Weight Loss News and Current Events - Is a calorie really just a calorie?




midwife
11-08-2010, 08:56 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html?hpt=T2

Huh.


NorthernExposure
11-08-2010, 09:03 AM
I was just about to share this link! As the author states, I wouldn't recommend eating like that...but it's interesting.

NorthernExposure
11-08-2010, 09:06 AM
What's more important when it comes to calories, qaulity or quantity?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html?hpt=T2

This is posted elsewhere on 3FC, but I thought I would re-post for my calorie counting friends. I certaintly wouldn't recommend eating this way (as the author also states), but it's interesting nonetheless...


Wildflower
11-08-2010, 09:42 AM
Very interesting article! Thanks for sharing it here.

I am suprised his glucose levels didn't go up from all that sugar. But then again, I've never really eaten snack cakes so I am just assuming they have a ton of sugar. I wouldn't have thought they were as low as 150 calories each either.

Asherdoodles87
11-08-2010, 09:59 AM
Definitely an interesting "study." I wonder what his total fat intake was, though. I can see it now... snack cake companies pushing the diet. I think I am going to stick to my lean meats and fresh veggies. ;) It is still very interesting that he lost weight just by watching his calories. That is one reason I like calorie counting - you can fit in foods easily to your plan.

Sunshine73
11-08-2010, 10:15 AM
Interesting article. I think that this goes to prove that the way the human body works, fuels itself and functions is a far greater mystery than medical science would be willing to admit.

Onederchic
11-08-2010, 10:17 AM
I love and miss Twinkies :(

katy trail
11-08-2010, 10:28 AM
i wasn't able to read the whole article, but i have a hard time believing it. while calories is very important, healthy food is important for the many health benefits. in the short term, eating healthy produce (and other very filling healthy foods) instead of junk food helps keep us satisfied on a diet. i can't eat pop tarts for breakfast. they might only be 200 cals, but 5 min later i'm asking myself, did i eat breakfast? there's no staying power! plus the lack of energy anyone would have. we just can't do our best w/o if we are tired before we even start.

totsandfries
11-08-2010, 10:28 AM
Never have liked Twinkies, but this is a very interesting article, thanks for re-posting it.

MindiV
11-08-2010, 10:51 AM
I can 100% believe it. I have a brother in law who is pretty much the perfect weight for his height. Has a six pack. Doesn't work out and eats nothing but sweets and fried food. Has a job where he sits all day. His numbers on a recent blood test were all better than mine by FAR and I've been working my butt off to get them that way. A lot of it I think has to do with an individual's metabolism and just genetics overall. So I can see how this can happen, but just as with calorie counting, Atkins, etc., it's not something that will work for everyone if everyone tried it.

sandcar150
11-08-2010, 11:18 AM
i wasn't able to read the whole article, but i have a hard time believing it. while calories is very important, healthy food is important for the many health benefits. in the short term, eating healthy produce (and other very filling healthy foods) instead of junk food helps keep us satisfied on a diet. i can't eat pop tarts for breakfast. they might only be 200 cals, but 5 min later i'm asking myself, did i eat breakfast? there's no staying power! plus the lack of energy anyone would have. we just can't do our best w/o if we are tired before we even start.

My thoughts exactly! This guy must have been dragging through his day. I know I would from eating all that sugar. And I totally agree that one twinkie every couple hours is not going to hold me for more than a few minutes. And as much as I love sweets, I'd probably start hating them after a week of eating like this.

Now, I know that 20 years ago I would have been all over this diet. But I'm older and wiser and know what fuels my body and what to eat to lose weight. I'd like to see a women try this diet and see what the outcome would be. Honestly, if I even took those calories down to 1500 a day, I don't think I'd lose more than 3-4 pounds a months eating all that junk.

But it was interesting how his cholesterol improved. I wonder had it done it longer if the numbers would eventually change.

ElizabethG
11-08-2010, 11:29 AM
I too believe it. Every other time I've lost weight and counted calories I didn't necessarily eat the healthiest food.

I remember in high school (when i was at lowest weight) I had cereal for breakfast, then a sandwich for lunch and cheesy poofs or soup (school always served a soup) and a little debbie. Then dinner was always one of those little tubs that give a cup of food maybe but it was things like beef stew or ravioli and then again little debbies or ice cream or something. I ate maybe 1200 calories per day max and did NOT exercise. I lost weight (130s high 120s for a few weeks) and I kept it there until i started eating 'like a normal person' again. I did it again later in college but I tried to eat somewhat healthier and exerecised and I never made it back down to my high school weight or a healthy weight in general (under 145 for my height). I ended up giving up and now here I am!

