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Why people are still talking about CALORIES?

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Updated October 23, 2014 at 4:24 AM
Created June 12, 2014 at 9:12 AM

I don't understand. The basics of any paleo diet is the demystification of the modern nutrition concepts about calories and how our body copes with the nutrients in different ways. Nevertheless, people here are still talking about how much calories you need to eat and things like this.

Why do you think this is happening? Are people misunderstanding the real idea behind the paleo?

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0 · June 20, 2014 at 1:27 AM

Wow. Thank you for posting this. This is so well written and , I think it will help many people.

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41452 · June 20, 2014 at 12:59 AM

It's not a theory, it's a model. And a simple model at that. It will breakdown occasionally, but that doesn't necessarily undermine it's usefulness. We teach kiddos in freshmen chemistry VESPR theory and that's a load of hooey sometimes… however, it's useful 90+% of the time.

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17103 · June 20, 2014 at 12:33 AM

"Continuing to say it's a myth doesn't falsify it" smells to me of someone saying "Zeus exists! Saying he's just an Ancient Greek myth doesn't falsify him!" :) If you say "it works well except for X, and most of the time Y, and sometimes Z, but we don't know why or how", means it's a bad theory. The sun, moon, planets and stars seem to circle the earth at first blush, but as you track their progress in the sky, you begin to see exceptions which leads you to see that the earth isn't actually at the center of the universe by any stretch.

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10176 · June 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Continuing to say that it's a myth doesn't falsify it raydawg. Calorie counting works very well for getting from obesity to normal weight. Just like VLC, though maybe you have to work harder at it. Lower than normal weight is another story and a different strategy.

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10176 · June 18, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Since I've actually done it successfully to lose 50 lbs and keep it off for 7 years, I'll point out a few things about calorie counting that I learned:

-It's not an exact science. You check your work with the scale. If you're not losing weight as planned you adjust.

-You don't starve yourself. The body guards its fat and willingly sacrifices muscle if it's underfed.

-People undercount their food and overcount their exercise. Thismakes it very hard to lose on small deficits.

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690 · June 15, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Short of going crazy on nuts.... I have found it very difficult to overeat when JERF'ing.

I'm never starving & the only foods I overeat (when I do) are non-paleo foods.

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690 · June 15, 2014 at 6:35 PM

>>>>Also worth pointing out that humans are very much like an engine in your car, you capture less chemical energy than you get mechanical energy out.<<<

That's a duh...... but not really relevant.

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690 · June 15, 2014 at 6:32 PM

>>>excess paleo foods put on weight like any other<<<

I agree .....but imo eating paleo shifts the body's "operating point" ... hormonal influences?

Read Attia's results.

If I'm reading them correctly he reduced refined carbs (grains, sugar) but increased fat resulting in more calories consumed. He decreased physical activity but lost body fat.

imo, this indicates his body was operating differeently on more calories & less exercise.

Completely mirrors my experience.

But as my weight (fat) fell, I eventually had to reduce calories (knocked off the nuts) to lose more.

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41452 · June 15, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I have a very low threshold tolerance for math. Counting calories is math to me!

How did paleo man not get fat? Well, he was on the brink of starvation 90% of the time. Quantity, quantity, quantity - excess paleo foods put on weight like any other.

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529 · June 15, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Any time you throw out established scientific fact because it doesn't align with some dogma, you're probably in fad diet territory. I look at Paleo as an approach to eating (and living). It's not some magic food menu that'll necessarily prevent weight gain and disease. That's the fantasy part.

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17103 · June 15, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Yes, but next time, please remember to wipe, wash your hands, and flush.

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529 · June 15, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Thank you. Your reaction confirms that I've said something of value :)

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529 · June 15, 2014 at 1:15 PM

So if I eat from the Paleo menu, I'll never overeat or get fat? That's exactly what I'd consider a Paleo fantasy.

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690 · June 15, 2014 at 5:35 AM

@Matt 11 counting calories aint math... arithmetic at best.

I lost weight and never counted calories. I'm never starving & don't have the urge to overeat.

I don't eat processed foods, I JERF.

I wonder how paleo man kept from getting too fat or too thin?

Maybe his appetite worked because he ate paleo foods?

Maybe modern man's weight (fat) control mechanism doesn't work because modern foods mess with it?

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690 · June 15, 2014 at 5:27 AM

I disagree...machines are simple compared to animals.

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690 · June 15, 2014 at 5:21 AM

Now I know to be very skeptical of what you post....

>>>It's just like BMI, it's a great measure of bodyweight health<<<

BMI sucks as a model.... it cannot differentiate between two people of the exact same height & weight.... yields the same number.

I have posted a number of times about waist to height ratio and a USAF thesis that took a look at BMI & waist to height as rough indicators of overall fitness. At least waist to height ratio attempts to model "shape" and, thus, body fat.

