I know this has been asked before BUT I can never get a clear answer...
Do calories really matter?! My meal of 3 eggs, 3 strips of bacon, sausage, and avocado/tomato plus coffee and cream would equal a lot of calories...ususally when I eat this I only need to eat once a day but people tell me that I need to eat more, and really make sure that the fat and protein are way up, which are both calorically dense. My carb intake is quite low...definitely under 50 g. a day I am confused because some people say "eat less calories than you burn and you will burn fat" and other says "eat as much as you want, just keep carbs low and keep fat high, and you will burn fat." Why are there two extremes to one problem? Do they both work? Which has shown better results for you?!
High fat, low carb diets work for body fat loss because there is little carbohydrate-induced insulin throughout the day, which means insulin isn't 1) interfering with lipolysis (the release of fatty acids from your fat cells) and 2) interfering with mitochondrial lipid oxidation (the burning of fatty acids in your muscle mitochondria). There is also the added benefit of reduced appetite as you've observed, which means that though meals are highly energy-dense, overall energy intake is reduced.
The "eat as much as you want" strategy can work well because though you eat a lot of fat, your appetite may guide you correctly toward undershooting your energy needs and relying on stored body fat instead. However, this strategy can (and often does) fail when it is coupled with someone whose appetite signals are skewed due to leptin resistance, binge-eating tendencies etc.
Keep in mind that all of the fat you listed is packed into chylomicrons and sent to your fat cells. That doesn't mean that you will be fatter the next day, simply that this huge amount of fat has to be stored rapidly because obviously you don't want it sitting around in your bloodstream. It's an open question as to whether it will all be burned off (along with some of the fat that is already there). Basically, if you are losing bodyfat, then keep going with this. If you are not or things slow down, you should incrementally decrease fat intake (replacing it with lean meat) and increase activity. So many people in the paleo world build fat loss protocols around promoting lipolysis without a focus on promoting lipid oxidation. Both are required for effective reductions in body fat.
Calories do matter... somewhat. It's complicated, and it varies by individual. Some people here (mostly men I must say) lost a lot of body fat and have kept it off while eating high calories, and everything from high-fat zero carb to high carb. Some people here must count calories and keep them very low even while eating zero carbs, to see any weight loss at all or avoid fat gain (mostly women in this case). That's a large part of why you see conflicting advice even on paleohacks. People can have good results with changing their body comp doing the direct opposite of someone else, as long as they are eating whole foods/grain free.
I plugged 3 eggs, 3 bacon strips, 1/4 lb sausage, a whole avocado, a small tomato and 2 fl oz of heavy cream into fitday. Only about (assuming you're eating a whole avocado) 1265 calories, and deficient in A, B-6, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, and zinc. This isn't what I would call a complete or healthy diet, and yes, I'd say you need a LOT more calories and protein. I imagine you'll lose weight pretty fast on it though, but personally I think you'll see much better results both in your health and your looks with slower weight loss while eating a diet with lots of nutrients. If you have a lot of fat to lose it's pretty important to support your skin, nutritionally, while doing so...
Calories matter. If you want to burn body fat you need to be in calorie deficit. Period.
The LC "extreme" is really the same one. Spontaneous caloric decrease. A must see documentary from the BBC. It's several parts on YouTube so I linked to them all in one place on my blog: Must See TV
It really depends on the individual and how fat he or she is to begin with. Some people can lose weight by reducing calories. Some cannot. For some people, eating any carbs will keep insulin so high so that no matter how little they eat, they will not burn fat and all the carbs they eat will turn to fat. In fact, their muscles and organs will be sacrificed before any fat is released for energy. Such was the case with my mother. She was obese and ate like a bird. But everything she ate was a carb. She had no energy and was always tired--her cells were being starved.
Most obese people have insulin resistance, so low carb high fat is just what they need to solve the problem. The big stories are always the huge amounts they lose, and that's wonderful, of course. What is not talked about, however, is what happens when they get within say 20-30 lbs of where they should be. Once the hormonal problem is under control, then it becomes an issue of calories. And now being much thinner and requiring far fewer calories to maintain their lower weight, losing more fat becomes more difficult, or at least slows down considerably.
I am confused because some people say "eat less calories than you burn and you will burn fat" and other says "eat as much as you want, just keep carbs low and keep fat high, and you will burn fat."burn fat." Why are there two extremes to one problem?
As I see it, those two approaches are NOT actually two extremes. Why? Because if you keep your fat high, your satiety goes way up, and eat "as much as you want" could very well still lead to eating less calories than you burn. So the approach 2) is just a variant of approach 1). I think your described meal confirms this:
My meal of 3 eggs, 3 strips of bacon, sausage, and avocado/tomato plus coffee and cream would equal a lot of calories...ususally when I eat this I only need to eat once a day
How much calories is such a meal? If this is all you eat the whole way, you are on calories restriction diet. I don't myself count calories, but this seems to not be much more than 1000 kcal.
As Travis said, if you are losing weight then whatever you're doing is fine. If you've been counting calories, I'm not saying you have to, but obviously it's not hurting anything. If you haven't been counting, but you are losing fat why change?
As Quilt said, if you are leptin resistant it's very difficult to lose fat whether or not you count calories. If you follow Quilt's leptin reset or some other routine that results in improved leptin sensitivity then counting calories shouldn't be necessary--again, if you're losing weight this should be a non-issue.
IMO, any paleo approach that results in steady loss of excess body fat is a good approach, particularly if you have a high energy level and are not having to exert constant willpower to eat in a way that doesn't satisfy your appetite. For me, that's high protein/fat and moderate carbs but if you're doing well on low carbs then that's just as good.
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