I don’t buy the whole ‘maintenance - 500 cals = 1 lb / week of fat loss’. Here’s why:
Where do those 500 cals come from? Fats, Protein or Carbs? A combination? Surely, the 1 lb/wk depends on where the calories are subtracted from.
I think what is more effective is looking at how many grams of each macronutrient per lb bodyweight you are intaking.
You could get adequate fats, protein and carbs and have a total caloric intake that might not seem ideal for bulking/cutting, but depending on the ratios of intake of each macro, you would still make progress toward your physique goal. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s not as easy as just slicing off 500 calories from maintenance (at least for fat loss).
Well, the one thing I’m 100% positive about is that I DON’T KNOW.
Intuitively, I would think all calories are created equal and the people who argue for calorie deficiency in diets seem to be arguing that all calories are equal.
It’s a hard point to argue against. Caloric deficiency will lead to weight loss . . . so yes, you can eat nothing but donuts and still lose weight if you don’t eat ENOUGH donuts.
But having said that, we also know
Food has different thermic effect . . . so while on average, 10% of the calories ingested are used as energy to digest the food, we know that we can INCREASE the thermic effect through exercise and using different foods (hence, the type of calorie matters)
Oxidation of macronutrients differs. For example, here is a quote from an excellent article published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The article does a great job at getting to the specifics of how macronutrients affect oxidation and body fat:
//quote// Achieving body weight regulation requires more than achieving energy balance; it also requires that macronutrient balance be achieved. Macronutrient balance means that the intake of each macronutrient is equal to its oxidation. If this is not the case for a particular macronutrient, body stores of that macronutrient will change. For a weight-stable individual this means that the composition of fuel oxidized is equal to the composition of energy ingested. When the state of energy and macronutrient balance is disrupted (e.g. overfeeding, altering chronic level of physical activity), the body attempts to restore this state of homeostasis. In such cases, the differences in the rapidity with which balance of each macronutrient is restored has important implications for the role of diet composition in body weight regulation. //end quote//
So this is very clear evidence (I think) that the type of caloried does matter because the body deals with macronutrients differently . . . all calories are not equal.
By the way, let’s say you could eat nothing but Krispy Kreme ORIGINAL GLAZED . . . http://www.krispykreme.com/doughnuts.pdf
Each would be 200 calories each so you’d need ten a day.
You’d get 120 grams of fat in a day and 220 grams of carbs. So lots of energy.
Unfortunately, you’d only get 20 grams of protein. Since the body can’t manufacture its own protein, this eating scheme, like most calorie deficient plans . . . puts you at risk of losing the catabolic-anabolic fight. As one poster wrote earlier, you’ll be skinny-fat.
Now . . . let’s say you ingested 200 grams of protein a day (about 800 calories) in six meals and ate a Krispy Kreme donut with each meal.
You’d end up with 200 g protein, 72 g fat and 120 g carbs . . . which is not too shabby a diet.
So maybe we can say that “a calorie is a calorie in a reduced caloric eating plan IF AND ONLY IF you get sufficient protein.” [/quote]
The trouble with this is that you’d be missing out on MANY nutrients that are essential to maintaining muscle while losing fat. Supplementing with vitamins and minerals may counteract this to a certain degree, but it would simply not be enough to justify eating that way.
I am not saying that you are a proponent of that sort of diet, however I must add to the discussion the fact that a diet of that sort would also accumulate a massive acid load on the body, forcing the body to counter the net endogenous acidity with calcium from bones and glutamine from muscle. So Krispy Kreme + Protein Shake VLCD = loss of muscle and bone mass. This is clearly not a desirable situation. . .
CT frequently discusses calories as a relative non-point, as the body does not recognize calories but it does recognize nutrient quantities. I definitely agree with him.