T Nation

The Law of Calories and Metabolisms

I made a post here yesterday about calorie deficits, but need some more answers. I understand that if you go over a 500cal deficit per day, your body metabolism can slow down to a halt called the starvation response. I am a little bit confused by this, and how this �??starvation response�?? ties into metabolisms and the law of calories.

I know there are ticks to keep your metabolism up like eating 6 meals a day, calorie and carb tapering, working out, and so on. In theory, according to the ‘law of calories’ I could eat chocolate bars all day with a 400 calorie deficit, and lose the same amount of fat as if I ate healthy foods 6 times a day. I know this is not how it works, but why not?

Is it because if I ate chocolate, my metabolism would slow down (despite being at the right ~400 cal deficit) so much that in reality I�??m consuming more calories than burning? if I eat healthy foods the right way while working out, with the same calorie ~400cal deficit (including cals burned working out, BMR, and all of that), will I lose more weight because my metabolism is fast, and therefore i actually burn MORE than the 400 calorie deficit because i sped up my metabolism?

if this is true, will this educe the ‘starvation response’, because technically, if my metabolism is faster, I will burn more than the 400 difference. I need help clearing this up! Sorry for the long, confusing, unedited post.

i guess my question lies in this, eating chocolate, or eating healthy while exercising, if they both have the same calorie deficit, which one is better? or are they the same? and WHY?

Healthy foods are “better” than junk.

Why? Honestly, who knows? People can talk about hormone X, hormone Y, etc, but it all comes down to the body’s reactions.

Do yourself a favor and try your theories on yourself. Go one week of a relative caloric deficit with strictly “healthy” foods, noting how you feel and how your body responds. Then go one week of relative caloric deficits with a not so strict food selection, again noting your response.

This is the truest science there is.

nutritional content. FOOL.

you need around 25% protein, 15% fat, and 60% carbs.(not accurate, depends on individual bodyweight, etc.)

i dont know what this calorie deficiency things all about, but you had me going for a minute.

big makes a valid point… If you want to know what the end result will be try it on yourself.

For me personally if I eat healthy every 2-3 hours a day I will lose more weight than consuming less calories in say three meals throughout the day. I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but I find the more meals I eat throughout the day(keeping my carbs in check) the more weight I lose throughout the weeks.

eric also makes a good point. It is not always based on calories. You need to look at your macros when attempting to lose weight and keep muscle…

The metabolic pace changes don’t occur everytime you eat or starve. This is why diets last more than a day.

The body is a system of systems. You have a carb handling system, a protein handling system, a fat handling system that all work together for your food handling system that effects your musclular systems and blood systems. So on and so on.

Once chocolate bar is going to have a much different effect then one chocolate bar a day and one every day. If you want to get a firm grasp on the entire system get an anatomy book or nutrition book and study it.

I think the OP is asking WHY you wouldn’t lose as much weight on a candy bar diet as on something like VD if total calories/day was the same.

I’ve actually wondered about this myself. Obviously you would be missing critical nutrients, protein for muscle growth, etc. but why wouldn’t you lose as much fat given the same number of calories in and out?

I assume we’re talking bottom line calories here, that take into account factors like the thermic effect of foods.

Maybe it’s because your body becomes insulin resistant on a pure carb/fat diet like chocolate, so you store fat more easily even with the same number of calories?

[quote]forlife wrote:
I think the OP is asking WHY you wouldn’t lose as much weight on a candy bar diet as on something like VD if total calories/day was the same.

I’ve actually wondered about this myself. Obviously you would be missing critical nutrients, protein for muscle growth, etc. but why wouldn’t you lose as much fat given the same number of calories in and out?

I assume we’re talking bottom line calories here, that take into account factors like the thermic effect of foods.

Maybe it’s because your body becomes insulin resistant on a pure carb/fat diet like chocolate, so you store fat more easily even with the same number of calories?[/quote]

What makes you think you wouldn’t lose as much WEIGHT? If you eat less calories than maintenance you will lose weight, the problem is most of the time if you eat a few candy bars you are not eating less calories.

Then you have to add in the difference between losing weight and losing fat. Candy bar has carbs and fat neither or which builds alot of muscle, without protein. So your stuffing your primarily with energy and extra packed stored energy. Your body is only going to store the extra packed energy(fat) and use the energy(carbs) and store the excess energy(extra carbs).

[quote]Airtruth wrote:

What makes you think you wouldn’t lose as much WEIGHT? If you eat less calories than maintenance you will lose weight, the problem is most of the time if you eat a few candy bars you are not eating less calories.

Then you have to add in the difference between losing weight and losing fat. Candy bar has carbs and fat neither or which builds alot of muscle, without protein. So your stuffing your primarily with energy and extra packed stored energy. Your body is only going to store the extra packed energy(fat) and use the energy(carbs) and store the excess energy(extra carbs).[/quote]

Basically, the OP would lose “weight” on the chocolate diet, but a lot of that weight lost would be muscle. Since you are posting in the BODYBUILDING forum losing muscle should be the last thing you should want. You want to lose fat, and maintain or gain muscle.

A calorie is a unit of energy, but all the nutrients are not used for energy, for example protein is mostly used to create or restore muscular tissue. So high protein low carb diets usually result in greater weight loss.

Another reason is when you take in simple sugars your blood sugar spikes. Constantly having a high blood sugar tells your body that it has sufficient fuel and triggers it to store excess energy as fat.

Was this a serious question? Have you ever read the articles here?

jstreet said it right. Plus, there isn’t much nutritional benefit of candy bars. The profile of foods, though containing the same amount of calories, is very different. What can your body use - snickers or sweet potatos? Obviously, the potato is going to be a better choice because of it having so many benefits (ie fiber, medium gl carbs, tons of vitamins, etc)

It was also already mentioned about the continual insulin surge.

Here is a quick and easy way to think about it. The number of calories you eat determines how much you weigh, the type of calories you eat (and what you do) will determine how you will look at that weight. So you would lose weight if you just ate 3 candy bars a day and that’s it, but you would not look the way you want to (not to mention other health problems).

Candy bars have a high nutritional content of happiness though. I think I will go have a few right now.