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Which Macro is most fattening if eaten in isolation?

by (6709)
Updated about 20 hours ago
Created July 12, 2012 at 5:09 PM

If a human consumes lets say 400 more grams of either protein/carbs/fat in isolation, which one is MORE fattening?

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4266 · July 14, 2012 at 8:34 PM

A lot of them cheat. A lot of them give up completely.

D58c513cccb6e80e7b9d5ac93eaeec7b
3221 · July 13, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Hahaha this is funny, protein rich pasta!

D58c513cccb6e80e7b9d5ac93eaeec7b
3221 · July 13, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Thank you raydawg

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84
17136 · July 13, 2012 at 7:39 PM

@Bill1102inf um, what does insulin do when you eat a large quantity of carbs? Doesn't it store it as fat because it's a dangerous spike in blood sugar that can cause damage to arteries, nerves, eyes, and organs? Please don't troll.

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4100 · July 13, 2012 at 6:01 AM

I dunno, I think I find fat more filling than protein, by far.

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4100 · July 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM

How do fruitarians not end up dead?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12677 · July 13, 2012 at 5:48 AM

You still need amino acids daily for a multitude of biological processes. Don't get any from food? Your body takes it from wherever it can get it. An extended diet containing no protein would lead to muscular atrophy.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79
5150 · July 13, 2012 at 4:52 AM

I'm pretty sure in the video tj is referring to, they showed fat was the least satisfying macro, which is bull because it's so easy to binge out on carbs. Not so much on excess fat.

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2934 · July 13, 2012 at 2:49 AM

Protein-rich pasta? Fat-rich pasta? Did they take little strings of chicken and lard? If so, I'm interested.

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6709 · July 13, 2012 at 1:15 AM

wrong, carbs almost never turn to fat, EVER!!!!!!

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5775 · July 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Not necessarily, given that you started with some level of muscle mass. Given this amount of caloric intake, the person wouldn't likely burn muscle for energy. As you put on excess weight, you would develop some muscle as well. Good food for thought though. Interesting topic...

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 12, 2012 at 8:45 PM

@Mscott....I love this stuff. I wish I would have found paleohacks long ago. I have been researching and debating this stuff for a while. Thanks for the compliment. I am sure I will be on here a fair amount. I have a lot of free time, as one of my other jobs, besides personal training, requires me to be online a lot.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12677 · July 12, 2012 at 8:11 PM

RaiseFitness, I have no idea how you've apparently answered 52 questions in 2 days, but such comments are spot on, so I'm not complaining.

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2801 · July 12, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Wouldn't you develop a protein deficiency disease on a pure fat diet, even if it was hypercaloric?

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15400 · July 12, 2012 at 7:24 PM

I have tried protein-only diet, low-carb veg only diet and fruit only diet. I gained weight on fruit-only and lost on protein-only.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · July 12, 2012 at 7:23 PM

could you please post the link - I would love to watch it.

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7292 · July 12, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Energy balance DOES determine weight loss/gain, but what we eat determines energy balance. Certain foods will increase or decrease both energy and appetite, thus shifting energy balance one way or the other. As a low-carb, highly active person, I recommend not looking at insulin as the "evil fat storing hormone". It can do both good and bad, depending on many different factors.

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7292 · July 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Your answer is flawed because the question is flawed. you are comparing 1600 Kcal of protein to 1600 kcal of carb to 3600 kcal of fat. not a fair comparison.

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1320 · July 12, 2012 at 6:39 PM

This is a nonsensical question. 1 g of fat = 9 kcal, 1 g of carb = 4 kcal, 1 g of protein = 4 kcal. So are you asking if someone consumes 3600 kcals versus someone who consumes 1600 kcals which will store more energy? My money is on the sucker who consumed an excess 2000 kcals compared to the other.

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:18 PM

P.S. Thank you for facilitating an actual discussion. This was fun. Lunch time! -- I'm out.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM

I will go in search of one, but the information is WAY harder to find unfortunately. And as far as the recomposition effect you're referencing, I don't deny that's possible in the right hormonal/training/macro environment. I mean, for a crude example someone need only look at the biggest loser contestants *shivers.* I guess we could call this "repartitioning," based on the fact it's a matter of maintaining homeostasis by gaining and losing simultaneously. I think Lyle McDonald has written about it in the past, but unfortunately he's recently devolved into a short-fused, foul mouthed whiner.