If you're trying to "sell" CICO as vaild model, you'd be wise to distance yourself from BMI.

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245 · June 15, 2014 at 2:16 AM

Not even sure what you're trying to say. Need to make your thoughts more succinct.

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 11:06 PM

dontshutitdowndontshutitdown....give him more rope....

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 11:03 PM

The army was counting calories when they came up with rations, same deal as portions.

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Don't take the bait @matt11! We haven't been on this merry-go-round for a while....don't shut it down....please....

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 10:55 PM

Being sedentary is a common metabolic disorder these days. Want to jack your metabolism up 350 calories a day? Walk 5 miles. Your thyroid has no say in the matter.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 9:57 PM

No, the answer is cold-thermo, intermittent bulletproof fasting while eating only MCTs and raw bison hearts!

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Am I allowed to smoke stevia leaf? Can I keep an iPhone 5 I find in a coconut tree?!

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Seriously, what about wild rice after a HARD kettlebell workout?!

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 7:24 PM

It's so 2010....Portlandia? No, Paleolandia! What Paleohacks used to be like before Evelyn started Carbsane.

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26182 · June 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Read his "about me". Many on this board are interested in optimal health, not dogma.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Also worth pointing out that humans are very much like an engine in your car, you capture less chemical energy than you get mechanical energy out.

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26182 · June 14, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Good for you selicar. Btw, portion control is a form of indirect calorie counting. But I say do what works for you.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Better to say, cellular respiration and combustion are oxidation processes.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Ineffeciency and all that is already built into our dietary requirements. At our level of efficiency, you need X number of calories. Variation in that efficiency is narrow, outliers are few. That's why CICO works. It's just like BMI, it's a great measure of bodyweight health and works for the overwelming majority of folks. I know some like to point out how BMI calls Michael Jordan obese, but unless those folks are elite athletes like MJ, then it's not really an issue!

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26182 · June 14, 2014 at 7:06 PM

He won't do that. I tried that. His bass guitar knows more about science than your PhD.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Stay on topic, kiddo.

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26182 · June 14, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Exactly bobk. Calories matter, but due to the complexity of the human body it is hard to measure calories out. Thus set a diet, if you are not loosing weight, eat fewer calories. If it's not working, track your intake.

Other than protein, where a necessary minimum is required, the other macros are about lifestyle.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM

I call bullshit on Attia.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM

I gained weight because I ate more paleo-approved calories than I was expending. I ended up paleo at the end of my weight loss, and stopped counting at the same time. Well, you end up overeating paleo foods, you end up gaining weight. A great example of how 'what' is secondary to 'how much'. I don't hate on the paleo community, just don't let the anti-scientific notions go unchallenged. Show me the data that invalidates CICO, show me the studies!

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Sorry I can't upvote and buck the trend here, but that's the way the site works. The fundamental misunderstanding is that Paleo = ketosis. If you use a VLC approach calorie counting makes little or no sense. If you invoke Kitavans and Okinawans - and eat bananas, sweet potatoes and rice as a major part of your diet - calorie counting makes a lot of sense.

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690 · June 14, 2014 at 5:54 PM

I have have 24/7 access to any foods I chose. I chose to consume no processed foods, no grains, limited fruit. I'm not very active. I'm never starving and my weight is stable (down 30lbs & 3")

If the sub crews made the same choices they'd be fine.

Processed foods (which are grain, sugars & crap fat based) make people fat. Processed foods are designed to be enticing......

Properly feed.... the human body is amazing good at balancing input to output.... w/o counting calories.

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 5:53 PM

so thats why you hate the paleo comunity? come on, I know you have eaten donuts hiden in the bathroom, lil troll

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690 · June 14, 2014 at 5:45 PM

> you can and will lose weight on any macro ratio if you cut calories. The reason changing macros is initially effective for weight loss is because people will cut foods and not replace them ( reducing their calories ). <

Peter Attia (on his personal blog) talks about his weight loss by changing macros (more fat, fewer junk carbs). Eating more calories and exercising less and still reducing body fat. And he's much better than the average person in keeping track of his data.

The partial differential of fat storage to calories is positive but what about "the rest of the equation"?

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Matt, what are you doing here in a paleo community? I am realy curious about your nutrition. could you tell about it?

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690 · June 14, 2014 at 5:28 PM

I guess it matters who one considers a "nutritionist".

Most mainstream, licensed nutritionists (including ones giving advice to T1 & T2's) are clueless regurgitators of 'conventional wisdom' (aka stupidity). I started to examine & modify my diet when a friend was diagnosed ~T1 ~T2. I've lost 30lbs & gained some muscle doing my own ongoing n=1 over the last ~ 2 years. She's still eating grains (told whole grains are good for you) and still eating fruit. She's not lost any weight

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 4:58 PM

perfect :)

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690 · June 14, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Yes but "combustion" in a mechanical sense (heat engines) is much less complex and nuanced than "combustion" / energy utilization in the human body. How manner factors (food, exercise, hormones, bodyfat %, genes, age, gender, ?) are involved? The biochemistry of the body is much more complicated and much harder to study. imo, our best bet is to continue our various n=1 experiments and not to except what works for one to work for all. YMMV :)

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

I do not believe the cravings = micronutrient deficiency is scientifically supported. An appealing-sounding theory that gets tossed around by folks hocking food-combining books and that sort of nonsense.