I'm hoping I can get down to 145 healthfully but we shall see!

GreenTeaYum
11-08-2010, 11:30 AM
I found this article interesting.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html?hpt=T2

Echo
11-08-2010, 11:43 AM
thanks for the link, interesting indeed.
i agree with the notion that total calories eaten in a day DO matter, but yeh like the prof said, eating JUST processed junk food - not so good. and i agree giving up these kinds of foods forever is not realistic, at least for me. for me personally, i would let myself eat something if i really want it, but then get back on track again.

like the prof said you could be eating Healthy., but way too many calories, so you wont see fat loss.

saef
11-08-2010, 11:51 AM
This raises so many questions.

I mean, I don't want to take away from my reading that Twinkies are better than meat for your cholesterol levels. I just can't go there.

Eliana
11-08-2010, 12:01 PM
Ugh! To be able to lose weight like that! :dizzy: LOL! Only a man. ;) And truly, I wonder if the study would have the same results if a woman tried it. I honestly doubt it!! And I want to know what kinds of cravings he had. Was it hard to resist another twinkie that would take him beyond the calorie restriction? Or did he crave vegetables? I've done that before where I ate so poorly I actually craved the really good stuff.

Very interesting, but I can't help believing my current good health is due to my drastically improved diet. No more pickling my insides. My bowels are so regular I can go camping and know exactly when I'll need to go!! :D You don't get that with a twinkie. ;)

ICUwishing
11-08-2010, 12:32 PM
Interesting stuff! It does create a lot more questions than it answers. I've been following the studies on caloric restriction and how it extends life span, which is somewhat on a parallel path. I couldn't imagine myself doing well on what he was eating, though. In the quirkiness of individual makeup, hey, if it works for him, great. More power to him.

keziah23
11-08-2010, 12:37 PM
I just sent this article to my husband. He is 6'6' and weighs 370 (down from 490 2 years ago).

He and I were discussing caloric intake. I eat 1,000 calories a day and am losing an average of 2.5-3lbs per week (mostly).

He eats probably around 1800-2200 per day (on average) and goes to the gym 3 times a week and loses a fraction of a pound a week. At his height and weight on that calorie level he should be losing at least 2lbs per week.

He is doing low carb (same as me) and it has not really made a difference.
He said last night, I might as well eat bread again and be happy.

So its obvious his metabolism is "messed up" for lack of a better word, he is kind of at wits end about what to do.

Harsdottir
11-08-2010, 01:27 PM
His premise is right on target though! He basically says what many of the long term dieters in here have said OVER and OVER: calories in versus calories out.

I really believe now that it doesnt matter what you eat per se* Weight loss really just comes down to making sure your body uses calories than it takes in, period end of story.



*there are reasons why its better to choose health food ie: glucose spike avoidance, fast food triggering binge eating, the calorie for calorie quantities of fat foods tend to be smaller than those of health foods etc. satiety is harder to reach on small high fat portions than it is on bulky low cal selections etc.

RoseRodent
11-08-2010, 01:30 PM
I've done it! I lost a lot of weight eating all the bad stuff but eating it in much smaller portions. I'd carry on having a candy bar, just instead of a meal rather than in between them. I can't recall what I lost but I think it was over 30lbs. But you go hungry ALL the time, so it's only going to be an option for people who are extremely ruthless with their calorie count even if they are physically starving and rumbling in the tummy. Have no idea how sustainable it ever was because I dieted for a specific situation, achieved the goal (come in under the maximum BMI for IVF treatment) and then got pregnant. Ironically I lost a lot of weight during my pregnancy (first time in my life I ever had a flat belly just when I was meant to be blooming) and then piled it on breastfeeding, so my body is well and truly messed up anyway! But yes, in terms of raw weight loss it does work.

WinterJinx
11-08-2010, 02:09 PM
WOW...I am amazed that a basically pure snack food diet worked for him. I wonder if it would have the same weight loss effect for women. I'm not rushing toward this diet though like the article said they can't be sure of the long term effects of this type of diet on the body.

It was really interesting....I'm e-mailing it to my friends

:turkey:


http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wm3xYFq/weight.png
(http://www.TickerFactory.com/weight-loss/wm3xYFq/)

CIELOARGE
11-08-2010, 02:25 PM
kEZIAH, my husband is also 6'6 and used to weight 382. Last January he started eating "better" and lost almost 40 pounds in 2 months. He stopped "dieting and exercising" and has been losing weight anyways. He is down to 328 and still eats pretty bad, just not as bad as he used to.