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3221 · July 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Exactly, so how is my answer flawed

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14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I disagree that "energy balance is the main determinant of fat loss or gain." I understand the importance of energy balance in weight loss/gain, but not in fat loss or gain. I can eat a hyper caloric diet, gain muscle mass, and lose body fat within the same week by eating and training properly. I could also eat a hyper caloric diet and lose weight by losing muscle mass and gaining body fat over the course of week if I stop exercising and eat a crappy diet...but I'll weight less. SO energy balance dictates weight loss or gain, not fat loss or gain.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I need to learn about this ASP stuff. Any good links besides wiki?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Right. I understand the importance of energy balance in weight loss/gain, but not in fat loss or gain. I can eat a hyper caloric diet, gain muscle mass, and lose body fat within the same week by eating and training properly. I could also eat a hyper caloric diet and lose weight by losing muscle mass and gaining body fat over the course of week. SO energy balance dictates weight loss or gain, not fat loss or gain.

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:04 PM

@foreveryoung: Yes, one of insulin's many roles is to store nutrients in cells. However, that does not mean that it's necessary to store body fat. Dietary fat is stored rather efficiently by ASP. And just because insulin stores energy at one time does not mean said energy will stay there indefinitely. Energy balance is the main determinant of fat loss or gain.

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Where on earth did you read that? I'm attempting to read in between my lines, but there's only 2 of them.

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:01 PM

@Alvaro: Insulin also stimulates protein synthesis. Therefore, I should seek to have my insulin levels as high as possible all the time in order to build muscle mass. Does that sound stupid? Your 'in-a-vacuum' logic is comparable and much the same.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:00 PM

@ Raise- I noticed that too, and that's why I didn't answer myself. @ Avenger- One of the roles of insulin is to regulate nutrient partitioning, is it not? In the absence of any insulin, how do cells store energy?

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12677 · July 12, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Foreveryoung-insulin is not the only hormone affecting fat storage, others, namely acylation stimulating protein, help explain why different amounts of fat and carbs in the diet does not change the amount of weight lost if the calories are equal.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM

@ Raise- yeah I noticed that too, and was thinking the same thing. @ Avenger- My understanding was that insulin is required to transport and utilize nutritents, which may mean storing them as if/once they are converted into trigs.

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3221 · July 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Insulin transforms extra energy into adipose tissue

D58c513cccb6e80e7b9d5ac93eaeec7b
3221 · July 12, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Are you saying, the higher your Carb. Intake, the more you Burn fat?

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 5:50 PM

@RaiseFitness: Good catch. @foreveryoung: Insulin is not required to store fat. PERIOD.

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Excuse the "long," I'm not sure what that's doing there.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Fundamentally flawed long. This logic is NOT correct: "High Carbohydrate Diet -> High Insulin -> Increased Lipogenesis/Decreased Lipolysis -> Increased Body Fat -> Obesity."

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7292 · July 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

If the question was based on 400 kcal of each macronutrient, the answer would not be much different, if left in isolation, but there is still no way to answer this type of hypothetical in real life. The body can't do 400 kcal per day for a sustained period.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 12, 2012 at 5:39 PM

The problem is that the question is flawed. 400g, not 400 kcal is the reference point. So without a doubt you are comparing 1600 kcal of protein to 1600 kcal of carbs to 3600 kcal of fat. This kind of question is illogical from the start because there is no baseline and too many real life variables are left out.

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14877 · July 12, 2012 at 5:29 PM

How can fat be fattening in the absence of insulin from either carbohydrate or protein? I admit it will not be favorable to overall body composition or general health to consume that much fat, but how can it be fattening without elliciting an insulin response that proteins and carbs do?

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6 Answers

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
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5775 · July 12, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Eat 400 grams of fat per day, in isolation, in a sedentary individual, and you will gain weight. You might not develop any acute health problems necessarily. This would be the answer to "most fattening."

Eat 400 grams a day of only carbohydrate and you might not gain weight (1600 kcal/day won't cause this) but you're going to feel like crap, have no muscle tissue and likely be very messed up metabolically. This would be the answer to "most unhealthy over the long-term."

Eat 400 grams of protein a day without any fat or carbohydrate and you will die far quicker than the other 2. This would be the answer to "most unhealthy overall and lead to the quickest death."

