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O/T: HEALTH Is Calorie Counting model really flawed?

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Raja

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I think this is a good example of the common problem where people on level 1, or even level 0.1 skip to level 5 and see bad results.

Trying to fine tune something that hasn’t even been put in the same universe yet... that’s what it’s like when you get into all the details of nutrition trying to lose weight when you still don’t have a caloric deficit
Not getting you, what do you mean?
 

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monfii

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I lost 6kg in 8 weeks when I went keto. I do not know of anyone for whom it didn't work.

Sometimes though, keto is not enough. You may be interested in the carnivore diet.
 

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The most popular diets right now are keto and intermediate fasting. They're too restrictive in my opinion and they feel like a diet. With calorie counting you can eat whatever you like as long as you eat your daily calorie goal.

I don't agree with IF being too restrictive.

I have been doing 16-8 for years. If you eat right, you can for a long period of time without feeling hungry.

What most us in the modern world have is a physiological and psychological addiction to calories that our bodies don't actually need. What happens when you start fasting is that you realize that it's not your body that needs the (empty) calories, but it's your mouth that wants the pleasure, the relief from stress, etc.

Once you become aware of and start to weaken that association, you'll start to naturally feel that the majority of food is garbage, that you are not actually that hungry, and that you don't need to eat nearly as much you think you do, especially if you are not that active.

This!

Someone in the thread mentioned something about missing junk food that tastes really good when you are on a healthy diet. I say "script".

The "delicious junk" food has been engineered to be addictive and to give you a completely unnatural amount of pleasure. The amount of dopamine you get from those is way above what you can get from eating natural food.

If you break that "addiction", you will see that healthy food tastes good. Very good, actually.

You can eat healthy AND enjoy your food.
If this is not the case for you, you are addicted to junk food.

---
@Raja, what are your takeaways so far?
 

Raja

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I lost 6kg in 8 weeks when I went keto. I do not know of anyone for whom it didn't work.

Sometimes though, keto is not enough. You may be interested in the carnivore diet.
I said that I did it wrong.

instead of making it high-fat diet I made it high protein diet
 

Raja

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I don't agree with IF being too restrictive.

I have been doing 16-8 for years. If you eat right, you can for a long period of time without feeling hungry.



This!

Someone in the thread mentioned something about missing junk food that tastes really good when you are on a healthy diet. I say "script".

The "delicious junk" food has been engineered to be addictive and to give you a completely unnatural amount of pleasure. The amount of dopamine you get from those is way above what you can get from eating natural food.

If you break that "addiction", you will see that healthy food tastes good. Very good, actually.

You can eat healthy AND enjoy your food.
If this is not the case for you, you are addicted to junk food.

---
@Raja, what are your takeaways so far?
My takeaways are quite simple(yet powerful) :
1. Calorie counting model works and is one of the fundamentals so you count outsmart it.
2. eat a good amount of protein and filling food so you don't feel hungry.
3. avoid junk and empty calories.

personally, I like @Johnny boy approach. not making yourself get hungry is one of the best approaches.

one main problem being Lacto-ovo vegetarian getting enough protein will be a problem. for 75kg I need 150 gm of protein daily according to @lowtek and a google search. I don't want to depend on whey protein as my go-to for protein.
that makes 25 eggs a day(6 gm protein each) in 8 hr window. I will soon go crazy If I did that.

Is it just me who thinks the protein requirement stated on the web is overkill? (maybe some paid research by protein supplement companies, like cereal and sugar companies)
 

lowtek

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My takeaways are quite simple(yet powerful) :
1. Calorie counting model works and is one of the fundamentals so you count outsmart it.
2. eat a good amount of protein and filling food so you don't feel hungry.
3. avoid junk and empty calories.

personally, I like @Johnny boy approach. not making yourself get hungry is one of the best approaches.

one main problem being Lacto-ovo vegetarian getting enough protein will be a problem. for 75kg I need 150 gm of protein daily according to @lowtek and a google search. I don't want to depend on whey protein as my go-to for protein.
that makes 25 eggs a day(6 gm protein each) in 8 hr window. I will soon go crazy If I did that.