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17103 · June 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Paleo has never been a historical re-enactment. Please spare us your anti-paleo sentiments.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Oh hey, since we're talking N=1 anecdotes, I've in fact gained weight on paleo. Strict or otherwise. And guess what I'm doing now…counting calories, already down a pound. Amazing stuff, math that is.

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 1:02 PM

paleo fantasy? why are you saying that? could you tell me about your 'no fantasy' nutrition?

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I've seen many people adopting the paleo idea, and I've never seen ONE of them which gots no results losing fat and improving the health. some people have a slow evolution, but generaly due wrong directions, like eating too much fruits or potatoes. and obviously, there's always that kind of people doing everything wrong and complaining about the diet.

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Stupidity wtfgod just damn pigheaded stupidity. Substituting one form of overeating for another and expecting better results. I had the same lipid tests when "carbs were my friend" as before.

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 12:30 AM

There's a story in a book on Salish weaving about the old weavers left in the 20th century. They wove by habit and reflex. All the time, even riding in the back seat of a car. The last vestige of ancient hunter gather lifestyle.

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 12:25 AM

The reason that I'm inordinately focused on coast Salish is because I've lived most of my life under those same dark wet skies. I know where and how to obtain the foods discussed in the books and find it interesting to see how they were gathered 5000 years ago. The Leopard's Tale is about central Anatolia at the dawn of the Neolithic era, so crosses between relict hunter-gatherer and early farmer. The use of baskets in 1700 AD Salish and 9000 BC Turkey is almost identical. The techniques women used in Asia Minor crossed the land bridge and survived for 11,000 years, down to the weave.

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0 · June 13, 2014 at 11:13 PM

Here's another I have had since I was a kid... http://www.amazon.com/Cities-Forgotten-Tribes-Richard-Dempewolff/dp/0910990999

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245 · June 13, 2014 at 5:04 PM

I had a puppy once but I went to sleep one day and it ran away. Wait, what are we talking about?

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17103 · June 13, 2014 at 2:37 PM

wtf? of course the last sentence is true. Replacing high calorie, nutrient devoid foods (aka junk) is what paleo is all about. Well, ok, the exception there might be bacon, but for the most part replacing a doughnut with a few ounces of liver will do wonders for your health.

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17103 · June 13, 2014 at 2:34 PM

As long as you had enough carbs and protein in there, no your thyroid wouldn't go down. that's the trouble with calories - you have to specify what you mean. :)

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10176 · June 13, 2014 at 9:55 AM

After I had high lipid tests in the 1990's I came down with corollary stupidity: "carbs are my friend". 10 years later, obese and diabetic, I learned that this was not true. Slow learner.

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0 · June 13, 2014 at 3:15 AM

Well said. My neurology prefers keto-paleo, so I'm inspired by "My life among the Eskimos" by Stefansson. I may screw up my courage to try raw meat one of these days (ok besides a tiny bit of raw beef). Will have to look up the others you mentioned. But which "The Conquest" do you mean? I'm finding mostly romance novels (gagg!!).

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41452 · June 13, 2014 at 1:48 AM

C'mon… no paleo guru says what is all that matters, how much is key. Go reread your paleo gospels, the truth is there.

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1005 · June 13, 2014 at 12:53 AM

Cellular respiration is a combustion reaction.

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0 · June 13, 2014 at 12:37 AM

Why? The body is not a car engine or a calorimeter. Calories are misleading because the body doesn't "burn" anything.

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1005 · June 12, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Edited original answer to include a third "food" keyword, for clarification and redundancy.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 6:11 PM

no need to argue about this, but that's like saying a ruler is a measurement of walnut size. No, a ruler is a measurement device that can be used to measure walnuts.

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1005 · June 12, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Assuming food is energy (we're not running on sunlight and water) and calories are a measurement of energy at approximately 4.2 kilojoules, calories can be used as a measurement of food energy, haha. Is "a measurement of food energy" all that much different of a term than "the measurement of energy that we use to describe the energy potential of foods" ?

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 6:07 PM

right. 4.2 kilojoules. My point is that it is not a measurement of food energy, it's a measurement of energy that we use to describe the energy potential of foods.