The only one to possibly survive (not necessarily thrive) on would be only fat.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12677 · July 13, 2012 at 5:48 AM

You still need amino acids daily for a multitude of biological processes. Don't get any from food? Your body takes it from wherever it can get it. An extended diet containing no protein would lead to muscular atrophy.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
5775 · July 12, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Not necessarily, given that you started with some level of muscle mass. Given this amount of caloric intake, the person wouldn't likely burn muscle for energy. As you put on excess weight, you would develop some muscle as well. Good food for thought though. Interesting topic...

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2801 · July 12, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Wouldn't you develop a protein deficiency disease on a pure fat diet, even if it was hypercaloric?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
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7292 · July 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Well, the least would be protein. And since your measurements are in grams, not kcal, then it would be fat, due to it being 9 kcal per gram, then carbs, then protein in order of most to least fattening.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:04 PM

@foreveryoung: Yes, one of insulin's many roles is to store nutrients in cells. However, that does not mean that it's necessary to store body fat. Dietary fat is stored rather efficiently by ASP. And just because insulin stores energy at one time does not mean said energy will stay there indefinitely. Energy balance is the main determinant of fat loss or gain.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:18 PM

P.S. Thank you for facilitating an actual discussion. This was fun. Lunch time! -- I'm out.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:01 PM

@Alvaro: Insulin also stimulates protein synthesis. Therefore, I should seek to have my insulin levels as high as possible all the time in order to build muscle mass. Does that sound stupid? Your 'in-a-vacuum' logic is comparable and much the same.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM

@ Raise- yeah I noticed that too, and was thinking the same thing. @ Avenger- My understanding was that insulin is required to transport and utilize nutritents, which may mean storing them as if/once they are converted into trigs.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I disagree that "energy balance is the main determinant of fat loss or gain." I understand the importance of energy balance in weight loss/gain, but not in fat loss or gain. I can eat a hyper caloric diet, gain muscle mass, and lose body fat within the same week by eating and training properly. I could also eat a hyper caloric diet and lose weight by losing muscle mass and gaining body fat over the course of week if I stop exercising and eat a crappy diet...but I'll weight less. SO energy balance dictates weight loss or gain, not fat loss or gain.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 5:29 PM

How can fat be fattening in the absence of insulin from either carbohydrate or protein? I admit it will not be favorable to overall body composition or general health to consume that much fat, but how can it be fattening without elliciting an insulin response that proteins and carbs do?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Right. I understand the importance of energy balance in weight loss/gain, but not in fat loss or gain. I can eat a hyper caloric diet, gain muscle mass, and lose body fat within the same week by eating and training properly. I could also eat a hyper caloric diet and lose weight by losing muscle mass and gaining body fat over the course of week. SO energy balance dictates weight loss or gain, not fat loss or gain.

D58c513cccb6e80e7b9d5ac93eaeec7b
3221 · July 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Insulin transforms extra energy into adipose tissue

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 5:50 PM

@RaiseFitness: Good catch. @foreveryoung: Insulin is not required to store fat. PERIOD.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I need to learn about this ASP stuff. Any good links besides wiki?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 12, 2012 at 8:45 PM

@Mscott....I love this stuff. I wish I would have found paleohacks long ago. I have been researching and debating this stuff for a while. Thanks for the compliment. I am sure I will be on here a fair amount. I have a lot of free time, as one of my other jobs, besides personal training, requires me to be online a lot.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12677 · July 12, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Foreveryoung-insulin is not the only hormone affecting fat storage, others, namely acylation stimulating protein, help explain why different amounts of fat and carbs in the diet does not change the amount of weight lost if the calories are equal.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · July 12, 2012 at 6:00 PM

@ Raise- I noticed that too, and that's why I didn't answer myself. @ Avenger- One of the roles of insulin is to regulate nutrient partitioning, is it not? In the absence of any insulin, how do cells store energy?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 12, 2012 at 5:39 PM

The problem is that the question is flawed. 400g, not 400 kcal is the reference point. So without a doubt you are comparing 1600 kcal of protein to 1600 kcal of carbs to 3600 kcal of fat. This kind of question is illogical from the start because there is no baseline and too many real life variables are left out.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 12, 2012 at 5:41 PM

If the question was based on 400 kcal of each macronutrient, the answer would not be much different, if left in isolation, but there is still no way to answer this type of hypothetical in real life. The body can't do 400 kcal per day for a sustained period.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12677 · July 12, 2012 at 8:11 PM