Is it just me who thinks the protein requirement stated on the web is overkill? (maybe some paid research by protein supplement companies, like cereal and sugar companies)
You still have lentils, beans/rice, quinoa, yogurt, nuts, cheese and milk. Egg whites are also a great source of protein (for some reason, I think the yellow colored ones are more palatable despite the fact it's just dyed).

You don't have to eat whey if you don't want.

You could probably get away with around 115-120gm of protein, as that's on the lower end. It's just less satiating and leaves a little less for muscle repair / building / retention. In the long run it may only make a marginal difference, who knows.
 

Johnny boy

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My takeaways are quite simple(yet powerful) :
1. Calorie counting model works and is one of the fundamentals so you count outsmart it.
2. eat a good amount of protein and filling food so you don't feel hungry.
3. avoid junk and empty calories.

personally, I like @Johnny boy approach. not making yourself get hungry is one of the best approaches.

one main problem being Lacto-ovo vegetarian getting enough protein will be a problem. for 75kg I need 150 gm of protein daily according to @lowtek and a google search. I don't want to depend on whey protein as my go-to for protein.
that makes 25 eggs a day(6 gm protein each) in 8 hr window. I will soon go crazy If I did that.

Is it just me who thinks the protein requirement stated on the web is overkill? (maybe some paid research by protein supplement companies, like cereal and sugar companies)
Bro just 200 calories of chicken breast has 40 grams of protein. Have 400 calories of chicken a day and throw in a couple eggs and you’re doing just fine
 

Darius

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I believe counting calories is flawed. It doesn't work 100% of the time and it gets real weird once your eating habits deviate from the common diet (everything in moderation).

I know the argument of why it must work is because of thermodynamics but we're not robots. 2k calories consumed doesn't mean 2k calories utilized.

Using "energy" intake as measurement for human weight control seems so inaccurate when you factor in that hormones, waste, body movement, breathing, and even thinking affects energy. But the alternative "measurements" are probably just as inaccurate too.

So, it's possible that calorie counting is the best flawed method we have at the moment.

One thing I've noticed during my diet experiments is that if you eat the same food consistently without much deviation, you'll store more energy as your body becomes better at digesting that item. Probably has something to do with gut bacteria but I'm no scientist.
 

Bruno11

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losing weight is very simple if you put in some work:


If you eat less calories then you burn =you lose weight
If you eat more calories then you burn= you gain weight

you can further help your weight loss by exercising(although it is literally not required if you don’t want to, just eat less)
But for obvious reasons exercise goes well with tracking calories and building muscle

strict macros and counting calories works,
if you want to change, download MyFitnessPal pal , scan absolutely everything and be very rigorous until you develop a sense of what foods you eat daily and how many calories they all are.

meal prep> 1 day a week prepare enough for 5-6 days of food and put it in Tupperware containers

DO NOT. Follow . “Trends” or “diets “

there is no such thing as a diet. It’s a lifestyle
You have to eat what you like and stick to it, there is a lot of healthier food choices that are nice but you can literally eat McDonald’s AS LONG AS you stay within calorie deficit.

forget carbs, fats and all the other bullshit

all you care about is calories in, calories out l.

if you want to build muscle> protein and calories
 

Raja

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I believe counting calories is flawed. It doesn't work 100% of the time and it gets real weird once your eating habits deviate from the common diet (everything in moderation).

I know the argument of why it must work is because of thermodynamics but we're not robots. 2k calories consumed doesn't mean 2k calories utilized.

Using "energy" intake as measurement for human weight control seems so inaccurate when you factor in that hormones, waste, body movement, breathing, and even thinking affects energy. But the alternative "measurements" are probably just as inaccurate too.

So, it's possible that calorie counting is the best flawed method we have at the moment.

One thing I've noticed during my diet experiments is that if you eat the same food consistently without much deviation, you'll store more energy as your body becomes better at digesting that item. Probably has something to do with gut bacteria but I'm no scientist.
Okay, I got you that you believe its flawed.

What practical things do you feel that works?
 

WillHurtDontCare

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if you want to build muscle> protein and calories

You won't build as much muscle as you could without eating a significant amount of carbs as well.
 

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bmarketguy

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First off, if you are struggling to lose weight you should go talk to a doctor to get an overall checkup and make sure there isn't something underlying.