Im thinking your husband is not eating enough calories, and that's why he is not losing weight. He needs almost 4000 cal to keep that weight, so he could easily be eating 2500-3000 per day and still lose weight.

PS: We never stopped eating bread...


I just sent this article to my husband. He is 6'6' and weighs 370 (down from 490 2 years ago).

He and I were discussing caloric intake. I eat 1,000 calories a day and am losing an average of 2.5-3lbs per week (mostly).

He eats probably around 1800-2200 per day (on average) and goes to the gym 3 times a week and loses a fraction of a pound a week. At his height and weight on that calorie level he should be losing at least 2lbs per week.

He is doing low carb (same as me) and it has not really made a difference.
He said last night, I might as well eat bread again and be happy.

So its obvious his metabolism is "messed up" for lack of a better word, he is kind of at wits end about what to do.

Beach Patrol
11-08-2010, 03:53 PM
Anyone else read this?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html?hpt=T2
SO... It really is proof that a deficit in calories is what it takes to lose weight. It's not WHAT you eat... it's HOW MANY CALORIES you consume overall.

At least he's not touting this as a "healthy" lifestyle, thank the gods! (I think it's important to note that he IS a professor of nutrition! He did this for a class project, - he limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub's pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned. His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal. He now weighs 174 pounds.

But you might expect other indicators of health would have suffered. Not so.

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.)

I am currently on a definite mission to adjust my diet by calorie decrease. I would love to try this "diet" for myself, but I know better! -my body would reject it 100%, mainly because since I've drastically reduced my intake of sugar, I can hardly stand to eat anything sweet anymore (yay!). But I do think there's room for cutting calories, so I plan to find it! :^:

thesame7lbs
11-08-2010, 04:04 PM
I think it's worth noting that it worked for him. I'm not sure it would work for everyone.

And I agree with you BP, I would not feel well on this "diet."

ETA: I think there's an interesting subtext here -- the hypothesis that it's not the bad food that makes you sick, but the very fact of being overweight. Even though he ate unhealthy food, his health indicators improved, and they theorize it's simply because he's leaner. There's a lot of discussion here about whether or not it is truly healthier to be thin. This "experiment" points to yes, but of course it's a sample of one and not exactly rigorous science.

beerab
11-08-2010, 04:26 PM
It's not proof for me- it's one man- if they had 100 people do it I might take notice. There are way too many factors, he may have good genes, he may be like my husband who can eat anything and not gain weight, etc.

Overall for men IMO, it's much easier to lose weight cuz they don't have 75 million hormones like women do. I bet if a woman followed that diet she'd balloon to 400 lbs.

I can't eat anything off plan or I don't lose PERIOD. For me if I eat 1500 calories with a 55-60% carb diet nothing happens, but when I change carbs down to 30% the numbers go down, after two years I know my body is this way because I followed a low fat and high carb diet for years to only get bigger and bigger.

fitkristi
11-08-2010, 04:28 PM
But he didn't eat the same thing every day - he alternated between junk foods! This speaks volumes to the fact that you don't have to eliminate all of your favorite foods to lose weight - you just need to eat less OF them.

Amy8888
11-08-2010, 04:33 PM
I know him! :) (Well, I've met him a few times).

Anyway, if you read the article you see he didn't JUST eat Twinkies...he ate a variety of junk foods, plus some milk, carrots, and protein shakes. So he had some variety. I agree that the major point is to reduce your calorie intake, and it's great that his labs improved. I don't think I could live for very long eating that way. It sounds great but I'm sure I'd start craving healthier, heartier foods.

chris313
11-08-2010, 04:53 PM
Although I would never consider this diet for myself, I definitely believe this would work for anyone, male or female. The bottom line is a fact; taking in fewer calories than you burn equals weight loss.

beerab
11-08-2010, 05:27 PM
kEZIAH, my husband is also 6'6 and used to weight 382. Last January he started eating "better" and lost almost 40 pounds in 2 months. He stopped "dieting and exercising" and has been losing weight anyways. He is down to 328 and still eats pretty bad, just not as bad as he used to.

Im thinking your husband is not eating enough calories, and that's why he is not losing weight. He needs almost 4000 cal to keep that weight, so he could easily be eating 2500-3000 per day and still lose weight.