RaiseFitness, I have no idea how you've apparently answered 52 questions in 2 days, but such comments are spot on, so I'm not complaining.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM

I will go in search of one, but the information is WAY harder to find unfortunately. And as far as the recomposition effect you're referencing, I don't deny that's possible in the right hormonal/training/macro environment. I mean, for a crude example someone need only look at the biggest loser contestants *shivers.* I guess we could call this "repartitioning," based on the fact it's a matter of maintaining homeostasis by gaining and losing simultaneously. I think Lyle McDonald has written about it in the past, but unfortunately he's recently devolved into a short-fused, foul mouthed whiner.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 12, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Energy balance DOES determine weight loss/gain, but what we eat determines energy balance. Certain foods will increase or decrease both energy and appetite, thus shifting energy balance one way or the other. As a low-carb, highly active person, I recommend not looking at insulin as the "evil fat storing hormone". It can do both good and bad, depending on many different factors.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad
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4266 · July 13, 2012 at 2:00 AM

Well, fruitarians end up pretty emaciated. People who eat a lot of lean protein end up starved (rabbit starvation). People who eat a lot of fat stay healthy (I'm thinking about people who eat a lot of whale blubber.) So my vote is for fat since eating the other macros in isolation will basically kill you.

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4100 · July 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM

How do fruitarians not end up dead?

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad
4266 · July 14, 2012 at 8:34 PM

A lot of them cheat. A lot of them give up completely.

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778 · July 12, 2012 at 5:30 PM

protein is the most satieting. followed by fat. followed by carbs.

source - theres a tiny experiment on youtube involving 3 guys eating a protein rich pasta, fat rich pasta, and carb rich pasta...

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2934 · July 13, 2012 at 2:49 AM

Protein-rich pasta? Fat-rich pasta? Did they take little strings of chicken and lard? If so, I'm interested.

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15400 · July 12, 2012 at 7:23 PM

could you please post the link - I would love to watch it.

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5150 · July 13, 2012 at 4:52 AM

I'm pretty sure in the video tj is referring to, they showed fat was the least satisfying macro, which is bull because it's so easy to binge out on carbs. Not so much on excess fat.

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4100 · July 13, 2012 at 6:01 AM

I dunno, I think I find fat more filling than protein, by far.

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3221 · July 13, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Hahaha this is funny, protein rich pasta!

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14877 · July 12, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Insulin must be present to store and utulize nutrients properly, so if you are not elevating insulin by eating either protein and/or carbs, 3600 calories from fat will not make anyone gain weight (unless insulin is somehow being elevated in a way other than carb or protein consumption). So if you physiologically cannot proudce insulin at all, you will not gain an ounce eating just fat.

That being said, I am not a diabetic and am highly insulin sensitive, so eating either 1600 calories from carbphydrate and I'd lose weight. But then again, are we talking fruit or starch? 1600 calories of protein and no fat? I'd get too sick and die of rabbit starvation or renal failure/

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3221 · July 12, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Actually protein and carbs. are the only ones that trigger an insulin response, the latter having the higher Glycemic index. Answer: CARBS

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Where on earth did you read that? I'm attempting to read in between my lines, but there's only 2 of them.

1407bd6152d9fdbc239250385159fea1
3870 · July 12, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Fundamentally flawed long. This logic is NOT correct: "High Carbohydrate Diet -> High Insulin -> Increased Lipogenesis/Decreased Lipolysis -> Increased Body Fat -> Obesity."

D58c513cccb6e80e7b9d5ac93eaeec7b
3221 · July 12, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Are you saying, the higher your Carb. Intake, the more you Burn fat?

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3870 · July 12, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Excuse the "long," I'm not sure what that's doing there.

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3221 · July 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Exactly, so how is my answer flawed

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6709 · July 13, 2012 at 1:15 AM

wrong, carbs almost never turn to fat, EVER!!!!!!

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Your answer is flawed because the question is flawed. you are comparing 1600 Kcal of protein to 1600 kcal of carb to 3600 kcal of fat. not a fair comparison.

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17136 · July 13, 2012 at 7:39 PM

@Bill1102inf um, what does insulin do when you eat a large quantity of carbs? Doesn't it store it as fat because it's a dangerous spike in blood sugar that can cause damage to arteries, nerves, eyes, and organs? Please don't troll.

D58c513cccb6e80e7b9d5ac93eaeec7b
3221 · July 13, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Thank you raydawg

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