But the following is what has worked for me in the past:

Calorie counting IS greatly flawed because of all the variables, BUT you can make them work with consistency. You need to estimate food consistently, eat relatively consistently, and measure consistently. If you do this you can adjust the numbers to work for you.

Calorie count for 2 weeks and drink a lot of water. What does your weight do?
Stay the same: Base line - keep eating here to maintain or decrease calories to lose
Increased: keep calorie counting the EXACT same but decrease your food intake
Decreased: great! As long as it is a healthy amount you can keep doing what you're doing.

Generally speaking you decrease your calories from baseline by 250 a day to lose .5lbs a week.
 

Kevin88660

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Calories Counting has a execution difficulty when the deficit is too small.

And there is a misguided concept that you have to be exact. You don’t.

When you have a 1000 calories daily deficit a margin of error for 200 is not going to impact your diet negatively.

Because statistically it works both way. Today you overestimate your intake by 150 tomorrow you might underestimate by 200. By laws of large number it the error is insignificant over the long run.

My counting is that I know this meal is kind of 650-750 range.
 

Martin.G

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I am reading The Case for Keto by Gary Taubes, and he has some compelling arguments against calories counting.
 

Raja

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I am reading The Case for Keto by Gary Taubes, and he has some compelling arguments against calories counting.
can you share your thoughts here when you finished reading it?
 

throttleforward

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This morning I officially hit over 50 lbs of weight loss over the last year. The only thing I did was intermittent fast and count calories.
 

Darius

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Okay, I got you that you believe its flawed.

What practical things do you feel that works?


If I could only pick 4 practical things, I'd say:

1. Low/no sugar
2. Lower carbohydrates (these turn into sugar once ingested)
3. Don't mix high carbohydrates with high fat
4. Intermittent fasting (maximum 8 hour eating window)

Usually when I say things like the above I get comments saying "Well that's just another way of limiting calories. CICO is king."

So I'll answer those comments in advance with quick statements:

1. Low/no sugar - manages insulin response and sensitivity / inflammation
2. Lower carbs - manages insulin response and sensitivity / inflammation
3. Don't mix high carb with high fat - allows body to process one energy source without having to store the other source as fat until finished (oversimplified).
4. Intermittent fasting - same as #1 & #2

You can do all of the above while eating more calories than you're supposed to and still lose weight.

Everybody's body is different so even those might not work 100% of the time. But I'd choose those over calorie counting any day for long term success.
 

Martin.G

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can you share your thoughts here when you finished reading it?

Yes, of course. But I am not reading it to do this kind of diet in particular, but to know more about ketosis. What I am trying right now is the carnivore diet, there is a post in the forum. Maybe you can't give it a chance, I lost 5 pounds (2.5 kilos) in 3 weeks, and I am thin. What surprised is that I am starting to see my abs, something I didn't know I have.
 

AniM

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I'm going to disagree with most of the people in this thread (and the fitness community) and say that Calorie Counting is bullshit and doesn't work for most people.

I personally was always just a little overweight ("skinny fat") and would try calorie restriction to lose weight. It would work to a point, but it would never last and I was basically yo-yo dieting for years.

I had the wrong paradigm because I was focused on calories.

A couple people mentioned this already but the science behind keto and fasting shows that it's much more about HORMONES, specifically Insulin.

If this sounds like an interesting perspective to you I recommend this video by Dr. Jason Fung. The fridge/freezer analogy is particularly eye-opening.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIuj-oMN-Fk


If you want to go deeper, read his book The Obesity Code.

This book totally changed my thinking on dieting and fat loss. I had already been doing intermittent fasting but after reading this book I started extended fasting and lost weight very predictably, and I was able to keep it off without too much effort.

After reading Dr. Fung's book I stumbled onto Cole Robinson who someone mentioned in this thread already. He's a fitness/fat loss coach who has a method called "The Snake Diet". Also his brand is amazing, here's his youtube channel:


He preaches extended fasting (48 hours up to 7 days max IIRC) while drinking "Snake Juice" which is basically water with electrolytes. He has a specific recipe of what salts to add to keep you feeling good while fasting. He is the extremist but practical version of what Dr. Fung is talking about.