I agree with cieloarge- Keziah your husband sounds like he may be eating too little- specially if he's also working out. I would have him change to 2500 calories a day for a month and see if he starts to lose- sometimes too little calories makes you stop losing weight also.

Aunty Jam
11-08-2010, 05:50 PM
Wow he must have been starving all the time!

kaplods
11-08-2010, 06:01 PM
This doesn't really prove much of anything. It was too short of a "study" and doesn't have enough participants or enough controls to determine much of anything, except that if a person reduces their calorie intake, they may lose weight. I'd even venture to say "probably," but I also know "not necessarily) is also true for many people.

I can lose more weight on low-carb than on the same calories of high-carb. So I can lose more weight and feel fuller on low-carb than high-carb diets of the same calorie level. That doesn't mean I can't lose on a high-carb diet, but why would I want to (especially when I also know that the high-carb diet triggers or worsens some health issues and symptoms).

I only know this because I played lab rat and scientist with my own food journals. I would never lose weight on 1800 calories of junk food, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because when I eat junk food I can't stick to 1800 calories. I end up feeling starving and eat much more.

Some people do seem to be able to eat a whole lot of crap with no apparent ill effects (although apparent may be the key. Just because they look ok, doesn't mean they are).

Anyone can use a food journal though to experiment with different diets and see which they like best, and which they are able to stick to best, on which they feel the best...

But this one guys experiement raises more questions than it answers. Would he have lost more weight if he had followed a different diet of the same calories? How hungry was he on this diet? Would he have been less hungry on another diet? Did he experience any problems on this diet not related to weight such as headaches, concentration levels, sleep quality, emotional stability - was he crankier? Did he enjoy the diet or was it a torture. How long could he have kept it up without going bonkers?

GreenTeaYum
11-08-2010, 07:08 PM
Funny! I posted this in the General Chatter forum (oops!). :)

It is kind of an eye-opener. I know these aren't the results anyone was looking for but... I think it speaks to how resilient the human body is. Like the article said - there aren't any long-term results (ie cancer increase, insulin resistance changes, etc.) but bodies at a healthier weight function better.

But, he was also getting in a multivitamin, protein shakes and a healthy dinner. So... a reduced calorie diet, regardless of how he got there, obviously worked.

Pudgebrownie
11-09-2010, 08:26 AM
I would agree that a calorie is just a calorie to a certain degree. For example, when I was struggling with ED, I ate nothing but apples and Oreos for about 3 months or so. I maintained a very thin weight, never gaining any. Was I healthy? Uh, probably not. Was I skinny? Yup. And yes, I actually did lose weight too.

Beach Patrol
11-09-2010, 12:18 PM
I think many people are not actually *reading* the article. There's a LOT more info in the entire article than just "I ate Twinkies & lost 27 lbs!" -

for instance

On August 25, Haub, 41, started his cake diet focusing on portion control.

"I'm eating to the point of need and pushing the plate or wrapper away," he said.

He intended the trial to last a month as a teaching tool for his class. As he lost weight, Haub continued the diet until he reached a normal body mass index.

Before his Twinkie diet, he tried to eat a healthy diet that included whole grains, dietary fiber, berries and bananas, vegetables and occasional treats like pizza.

"There seems to be a disconnect between eating healthy and being healthy," Haub said. "It may not be the same. I was eating healthier, but I wasn't healthy. I was eating too much."
That last part, about "eating healthier but eating too much" - isn't that a huge red flag to some of us? I've heard that "you can eat all the veggies you want & not gain weight!" - uh, NO you cannot. A person cannot eat "all they want" of any food & not gain weight.

Also
To curb calories, he avoided meat, whole grains and fruits. Once he started adding meat into the diet four weeks ago, his cholesterol level increased.

MEAT! - eating meat made his chol. level INCREASE. I think that's a huge indicator of good/bad health. I know that *I* personally decreased my bad chol. level & increased my good chol. level by adding more whole grain to my diet (brown rice, whole wheat pasta & bread).

Eating! It's a way of life. :chin:

Expunge
11-09-2010, 02:10 PM
Of course a calorie is just a calorie! All a calorie is is a unit of measurement for energy - same concept as a Joule.

As long as people don't conflate weight loss with health (because they are two entirely different things), the results of the experiment are not at all surprising.