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1005 · June 12, 2014 at 6:06 PM

By formal definition a calorie is the amount of heat energy required to raise one gram of water from 14.5 to 15.5 degrees Celsius at atmospheric pressure.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 6:02 PM

calories are a measurement of energy. it is 4.2 kilojoules.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 5:01 PM

When you're obese it doesn't matter so much raydawg. As my weight came down I wasn't starving myself and going into hibernation. Walking 10 miles a day created a huge appetite, which called for more than just eating my BMR 1600 calories. At the end of every day I kept the high deficits by using exercise and by holding my eating back to 2000 calories a day. At 165 I quit. I had hit the limit of how low walking could take me. I won't deny that some of that weight loss was muscle but my thyroid function was not damaged.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 4:35 PM

The math still works, the problem is the measurement. It is impossible to determine calories out without waking around with an instrument up your rectum. 100 calories is what .02 lbs of fat. That's a rounding error. It's like trying to measure your foot with a yard stick. Sure you can tell your foot is about a third, but you could never determine if you are a size 9 or 9.5 or 10, etc.

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17103 · June 12, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Yeah, we need an FAQ that all new users should get notified about when they sign up, so we don't get the same "I'm trying to lose fat, and heard about this paleo diet thinggy, how do I do it?" and then they don't provide any details, nor pay attention to the 300 other similar answers.

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17103 · June 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

The calories thing is useful in one aspect: determining if you're at least eating enough to meet your BMR + activity level. If you eat below this, you risk stress issues, which are fine in the short term, but damaging in the long term (hint do cyclical CR or use IF instead and get plenty of nutrients.)

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17103 · June 12, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Yes, of course, but that means that if 100 cal deficits don't work, the math is wrong. If you go that huge, you risk all sorts of other issues such as your thyroid producing rT3 and rT4 instead - i.e. you go in hibernation mode.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 2:31 PM

I wasn't using 100 calorie per day deficits raydawg. I was using 1000 calorie per day deficits. Every day for 6 months. I lost an average of 2 lbs a week of real weight, which for me was confirmation that the 3500 cal/lb is approximately correct. At the beginning the deficits came from food reduction, by the end it was all exercise. I agree that small deficits are rarely successful. Counting is not accurate enough and people lose patience. But on 1000 deficits it works.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Some paleo variations cut the high fruit intake. Another variations just cut the potato. Always with good arguments inside the paleo basis. However, these "calories advices" have no relations with the paleo idea.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 2:28 PM

maybe some articles, but any quack can write an article on the internets. Look through the research literature (including the ones I sent you earlier) and you will see that it's all bull shit. Calories matter. Paleo works by removing sources of empty calories and replacing with nutrient dense, lower caloric foods which increases the satiety and decrease caloric intake. For most people this is enough -- for those who are metabolically deranged, calorie counting is helpful.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:24 PM

the calories theory just ignores some evident facts, like GI and the food influence over the hormone production and how these hormones operates. just google it and you are gonna find a huge number of compelling articles.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 2:22 PM

except that , for weight loss, calorie counting has proven to be THE most effect tool.

And since when has cutting fruits and potatoes been paleo? Sounds like you came through a low-carb version. Which may be fine for you, but is certainly not for everyone.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:20 PM

I still think there are many better advices you could give to these people, inside the paleo, like cutting fruits, potato, and show them a proper training routine. at long last, this kind of directions must be discussed.

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10994 · June 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Touché .

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

it's implicit. how someone has said before, the basis is the evolutionary biology, which carry us to the other side, definitely not towards to calories counting.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

no, traditional in the "paleo means no calorie counting". Hang around on these boards for a while and you will get the jist.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Is this really what you choose to do on your vacation? Go back to swimming in the lake with Kruse...

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:11 PM

ok, but traditional methods implies in calories counting. and here we are again. we should show these people an alternative way, and not more of the same.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

realize that most people here are asking for advice when the traditional methods don't work. Thus they need to try something other than dogma

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 1:57 PM

I've got your point... what I'm trying to say is that, as far as I know, this is a place where there are people looking for paleo advices. However, actually most advices here are all about calories and other concepts which are not related with the paleo.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 1:51 PM

How does that make any sense.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

And I reversed the downvote, since you referred real practicioners instead of the usual hucksters. But recognize that Paleo does not hold a patent on low carb dieting.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

My Spanish is OK, but I would not be able to deal with the Brasilianos without some Portugese... Even my conventional doctor knew enough about nutrition to put me on a low carb diet to treat my diabetes. That has nothing to do with paleo, it's merely good medical practice. The carb counting I did as part of the ADA diet taught me how to count calories. Success at low carb made success at controlling calories easy.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Me.

And a huge number of professionals which you can check, for example, in this list:

http://lowcarb-paleo.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/lista...