Fasting is essentially the fastest way to get your body to deplete it's glycogen and enter a ketogenic state. Then you are burning fat for energy. Doing this consistently will also improve your insulin resistance and your body will become more efficient at accessing your fat storage. This is why Cole recommends doing "rolling" fasts, where for example you would do a 48 hour fast, eat a meal or two in a short window, and then immediately go into another 48 hours fast. That's just one protocol.

He has a huge amount of success stories on Instagram and Facebook. He's not selling anything either (other than some completely optional salt packets on amazon, but you can buy the salts separately at most grocery stores).

I was able to lose weight with minimal effort, build discipline, and keep it off following these guys advice. I did gain weight back during the pandemic because I wasn't exercising, was eating too much crap, and was eating far too frequently. I, like many, fell out of good habits.

But now I'm back to a flexible fasting lifestyle and weight is coming off again. I think the biggest thing was the understanding and knowledge I got about weight loss, which gives me confidence that I can lose fat quickly and easily if I ever slip again in the future.

Again, highly recommend the Dr. Jason Fung video, and if it resonates with you read his book and check out The Snake Diet.
 

bmarketguy

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I've done calorie counting and it has worked for me. But I do find it hard to keep up with it after. So then calories start to slowly increase.

Currently I'm trying to lose some weight and i cut out all added sugar and gluten. Weight is coming off and i have much more energy.

It's all about finding a lifestyle that you're willing to stick to
 

Raja

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Yes, of course. But I am not reading it to do this kind of diet in particular, but to know more about ketosis. What I am trying right now is the carnivore diet, there is a post in the forum. Maybe you can't give it a chance, I lost 5 pounds (2.5 kilos) in 3 weeks, and I am thin. What surprised is that I am starting to see my abs, something I didn't know I have.
I have tried various diets, they do work and I am the kind of guy that bend rules. So I don't get much benifit out of it.

I want to go to fundamentals, first principles which can not be changed. I believe following that would work.

I previously mentioned that hormones do play a role so you absolutely must limit suger intake. That can include high suger fruits also.
 

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Martin.G

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I have tried various diets, they do work and I am the kind of guy that bend rules. So I don't get much benifit out of it.

I want to go to fundamentals, first principles which can not be changed. I believe following that would work.

I previously mentioned that hormones do play a role so you absolutely must limit suger intake. That can include high suger fruits also.

You should give it a try. There is a Subreddit called it zero carb with a lot of information that I've been using since I started.
 

Martin.G

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I've finished red The case for keto, and while it was a good book, is more a book about the science about weight control than a practical guide. It's interesting if you want to know why some people eat the same that other but get more weight. Also, it has a chapter about the diet, the last one, but is very short.

At the end, the diet doesn't differ much from the carnivore diet, you should eat fat, meat and some vegetable and a couple of fruits, but it's mostly fatty meat.
 

avafab

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Hi Fastlaners,

For the past 2-3 years I have heard and tried diets that claim that calorie counting is flawed.
I like them because you don't have to weigh the food and count calorie every time I eat.


personally, I failed to lose weight(I understand this is because of my poor diet plan and understanding, for example, keto turned into a high protein high-fat diet). My weight is stagnant for the last 3 years. I am 5 feet 5 inches and weigh 73 kg and my body fat percentage at 23%.


what do you guys advise,
is it really flawed? I would love to listen to your thoughts on it.

@Strategery @Raoul Duke
Like you, I have been struggling all my life with my weight. I tried many DIY approaches and none worked. My advice is: go and see a nutrition expert. They will give you a personal diet and monitor your progresses. Do not be lazy, go and see an expert. It's not very expensive. It took me years to take that simple step and it was life changing. Also, I learned how powerful is to keep a diary and schedule your meals. After that successful experience I developed a mobile app and published on the market to help more and more people tracking their feelings and stay on track. The secret is inside your mind. If you want to know more please send me a private message. I do not want to use the forum for promotion.
 

ragnarcallan

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Everyone always wants the "secret" or easy way to do it. Truth is you've just got to stop being lazy and soft and workout properly. If you're not sweating 10 minutes in to your workout then it isn't hard enough. No amount of "clean eating" (WTF does clean mean) is gonna get the pounds off your fat a$$.
 

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