place the emphasis on hormonal balance; both of these stances can be extorted with little effort into the definitive “calories don’t count.”

I must say, this calorie apathy is extremely tempting to buy into, but I can’t quite get myself to embrace it completely. On one hand, I know our hunter/gatherer ancestors’ dinner didn’t make a stop on the scale between beast and belly, and they did just fine. There absolutely must have been times of excess (I’d venture to guess some lived their whole lives in times of proverbial “feast”), so I don’t buy the claim that they stayed healthy due to lack of food availability. This is why I believe that staying healthy and lean should be relatively effortless – and certainly should not require scales or measuring cups.


1 comment April 26, 2011

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