T Nation

Calorie is a Calorie?


#1

So, this man followed a "twinkie" diet, ate "Twinkies. Nutty bars. Powdered donuts." and lost 27lb over two months.
Haub's bad" cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.
And NO< he does NOT recommend that anyone follow it. It is an experiment. And before you say all sorts of things, he is no idiot - he is Dr. Haub, a Professor of nutrition at Kansas State.

What do you guys think? Reminds me of the whole Jimmy Smith saying almonds & almond snickers bare are the same for a diet as long as the macros are maintained...


#2

Hmmm... interesting topic. It has definitely never been debated on this board.


#3

Anyone will lose weight if you just cut down the calories. The drops and increases in his other stats are probably from the weight loss, not his actual diet. Let's get this fellow back up to his original weight, then make him lose the same weight, but with healthy foods. I wonder if his stats would be even better?


#4

Screw all this chicken and brown rice crap, I am having a box of Twinkies for dinner!


#5

Calories matter in weight loss, but so do other items like sleep, nutrition quality can matter, thyroid health, etc. When his HDL cholesterol went up it could have simply been because he had been in the sun. Vitamin D3, the sunshine vitamin, is one of the better ways at raising HDL cholesterol.

http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/vitamin-d-increased-my-cholesterol.html


#6

Cool experiment, not something that needs to be on CNN though. With a big portion of our population being obese and all...


#7

I know, it's a dead horse. BUT, this is probably the first time someone actually did a proper (semi)scientific study and shared the results. I am not trying to argue about Calorie being a Calorie or not. Maybe the title could have been better, but I wanted to beat others to it :slightly_smiling:


#8

Exactly. Just what our society needs, another "reason" to eat shitty foods. I can hear cheering from the fatties already...


#9

I don't think anyone needs to worry. If anyone tried to stick to this diet with it's reduced calories, and the discomfort of the lack of substantial food and they succeed, they will gladly trade in twinkies for equivalent calories of chicken and realize they do have the will power to lose weight.


#10

I'd like to think people would have enough sense to do that Deb, although I honestly have my doubts.

An article by John Beradi comes to mind, where he discusses his coffee date and how this woman he was with basically lived off of bagels and cream cheese, mochas, coffee cake, and left-over casserole. I can think of at least a half-dozen women, and even men, who have similar habits, who basically eat three complete shit meals a day and believe it's healthy because they're eating small portions.


#11

But if they're that clueless, they're not counting calories and they won't actually succeed. Someone who eats like that knows they're not eating healthy but are just choosing to delude themselves. People don't need any excuses to eat like shit, they do it just fine without it.

But if someone actually counts the calories in a twinkie or tries to live off them, I guarantee they'll take a massive plate of spinach and a pound of prawns over 2 twinkies, for the same calories. That is the biggest revelation that comes from logging a diet and why it is the single best thing a person can do to turn their diet around. I know it was a big revelation for me, especially noting where the calories were coming from and what was or wasn't worth it.

I think the article does make a very good point--that it doesn't matter what you're eating, if you're exceeding your calories, you will not lose weight. Something that is missed by most people as they reach for handfuls of 'lite' snacks and stuff themselves with 'lite' food.


#12

The guy is a professor of nutrition and did this in a very calculated manner.

He didn't do it in order to to show the world that it's OK to eat shit! He indulged in some self experimentation (junk food included) and tracked his weight and health indicators along the way. I do the same stuff in my own diet regardless of my body composition goal--maintain calories while swapping food items. For example, two tablespoons of blue cheese dressing has a little more calories than a tablespoon of olive oil. Sometimes I just want some damn regular salad dressing even though it's not as great as flax and olive oil over a salad. Same goes for other isocaloric swaps I do.

Like Debra said, most people aren't going to be inclined to follow a diet consisting totally of junk and most aren't inclined to track calories to begin with.

And most people aren't eating small portions of bagels and other goodies "thinking it's healthy". Most people eat food without thought of it being healthy or unhealthy--they're just eating. I love the diner near my house.

I doubt as I look down the row of people at the counter I sit that all of them are sitting before their plate of bacon, scrambled eggs, home fries, and white toast with butter:

"Ya know, this meal is a bit too high in calories. Let's see about this meal--the eggs got some protein and fat in 'em; the bacon's got just a tiny amount of protein, but much of it is saturated fat and very calorically dense; I loaded up on the ketchup (almost half a cup's worth); and the white bread is just empty calories. Damn, this meal clocks in at 1500 calories - half of what I should consume in a day. Maybe next time I'll say no to the toast, keep the potatoes or swap with grits or oatmeal, and have an egg white omelet with some veggies and feta cheese."

Most people simply eat because food tastes good and they're hungry.


#13

And yeah, a calorie is a calorie. But people should look for proper adequate macro- and micronutrient intake if they want to keep healthy and get a certain cosmetic effect. You can restrict calories and be deficient in protein and micronutrient intake, which can result in poor muscle quality and performance. This guy's diet doesn't seem like it has adequate protein.


#14

Probably would be, especially with adequate, high quality protein intake.


#15

While it is true that a caloric deficit is necessary to lose weight, and this can also be achieved by eating mars bars only (just not too many of them), where the calories come from will definitively have a huge impact on how you look - i.e. body composition.
I believe for us bodybuilders and figure athletes who focus on 'aesthetic output'/looks, it will be pretty crucial where the calories come from.

After all, it's not just about losing weight, not even about losing fat, but about losing as much fat as possible while maintaining or even gaining muscle tissue, preserving strength and staying healthy. From this point of view a calorie surely isn't a calorie.
From a physical perspective, of course, a calorie is a calorie. This is given by definition. If you burn something in a colorie meter and measure the amount of energy released, this gives you the amount of calories in that 'something'.
But besides the realization that a caloric deficit is needed to lose fat or weight, calories are pretty irrelevant imo. Think nutrients.
Cheers, Para


#16

A calorie isn't a calorie on a bodybuilding nutrition section. Good statement just didn't like the opener.


#17

All I know is women over 30 who have GREAT bodies all seem to have one thing in common, low carb.


#18

"Two-thirds of his total intake came from junk food. He also took a multivitamin pill and drank a protein shake daily."

He's on da proteenz, of course he got ripped.


#19

Sure people will lose weight eating at a caloric deficit. This is similar to jared from subway losing weight eating all these subs.

Losing weight is one thing but I sure do not want either one of these guys bodies so I will choose better food choices than junk food.


#20

The whole point of his experiment was the prove that portion control is the key to relieving this country of the obesity epidemic instead of a focus on low fat or low carb or X fad diet.

Most people dont give a shit how they look, they just dont want to be fat. Macronutrient ratios are irrelevant to the general population and was not even close to being a part of the point of the doctors experiment.

People are fat because they eat way too much. Not because they eat bread.