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Old 05-29-2009, 11:31 AM   #1
Jason Barrow
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Default Um...weight watchers is working?

So recently I've been reading a lot of stuff concerning the question of 'calories in-calories out'. Most of what I've come across suggests that in v.s out is in fact an outdated position of what is necessary for weight loss.

"The "calories in, calories out" hypothesis arises from the application of thermodynamics to the human body. Energy conservation tells you that:

ΔE= Ein – Eout

Where ΔE is the change in energy, Ein is the energy intake (typically in units of calories), and Eout is energy expenditure. From this simple equation, it appears that weight loss should occur if energy expenditure exceeds energy intake. In other words, a caloric deficit (i.e. ΔE is negative) must be created in order for weight loss to occur. Wouldn’t it be great if it were that simple?

The problem with “calories in, calories out” is that Ein and Eout are assumed to be independent variables - that you can reduce Ein without changing Eout. In reality, the two variables are somewhat dependent. For example, if an individual consumes an amount of calories that is near or below starvation levels, the individual's basal metabolism will decrease in an attempt to conserve energy. In this case, reducing Ein led to compensatory decrease in Eout. (This is why diet and exercise are such a powerful combination; exercise allows one to increase Eout......

....Treating the human body like a motor completely ignores all of endocrinology; the hormones involved in the mechanisms of energy storage and release. Therein lies the real flaw of the “calories in, calories out” hypothesis
".

Now my position on most things 'diet' is that they never work in the long term. I prefer to talk to people about aspiring for a healthy lifestyle and making lasting changes. I'm also starting to see that hormones are key in pretty much every change our body undergoes. But....

People do lose weight on WW, which as I understand it (as they're now solely using the points system) is a portion control, calorie deficit creating diet, nothing more. Given that, as long as you stay within your allowed points, you can eat anything you want including sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks etc, what to make of the weight loss?

Can I safely assume that any reduction in weight simply overlooks any underlying hormonal issues i.e. 'leptin/insulin resistance?? This likely explains why many people simply put the weight back when they come off WW (they've failed to make any lasting change)? How to explain why WW might not be the best way to lose weight? I admit to being stumped when I say 'diets don't work' and being hit with 'Mine is! I'm on WW and I've lost 10lbs!'

(Oh and FWIW, when new clients who are already following WW/Slimming World and are seeing some success come to me, I often take the position of 'if it's working for you, stick with it'. Then if it stops working, we can talk paleo/zone, whatever.)
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:03 PM   #2
Mike ODonnell
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I say diets don't work......and here's my conversation with people:

Them "I'm doing xxxxxxxxxx and I've lost 30lbs!"

Me "Great...but most diets fail mostly because no one sticks with the insane process of what you need to do"

Them "Well my diet is working"

Me "Has a diet worked in the past for you too? But you gained it all back?"

Them "Well.....yeah....but"

Me "See that diet didn't work afterall.....any diet book will help you lose weight, but does it keep it off is what I ask.......lifestyle changes work....so find something you want to do for life.....otherwise you'll keep wasting your money in a BILLION dollar weight loss industry that wants you to gain it all back....and spend more money again and again....."

In the end.....people can use a diet as a platform to a better lifestyle....but the question becomes, does it really work that way? Most often....the answer is no....other wise Body for Life would of cured Obesity in the 90s.
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Old 05-30-2009, 04:06 AM   #3
Jason Barrow
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Totally agree Mike, thanks for your input.

I suppose I'm curious as to what to make of weight loss achieved on a calorie controlled diet like Weightwatchers, when so much information points to it not being a simple calories in-calories out equation?

Or to come at it from an exercise angle, what about weight loss achieved when no change is made to diet but a person goes crazy with the gym sessions? I've got a guy who's convinced the key to his 14lb+ drop in weight was down to his 2hr routine 4x a week! Seems pretty easy to say "well of course, you dramatically increased your calorie expenditure, created a deficit and bingo- weight loss!"

(on a side note, when you guys first starting first starting questioning what you might call the mainstream conceptions of health/fitness.......anybody else feel like their head was going to explode?! )
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Old 05-30-2009, 05:24 AM   #4
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Barrow View Post
Totally agree Mike, thanks for your input.

I suppose I'm curious as to what to make of weight loss achieved on a calorie controlled diet like Weightwatchers, when so much information points to it not being a simple calories in-calories out equation?

