Let’s start with some real numbers.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey back in 2014, more than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity in the US. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that 3/4 of the American population will likely be overweight or obese by 2020. Mind blowing stuff.
The start of this obesity epidemic can be traced all the way back to the 80’s. Around the same time that the USDA released the first dietary guidelines for Americans,. The rest of the western hemisphere followed suit and now we have an obesity epidemic.
You’ve been lied to
Now, what has every nutritionist, dietician, or “health expert” recommended these last four decades to combat this epidemic? That’s right. It’s the classic calories in vs calories out model. You’ve probably tried it. It’s built around this idea that if you just cut the fat and eat a little less, and move a little bit more, like exercise, do that over time, and you’ll lose weight. And almost everyone I know including their dog has tried this method of weight loss in some way, shape, or form.
The problem is, this weight loss model of calorie counting has about a 99% failure rate.
Meaning it might work at the beginning depending on how strictly you follow the diet. But then it stops working. You hit the dreaded weight loss plateau, you get frustrated, you blame yourself, and then you quit.
Sound familiar? And that’s where a lot of people find themselves. Hey, comment below if you can relate.
I’m gonna tell you now that it’s not entirely your fault. You’ve simply been given the wrong information. In explain this in further detail in this video.
Why ‘Eat less move more’ DOESN’T work
So, the calories in vs calories out model, while technically true from a Physics standpoint, is almost entirely dependent on the ‘calories out’ part of the equation, and the ‘calories in’ makes very little difference. And nobody talks about this part and this is the calories in vs calories out model’s biggest flaw. Because reducing the ‘calories in’, by eating less, often reduces the ‘calories out’ part of the equation. And we just make this false assumption that the ‘calories out’ stays stable.
But it doesn’t.
Your ‘calories out’, also known as your basal metabolic rate or BMR can actually go up or down by as much as 40%. And nothing illustrates this more than studies done on the biggest loser contestants. If you’ve ever seen the show, they just get put on these massive calorie deficits, they’re barely eating anything, and they do these crazy exercise programs and it works at the beginning. They lose a ton of weight and everyone’s happy.
The problem with calorie deficit diets
The problem is, it’s simply not sustainable. Over time, after they’re done the show, they’re still on this massive calorie deficit. And their metabolic rate just goes to shit and they stop losing weight even though they’re eating less than they ever did before. Sound familiar? Why do you think there’s never any Biggest Loser reunion? Because most of them have gained back the weight they’ve lost while they were on the show.
And the reason for that is there’s really only two places that you can get energy from. And this is the thing that a lot of “experts” out there don’t talk about is that your body actually functions as a two compartment system. The calories in vs calories out weight loss model needs your body to function as a single compartment system for it to be true. But again, it doesn’t work that way.
Let me explain.
If you look at the energy that your body wants to expend just to keep you alive, you know, keep your brain active, keep your heart pumping, keep your organs functioning, which again is your basal metabolic rate. Let’s call it BMR for short. Let’s say your BMR is 2000 cals. Well, there’s two different places where you can get those 2000 cals. You can get it from the foods that you eat, OR, you can get it from your fat stores. So it’s an either/or scenario.
So the assumption is that if you go on a calorie deficit by eating less by cutting fats from your diet because it’s calorie dense, let’s say 1500 cals. You eat 1500 cals worth of food, you’ll make up the 500 calorie deficit from your fat stores and your 2000 calorie BMR will stay stable. Now, one pound of fat is about 3500 cals. If you do some simple math, with a daily 500 calorie deficit, that equates to 3500 cals, and therefore you’re gonna lose a pound a week and you’re gonna lose 52 lbs in one year and you’re gonna weigh zero pounds in a few of years.
Of course, if that was true, we’d all be walking around with a six pack. And this is the weight loss model, the calories in vs calories out model that we’ve been led to believe for decades. And almost every body I know has done a calorie deficit diet, and it’s almost never worked for anybody for a sustainable amount of time.
Not all calories are the same
The other major flaw of the calories in vs calories out model is that it assumes that your body treats all calories equal. But in order for that to be true then 300 cals of eggs would have the same fattening effects as a 300 cal donut. But they’re not the same. Not even close. And anybody with common sense should know that.
Because the minute you put those foods in your mouth, the body’s physiologic response is completely different between the two. With the donut, because it’s made out of refined carbs and sugar, your insulin goes up. All you have to remember is that if your insulin goes up, you turn off fat burning. You’re in fat storage mode. With the eggs, because it’s mostly fat and protein, your insulin levels stay relatively stable. So what that means is that if you take equal calorie portions of food, certain foods are more fattening than others. That is, donuts are more fattening than eggs. And that’s just common sense. Right?
And this always drives me up the wall when you get to a concept like calories. We abandon all common sense and we make up ridiculous rules to justify it. Drinking diet coke instead of regular coke is a great example. We think that because it has zero calories then it must be better for you. And the answer is no. Your body still has a physiologic response to the artificial sweetener in that can of diet coke.
Your body doesn’t count calories
This might blow mind but your body actually doesn’t count calories. Your stomach has no receptors for calories. But then we go, oh I burned 300 cals on the StairMaster! I can eat a cookie afterwards! No, you can’t. You can exercise your muscles but you can’t exercise your liver which carries the burden when you eat a lot of sugar.
Then we make up all kinds of reasons why you can eat donuts for dinner because it’s the same amount of calories as the prime rib that you just ate. Right? And it’s like oh I could’ve eaten three donuts. It’s the same calories. But it’s not the same. Your body reacts completely different to those foods. And that’s where a lot of the confusion comes in.
The calories in vs calories out weight loss model is just a flawed system and it simply doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked for the last four decades and now we have a full blown obesity epidemic.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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