All of them are documenting incredible results prescribing paleo concepts to their pacients.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM

(That was for jonathas)

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Sorry I had to downvote. Name one nutritionist you trust.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Evolutionary biology implies in do NOT counting calories. that's makes no sense in the paleo setting.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I am inclined to think that you have absolutely no idea about what is a paleo diet. Your last sentence makes no sense at all. The only thing I'm willing to say is that you really need to read more about the nutritionists which are using the paleo diet to treat obesity, with the PURE concepts of a paleo diet, which includes only WHAT and not HOW MUCH you eat.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

My Paleo muse is a large open-wove S'Klallam clam basket (google Burke Museum for examples). The woman that made this basket used it to carry 100 lbs of clams dug with a stick. She probably steamed the clams in a pit covered with seaweed. I look at the basket and think about all the physical work and the diet that it represents. Then I think about all the Paleo branded books, diets and products. Which is more Paleo? The hand-gathered clam diet or the Perfect Health Diet?

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM

at this point everyone here should know at least a little about what you wrote. but please, take a look at the questions arising everyday here, in this forum... all topics have answers saying about calories and concepts not related with the paleo at all, and the people which comes here to learn about the paleodiet are getting confused. it's nasty

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14877 · June 16, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Because at the end of the day it is your energy balance that determines whether you gain or lose weight (your net calorie deficit or surpluss).

Beyond that, it is your macronutrient composition (ratio of protein/carbs/fats) and your exercise regime that determines your body composition (how much of that weight is lean tissue vs fat).

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 8:32 PM

Part of the reason I went Paleo is so I do not have to count calories. I eat as many fruits/veggies as I want.I do portion my meats and nuts though. I maintain my weight within a two pound range

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15400 · June 15, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Because calories are still calories.

Even though processed food is bad for you, but calories are still calories. And if you eat 5,000 per day and all your calories are strictly Paleo, you won't lose weight.

The beauty of it is that there is absolutely no way to get so many calories while eating Paleo. All you need is liver and kale, your body will meet its nutritional needs and voila: you are full.

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690 · June 15, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Short of going crazy on nuts.... I have found it very difficult to overeat when JERF'ing.

I'm never starving & the only foods I overeat (when I do) are non-paleo foods.

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26182 · June 14, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Is it just me or does this thread remind anyone else of something.... http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3cwMLRLtAhs

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 7:24 PM

It's so 2010....Portlandia? No, Paleolandia! What Paleohacks used to be like before Evelyn started Carbsane.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Seriously, what about wild rice after a HARD kettlebell workout?!

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8065 · June 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Obesity is not a moral failing. It's a metabolic disorder. In fact, many obese people are malnourished because the food they eat lacks the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and hormone antecedents needed to support their health. Their bodies are in a constant state of hunger because they are desperately trying to obtain those micronutrients, but the processed SAD does not provide them. When the metabolism is corrected through adequate nutrition--real, whole, nutrient dense foods packed with the micronutrients our body needs-- hunger is satisfied. Calorie counting is not necessary, there MAY be a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake when the body's needs are finally satisfied, but it does NOT require scrupulous counting of calories with mathematical precision to lose weight. Some people may even INCREASE their caloric intake to get sufficient nutrients, but still lose weight. Calories are not the determinant factor in weight loss. Eat real whole food of adequate nutrient density. Eat only when hungry, stop when full. I know this works. 73 pounds down now.

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 10:55 PM

Being sedentary is a common metabolic disorder these days. Want to jack your metabolism up 350 calories a day? Walk 5 miles. Your thyroid has no say in the matter.

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0 · June 20, 2014 at 1:27 AM

Wow. Thank you for posting this. This is so well written and , I think it will help many people.

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41452 · June 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

I do not believe the cravings = micronutrient deficiency is scientifically supported. An appealing-sounding theory that gets tossed around by folks hocking food-combining books and that sort of nonsense.

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529 · June 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I think you've bought into the paleo fantasy, and maybe also the low-carb fantasy :)

For starters, we aren't eating true paleo foods, nor existing in a stone age environment.

Calorie counting is a useful tool when your environment provides 24/7 access to unlimited calorie-dense foods.

Calorie in-and-out is also useful when you don't move enough. Which is why submarine crews are fed calorie restricted diets at sea.

Also, I wouldn't just trust the word of nutritionists. Dig a little deeper...

Here's a recent interview with Dr. Varady. She does original research in calorie restricting diets and fasting. Not paleo, but that's OK :)

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Sorry I can't upvote and buck the trend here, but that's the way the site works. The fundamental misunderstanding is that Paleo = ketosis. If you use a VLC approach calorie counting makes little or no sense. If you invoke Kitavans and Okinawans - and eat bananas, sweet potatoes and rice as a major part of your diet - calorie counting makes a lot of sense.

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 1:02 PM

paleo fantasy? why are you saying that? could you tell me about your 'no fantasy' nutrition?

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17103 · June 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Paleo has never been a historical re-enactment. Please spare us your anti-paleo sentiments.

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690 · June 14, 2014 at 5:54 PM

I have have 24/7 access to any foods I chose. I chose to consume no processed foods, no grains, limited fruit. I'm not very active. I'm never starving and my weight is stable (down 30lbs & 3")

If the sub crews made the same choices they'd be fine.