RunnerChemist
11-09-2010, 04:27 PM
I was saddened because of all the nutritional points to make, this is what he chose. If I had the self discipline to limit myself to 1800 calories of junk, I wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

Sheesh. I don't think anyone wanted to make this point in the article, but I'll bet the lack of meat and cheese in his diet did wonders for his cholesterol.

theCandEs
11-10-2010, 11:35 AM
Wow he must have been starving all the time!

Yeah, that's what I thought, too. I can get a lot more food for the same amount of calories by not eating the junk. Still, it is interesting.

kaplods
11-10-2010, 01:40 PM
Because I could lose weight on any diet if I cut calories enough, I didn't realize that it does matter what I eat, not just for health, but for weight loss too. I can lose at least as much weight on 2000 calories of low-carb eating, than I can on 1500 calories of high-carb. Also, I'm hungrier on 4000 calories of high-carb than on 1000 calories of low-carb. So eating low-carb makes a whole lot more sense.

I think "working" as in "resulting in weight loss" is only one very small part of the picture. Finding what you can stick to (or learn to stick to), what you enjoy (or can learn to enjoy), what you feel best and least hungry on.....

that's the real "secret." But it's not how we're taught to lose weight. The general practice is to randomly try diet plans, or to choose a plan philosophy and stick with it. "Trying out" different plans or constant experimentation is often seen as flaky at best.

I think the single best tool of weight loss is a daily journal - and not just of food and calories, but also of emotions, hunger, health symptoms... Over time patterns will emerge (though you have to look at big picture, what you did yesterday doesn't always show up on the scale today or even next week).

asparagus4sale
11-10-2010, 02:55 PM
I was saddened because of all the nutritional points to make, this is what he chose. If I had the self discipline to limit myself to 1800 calories of junk, I wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.


I don't know the man but I am guessing he was as surprised as anyone by the study. I think his intention may have been the opposite of his result....

Granted there is no real proof in a study with one person, but I think it is interesting that his cholesterol went down (and we see similar results with Atkins followers who are eating pounds of bacon a day) - indicating that weight loss itself is important to improving health. But there are plenty of studies out there that show what you eat is important too so if he had done the same diet but ate only broccoli, how much more would his numbers have improved?

Thinfor5Minutes
11-11-2010, 10:12 AM
From personal experience I know that if we have an office birthday party in the morning and I have cake, I don't want my salad or other healthy meal at lunch. The sweet snacks destroy my appetite for more wholesome food.

I'm thinking about the chemicals and other junk in Twinkies and similar snacks...and I think I'd rather be slightly overweight than subsist on that stuff. Cancer, for one thing, may be caused by the Frankenfoods that we eat on the SAD. I hope that no one out there takes this study as proof that they can lose weight by eating a lot of snack cakes and chips etc.

Daddyo5278
11-23-2010, 03:55 PM
This was on our local news here. His point is to prove that it is all about calories in and calories out. He also says that there may also be other health problems that would come from a diet like this. But he is only talking about weight loss. There are really many people who dont really get what you need to do to lose weight. I know I didnt, and this forum has been one of the best tools I could have ever asked for.

kaplods
11-23-2010, 04:51 PM
I don't really think it proves anything about "calories in calories out" the way most people mean it.

For most of my life, I thought all calories were equal when it came to weight loss. I assumed I would lose just as much on 1500 calories of junk as 1500 calories of whole foods. I never tested the theory, so it took me nearly 40 years to understand just how much it mattered where the calories came from.

If I drastically cut calories (regardless of where the calories come from) I do lose weight - but I don't have to cut calories nearly as drastically if I choose carefully where the foods come from.

I can eat more and feel better when I keep carb-levels fairly low. No doubt part of the equation is having more energy to burn more calories without even realizing it.

Another huge factor is hunger. On 4000 calories of high-carb foods, I am far hungrier than I am on 1000 or low-carb calories. Appetite and hunger control can be powerful tools for weight loss.

It all does boil down to calories in/calories out, but it's more difficult to determine the calories out than the calories in. It's also difficult to determine how the calories in affect the calories out. Metabolism is a bit like a fire - the fuel you use not only affects how long the fire burns, but how hot the fire gets.

I can see that literally in my body temperature. It's not unusual for my body temperature to be in the low 96's. I used to think I just had a naturally low body temperature. Then I discovered that when I'm eating a relatively high-carb diet, my body temperature is at least a full degree lower than when I'm eating low-carb. The fewer carbs I eat, the closer my body temperature is to "normal." It's also just a study of one, so I can't conclude anything for anyone but myself, but to me it proves that "a calorie is a calorie" is an oversimplification. What you eat can affect what you burn.