T Nation

A Calorie is Not a Calorie!


Wow! I hope that the way JB addressed this issue in the recent "Appetite for Construction" will stop this idea from permeating the gyms, mags and boards (especially THIS one!). Yes...below maintenace kcals will cause us to lose weight and above maintenace will cause us to gain. HOWEVER: the SOURCE, MAKE-UP, RATIO and TIMING of the macrocronutrients we ingest will define the MAKEUP of that loss or gain (in terms of lean body mass vs. fat). Great stuff, JB! Any additional thoughts from the Forum, Chris S., and/or JB?


This is an interesting topic. First, one does need to pay attention to calories. I've had people come to me and say that one of my diets either caused them to lose weight too quickly or didn't lead to any fat loss. They followed the diet to a "T" they say, until I asked them about calories. Turns out they followed the guidelines of the diet, but never bothered to count up daily calories. Duh! So, in that case, I have to beat the idea into their heads that calories matter and you can get fat on healthy food if you eat enough of it.

But on the other side, people who argue that a "calorie is a calorie" are just plain under-educuated in such matters. Or worse, they've seen the evidence, they've read JB's column, and they still refuse to accept reality because they hate being wrong. I can tolerate ignorance, but the latter type of person doesn't deserve my time.

For those that contend that "a calorie is a calorie" I say this: Fine, for the next year I'm going to eat a lot of protein, some healthy carbs during the day and some simple carbs during and after training, and some good fats. At the same time, you can eat the same amount of calories as me, but you have to get them all from sugar. After all, a calorie is a calorie, right? Let's see who looks better in a year.

Now, it's true that a person could eat cereal and pizza and ice cream and still lose weight if the cals are below maintenance, but do they look good? Do they keep muscle? Do they make progress in the gym? Do they perform well? Are they healthy? That's the difference.

Hey, Jared lost a lot of weight eating carby, highly processed Subway sandwiches, but how does he look without his shirt off? Pretty fucking bad, I'd guess!


jared probably looks like shit with his shirt off is a under statement. He is a skinny fat. You might as well just be fat as far as i am concerned.


Good one, Chris!!! Amen!