Processed foods (which are grain, sugars & crap fat based) make people fat. Processed foods are designed to be enticing......

Properly feed.... the human body is amazing good at balancing input to output.... w/o counting calories.

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40 · June 14, 2014 at 9:14 AM

I don't count calories myself but I do exercise portion control. Apart from the fact that adding fat to your meals make them way more filling, let's face it, hunter gatherers didn't have free flowing food. Sometimes they would eat, still be hungry, and fill full a few minutes-hours later. It happens. In my own experience, that's what worked best for losing extra fat. Of course, if you're already at a proper body shape, you don't really need to concern yourself with this, going paleo does miracles to general health. But I'm convinced that if you're fat/overweight/obese, you need to go the extra step. (Though going through a ketogenic diet before lowering your portions is what I would suggest)

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0 · June 14, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I've seen many people adopting the paleo idea, and I've never seen ONE of them which gots no results losing fat and improving the health. some people have a slow evolution, but generaly due wrong directions, like eating too much fruits or potatoes. and obviously, there's always that kind of people doing everything wrong and complaining about the diet.

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26182 · June 14, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Good for you selicar. Btw, portion control is a form of indirect calorie counting. But I say do what works for you.

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245 · June 13, 2014 at 3:34 AM

Step away from the cool-aid...

Calories are certainly the best way to think about energy as it relates to the diet, and by extension, weight loss and weight gain.

Now, one could argue we do not take into account enough factors, for example it's hard to measure how many calories someone burns unless you monitor them very, very carefully. Also you have a ton of bias and speculation as far as calorie consumption is concerned, very few people truthfully account for the calories they consume.

As far as the paleo diet is concerned, changing macros to cause weight loss is silly...you can and will lose weight on any macro ratio if you cut calories. The reason changing macros is initially effective for weight loss is because people will cut foods and not replace them ( reducing their calories ).

What's not debate-able is, when you get down to it, it is math...no two ways around it. Once we account for enough factors calorie in, calorie out should be 1=1 with weight change. Can the average person currently be perfectly accurate with this? No. But it is certainly the best option around. Certainly better than, 'Cut the carbs and eat as many calories as you want'. (This is not paleo, this is just stupid.)

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10176 · June 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Stupidity wtfgod just damn pigheaded stupidity. Substituting one form of overeating for another and expecting better results. I had the same lipid tests when "carbs were my friend" as before.

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10176 · June 13, 2014 at 9:55 AM

After I had high lipid tests in the 1990's I came down with corollary stupidity: "carbs are my friend". 10 years later, obese and diabetic, I learned that this was not true. Slow learner.

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690 · June 14, 2014 at 5:45 PM

> you can and will lose weight on any macro ratio if you cut calories. The reason changing macros is initially effective for weight loss is because people will cut foods and not replace them ( reducing their calories ). <

Peter Attia (on his personal blog) talks about his weight loss by changing macros (more fat, fewer junk carbs). Eating more calories and exercising less and still reducing body fat. And he's much better than the average person in keeping track of his data.

The partial differential of fat storage to calories is positive but what about "the rest of the equation"?

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1005 · June 12, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Assuming you consume food for energy and food calories are a measurement of food energy, I feel like they will appropriately appear in discussions on food + performance. I find calorimetry to be a fascinating science, and calorie restricted optimal nutritional diets a powerful tool for an array of issues. If an individual comes to the site and the numbers don't seem to add up, that's a useful constant that can be tracked around other dietary / lifestyle modifications. We still talk about calories because it's useful to talk about, if you're concerned with energy / health. The prioritization of fat storage above oxidation is a separate concept beyond that of simply tracking calories.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 6:02 PM

calories are a measurement of energy. it is 4.2 kilojoules.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Because some people come to the diet when they are obese. Obesity is not like "gee I could stand to gain some muscle and lose 10 lbs of fat" it's more like "my body will fight me if I try to lose any fat at all and if I try to exercise, I will probably activate inflammation enough to put me out of work for a week." It also means that people have no idea what is a normal meal size anymore after sometimes decades of overeating unconsciously in front of the TV, or in zombie mode during a 30 minute lunch break (30 minute lunches are a form of emotional abuse, IMO). Calories can be a tool for figuring out what's normal again. But if you're using them to deprive yourself, you're misusing the tool.

Or it can help if you're on a ketogenic diet and you're not used to having so much fat in your food. Meal sizes with high fat are physically smaller but equally satiating. I hope you're not suggesting that obese people should know when enough is enough, because obviously they never did know that. Or are you saying that obesity is not a disease and should be treated as if it was all in the person's head and/or can be treated with a change of diet alone without any objective tools to track progress or other help?