Or to come at it from an exercise angle, what about weight loss achieved when no change is made to diet but a person goes crazy with the gym sessions? I've got a guy who's convinced the key to his 14lb+ drop in weight was down to his 2hr routine 4x a week! Seems pretty easy to say "well of course, you dramatically increased your calorie expenditure, created a deficit and bingo- weight loss!"

(on a side note, when you guys first starting first starting questioning what you might call the mainstream conceptions of health/fitness.......anybody else feel like their head was going to explode?! )
Sorry but as this extract from Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance by McArdle, Katch & Katch (p.855 - 856) points out it really is as simple as energy-in vs energy-out.

Quote:
The first law of thermodynamics (often called the law of conservation of energy) posists that energy can be transferred from one system to another in many forms but cannot be created or destroyed. In human terms this means that the energy balance dictates that body mass remains constant when caloric intake equals caloric expenditure. Figure 30.15 shows that any chronic imbalance on the energy output or input side of the equation changes body weight.

There are three ways to unbalance the energy equation in order to produce weight loss:

1: Reduce energy intake below daily energy requirements.

2: Maintain caloric intake and increase energy expenditure through additional physical activity above daily energy requirements.

3: Decrease daily caloric intake and increase daily energy expenditure.

When considering the sensitivity if the energy balance equation, if caloric intake exceeds output by only 100 kcal per day the surplus calories consumed in a year equal 36,500 kcal (365 days x 100 kcal), because 0.45kg (1 lb) of body fat contains 3500 kcal (each 1 lb [454g] of adipose tissue contains about 86% fat or 390g x 9 kcal/g = 3514 kcal per lb) this caloric excess causes a yearly gain of 4.7kg (10.3 lb) of body fat. In contrast, if daily food intake decreases by 100 kcal and energy expenditure increases by 100 kcal then the yearly deficit equals the energy in 9.5kg (21 lb) of body fat.

The previous arithmeticic represents an overly simplistic accounting for fat accumulation because the diets composition affects the bodies efficiency in converting and storing excess calories as fat. Only about 3% of ingested lipids are lost when the body converts the calories to stored fat. In contrast 25% of carbohydrate calories "burn" during the conversion. Simply stated, the body synthesizes fat far more efficiently from dietary lipid than from an equivalent excess of carbohydrate. Whether shifting dietary composition toward higher carbohydrate content actually produces less body fat gain with a caloric excess remains unresolved.
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:39 AM   #5
Jason Barrow
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See- this is when my head start to hurts!

I guess I should say that I tend to naturally lean toward a net calorie deficit being key to weight loss. I think those losing weight on WW whilst considering nothing else is evidence enough for me. However....

In my original post I included a quote with a pretty rational explanation of why in vs out might not be the answer. On the flip-side, Darryl's book excerpt (thanks btw), makes tons of sense as well. So what to believe?!

What I'm thinking is.....

Much of the low carb/paleo, insulin control stuff seems largely aimed at improving markers of health - insulin resistance, autoimmune issues, vitamin/mineral intake etc. And that's cool cause we all want healthy clients. When we then take the suggested/necessary steps to deal with some of these issues i.e. removing grains, high GI/GL carb sources it seems likely that, if no compensatory increase of pro/fat is made, a calorie deficit will occur as it's easy to over consume calories via dense carb/sugar sources, not so easy with just broccoli! So it strikes me that weight loss on a low carb approach (or lower carb- I understand paleo isn't low carb per se) could almost be considered a bi-product? It isn't the reduction in carbs but more the resultant reduction in calories?

And apologies for length of posts or if I my thoughs/questions seem to be all over the place- I've been told I do tend to go on a bit !
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Old 05-31-2009, 02:38 PM   #6
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People who only eat Paleo foods....can usually do whatever and will probably lose weight (or at least not gain more)

People who eat breads/cereals and other crap need more control (aka Zone %s and stuff like that)

Hormones and weight loss go hand in hand....low carb is just an easy way to let the general public not "improvise" and eat too many wrong carbs that just elevate insulin. Also for those that have more stubborn fat/insulin resistance factors and do not exercise with high intensity, a low carb approach may be a better strategy...again a hormonal thing. There doesn't have to be one right way....there never is.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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What Mike said.

It's pretty hard to gain weight going strict Paleo.... and if you need to cut something just cut out some fruit here and there if you're heavy on it.

If you're working out as well you're golden.

Don't worry about it too much. Remember, lifestyle changes > calorie counting/"diets"
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
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There is an obscure law of the universe that says "if something is working, and you stop doing it, then it stops working."
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