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10994 · June 12, 2014 at 2:04 PM

"The basics of any paleo diet is the demystification of the modern nutrition concepts about calories and how our body copes with the nutrients in different ways." According to..... You? Please provide a formal citation from a credible/accredited source.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Is this really what you choose to do on your vacation? Go back to swimming in the lake with Kruse...

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

it's implicit. how someone has said before, the basis is the evolutionary biology, which carry us to the other side, definitely not towards to calories counting.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM

The basis of the diet is evolutionary biology -- not don't count calories. That is an absurd statement.

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0 · June 13, 2014 at 12:37 AM

Why? The body is not a car engine or a calorimeter. Calories are misleading because the body doesn't "burn" anything.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Evolutionary biology implies in do NOT counting calories. that's makes no sense in the paleo setting.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:24 PM

the calories theory just ignores some evident facts, like GI and the food influence over the hormone production and how these hormones operates. just google it and you are gonna find a huge number of compelling articles.

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41452 · June 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM

The CICO model works, quite well in fact. Of course, you can come up with situations that it breaks down, but all scientific models do when put under enough scrutiny. In practice, it has no equal when it comes to weight loss.

If we're talking weight loss… how much you eat has the largest effect. What you eat has a small effect, other factors (e.g. timing) has more or less an imperceptible effect on results. The vast majority of folks (we're talking 90+%) get results dealing with the 'how much.'

Nutrition scientists have hunted for macronutrient effects for years, with not much to show for it. When controlled for calories, certain macronutrient enriched diets might show a statistically insignificant level of greater weight loss.

Paleo works because you're replacing nutrient-poor high-calorie foods with nutrient-rich lower-calorie foods. It is a calorie reduced diet by default.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:20 PM

I still think there are many better advices you could give to these people, inside the paleo, like cutting fruits, potato, and show them a proper training routine. at long last, this kind of directions must be discussed.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 1:57 PM

I've got your point... what I'm trying to say is that, as far as I know, this is a place where there are people looking for paleo advices. However, actually most advices here are all about calories and other concepts which are not related with the paleo.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM

(That was for jonathas)

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Some paleo variations cut the high fruit intake. Another variations just cut the potato. Always with good arguments inside the paleo basis. However, these "calories advices" have no relations with the paleo idea.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Sorry I had to downvote. Name one nutritionist you trust.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I am inclined to think that you have absolutely no idea about what is a paleo diet. Your last sentence makes no sense at all. The only thing I'm willing to say is that you really need to read more about the nutritionists which are using the paleo diet to treat obesity, with the PURE concepts of a paleo diet, which includes only WHAT and not HOW MUCH you eat.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

And I reversed the downvote, since you referred real practicioners instead of the usual hucksters. But recognize that Paleo does not hold a patent on low carb dieting.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

My Spanish is OK, but I would not be able to deal with the Brasilianos without some Portugese... Even my conventional doctor knew enough about nutrition to put me on a low carb diet to treat my diabetes. That has nothing to do with paleo, it's merely good medical practice. The carb counting I did as part of the ADA diet taught me how to count calories. Success at low carb made success at controlling calories easy.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 2:11 PM

ok, but traditional methods implies in calories counting. and here we are again. we should show these people an alternative way, and not more of the same.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Me.

And a huge number of professionals which you can check, for example, in this list:

http://lowcarb-paleo.blogspot.com.es/2013/04/lista...

All of them are documenting incredible results prescribing paleo concepts to their pacients.

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17103 · June 12, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Science wants to deal with numbers and in the absence of anything better, calories are a number, even if they don't really work. So these folks stick to using them because there's nothing better yet.

But yeah, calories are a useless measure unless you do a whole lot of other things to equalize things.

Calories do matter if the order of magnitude is large enough, but not for small measurements. If you cut back on only 100 calories, or work out an extra 100 calories per day, it won't make much if any difference. Certainly, those 100 calorie deficits after 35 days won't add to a 1lbs loss of fat - depending on other factors (hormone levels, absorption, stomach acid levels/bile levels, macro ratios, and even breakdown within a type of ratio, types and counts of gut flora, fidgeting levels and other non-exercise activity, how deep your breaths are and how much oxygen you absorb, sleep quality + duration, water intake, micronutrient intake, etc...), you might see a gain in fat of several pounds, or even a loss of several pounds, but the resulting numbers won't add up.

So certainly calories aren't calories. Isocaloric diets have shown this, and the Calories-In-Calories-Out theory is quite wrong. If it were right, the numbers would add up precisely. If someone would bother to create a comprehensive formula that takes into account all the factors of what humans do to process nutrients all the way into whether fat is deposited or released and burned from fat cells, that would probably be a correct measure. But certainly it's not Calories Stored = Calories Eaten - Calories Burned by activity.

You might even lose weight by adding 100 calories worth of fiber, or 100 calories worth of MCT oil while changing nothing else. Or you might add 100 calories of a refined sugar and start gaining fat. Or you might cut out 100 calories worth of glucose carbs from starchy veggies and find you've lowered your thyroid function enough to gain weight (depending on all the other variables which this reductionist shortcut doesn't take into account.)

Best thing to do if you're trying to lose fat: change your macros for low carb (or low fat*) if your genes say that's how you lose fat. Change your workout style to HIIT + weights, and eat real food that you make yourself from quality ingredients such as wild caught seafood, pastured/grassfed animals, organic veggies, instead of crap in a bag.

* There are people who do better on a high carb, low fat diet based on their ancestry/genes. These are typically skinny on a SAD, so they usually don't come to the paleo diet unless they have a health concern that can be addressed by removing toxic junk foods. They're the ones that can eat lots of fruit and lots of carbs and stay skinny, but if they eat fat, they gain weight.

EDIT: Just ran across this, it shows a very interesting discussion about the myth of 3500calories of fat = 1lbs.

http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/06/the-calorie-the...

One reply was: ”Basic biology tells us that 1kg pure fat, converted to 
energy = 9000 kcal, 1lb pure fat = 0.453 kg = 4077 kcal. The 
approximation to 3500 kcal is made on the basis that ‘adipose tissue’ is
 not 100% fat (some water and some lean tissue). Hence to lose 1lb pure 
fat = 4077 kcal deficit, or 1lb fat tissue in the body = approx 3500kcal
 deficit. This equates to 500kcal per day to lose 1lb in a week. This 
has been supported by numerous studies using whole body calorimetry.” 
There were no sources put forward, for these “numerous studies”. I asked
 on 21 July and again on 11 August for “even one obesity study that 
proves this formula” and have received nothing back.

In other words, someone pulled it out of their digestive tract and it became conventional wisdom, just like the CICO theory.

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17103 · June 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

The calories thing is useful in one aspect: determining if you're at least eating enough to meet your BMR + activity level. If you eat below this, you risk stress issues, which are fine in the short term, but damaging in the long term (hint do cyclical CR or use IF instead and get plenty of nutrients.)

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 2:31 PM

I wasn't using 100 calorie per day deficits raydawg. I was using 1000 calorie per day deficits. Every day for 6 months. I lost an average of 2 lbs a week of real weight, which for me was confirmation that the 3500 cal/lb is approximately correct. At the beginning the deficits came from food reduction, by the end it was all exercise. I agree that small deficits are rarely successful. Counting is not accurate enough and people lose patience. But on 1000 deficits it works.

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26182 · June 12, 2014 at 4:35 PM

The math still works, the problem is the measurement. It is impossible to determine calories out without waking around with an instrument up your rectum. 100 calories is what .02 lbs of fat. That's a rounding error. It's like trying to measure your foot with a yard stick. Sure you can tell your foot is about a third, but you could never determine if you are a size 9 or 9.5 or 10, etc.

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0 · June 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM

at this point everyone here should know at least a little about what you wrote. but please, take a look at the questions arising everyday here, in this forum... all topics have answers saying about calories and concepts not related with the paleo at all, and the people which comes here to learn about the paleodiet are getting confused. it's nasty

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10176 · June 18, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Since I've actually done it successfully to lose 50 lbs and keep it off for 7 years, I'll point out a few things about calorie counting that I learned:

-It's not an exact science. You check your work with the scale. If you're not losing weight as planned you adjust.

-You don't starve yourself. The body guards its fat and willingly sacrifices muscle if it's underfed.

-People undercount their food and overcount their exercise. Thismakes it very hard to lose on small deficits.

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10176 · June 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Continuing to say that it's a myth doesn't falsify it raydawg. Calorie counting works very well for getting from obesity to normal weight. Just like VLC, though maybe you have to work harder at it. Lower than normal weight is another story and a different strategy.

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10176 · June 12, 2014 at 10:06 AM

I try to convince people that Paleo is about behavior and not just changing the set of snacks you eat while watching TV. But no one pays much attention.

I realized that calories were important before I knew about Paleo. I used what I learned to lose 50 lbs and keep it off. Knowing about calories forced me more and more into Paleo behavior, and to a recognition that some foods are better than others depending on what you do with them after you digest them.

Most of the Paleo pundits are in it for the money and are vested in creating their own mysticism. Educate yourself in ancient practices by reading books like The Conquest, The Oregon Trail and The Leopard's Tale. Get an understanding of how the life was lived. Then decide on whether calories are useful for Paleo living now. Those books won't point you towards fructose theory, leptin reset and bulletproof coffee.

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0 · June 13, 2014 at 3:15 AM

Well said. My neurology prefers keto-paleo, so I'm inspired by "My life among the Eskimos" by Stefansson. I may screw up my courage to try raw meat one of these days (ok besides a tiny bit of raw beef). Will have to look up the others you mentioned. But which "The Conquest" do you mean? I'm finding mostly romance novels (gagg!!).

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