Monday, November 19, 2012

Are Calories Themselves a MYTH?

Calories poorly grasped for maintaining weight:Obesity experts concerned about caloric literacy

I like Dr. Sharma's other writings and website, but disagree about calories.

To be honest, I have wondered to the shock of others, if calories are even "real". A few friends have chuckled saying, "Now Five Hundred Pound Peep, you may be getting out to lunch with this one!"

Some may wonder about me saying, that "Is she insane"? Yeah I know I am pondering something that is a bit different. Just thinking aloud. But what else would you expect of someone like me? Remember I've had enough strange health problems not to buy all the "accepted wisdom" as complete and utter fact. One day if technology and knowledge is allowed to expand anymore and it's not a new "dark age" and if the world hasn't ended by then, well one day, the facts will prove they got fat people wrong, very wrong.

But I always have had that thought lately, I mean given calories don't seem to mean a thing to my body, and I am told all this stuff about how they work, and I never see the evidence, tell me why I should believe the whole "calories in and calories out" myth? Why should I believe fewer calories mean weight loss?  How many fat people do I know that worry about every little bit that crosses their mouths while so many people who are thin, just eat when hungry and let the chips fall where they may, literally.

I know EXACTLY what calories are in everything. I can sit here and add up what I ate today, and yesterday. Every fat person over the age of  25 just about knows every calorie in every food. They drum it into your head. Hey I kept endless food diaries for YEARS. Do Weight Watchers enough and the other stuff, and you got the calories memorized. Toss out a food, the portion, and I bet I can hit within 50 to 100 calories where it's at. By the way for some reason everything you eat out, has far more calories.  I know what foods have more calories then others. With nutrition, given my health food interests and others, I can tell you what foods to eat for healing different diseases. This book is referred to all the time in my household.

They ignore metabolism when it comes to the CALORIES IN and CALORIES out formula, and they ignore the bodily systems that turn calories to fat so automatically and how this system is thrown off.

Hey did you know they literally figured out the calories in food, by lighting them on fire and BURNING them, I kid you not. Any hands? Even Straight Dope admits that is SIMPLICITY, but is the human body simple? NO. Also just adding up the carbohydrates, proteins and fats too seems very limited as well, given that even nutritionists admit to the existence of micro-nutrients.  Hmmm, so if you don't even know everything that exists in food yet? Maybe I distrust science, or maybe I just realize so much of it today isn't as unbiased as it claims. The other day, a food company told me GMOs were safe......hmmmmmm

Do they even understand completely how this energy is utilized? Calories are a measure of "heat", by that alone the fat process is not explained.

How come no fat people ever are studied when it comes to calories?

The math never added up for me. You do realize to be 500 lbs, they expect your caloric intake to be over 10,000 calories a day.  I couldn't afford the groceries. I mean they have so much of our society dedicated to calories in and calories out, and well, all the health magazines, shows, constant beration isn't stopping anyone from getting fat is it? Why do we believe something that does not work? By the way what is with those women's health magazines that tell everyone to lose weight and then put in endless recipes for things like h'ordeuvres dripping in olive oil and 20 dollar a pound fish?

I guess it's like the old days when people believed in spontaneous generation, accepted as fact, not questioned until later. They may light a pound of fat on fire and claim it that it equals 3500 calories and try and divide up the food into the simplest equations, but something isn't adding up. Feel free to disagree with me here, or that I am on too much of a stretch, this discussion is open.


  1. Five hundred pound peep you are neither wrong nor crazy. You are merely figuring out just how badly and cruelly you have been lied to and mislead. Do yourself a favor and become acquainted with the work of this fellow:

    He is the longtime top science writer for the NY Times. He has published two books which specifically address this issue, 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' and 'Why We Get Fat, And What To Do About It.' Each book has a slightly different focus, but both do an excellent job of explaining the biological and chemical realities of human metabolism. Also, he traces the history of how politics was used to denigrate and displace indisputable science about metabolism, weight, and health, and what constitutes a truly healthy diet.

    I understand and sympathize that books are an expensive luxury, and even transportation to a library may be a barely affordable luxury. But these books will answer many of your questions and may prolong your life or improve its quality significantly. And if nothing else they will give you knowledge and resources for pushing your doctors to figure out what is and has actually been going totally haywire with your body.

    I also highly recommend the article he wrote for the Times which inspired him to go on to write the books, which of course go into far greater detail. The article, 'What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?' can be accessed here:

    Best wishes, and prayers. I sincerely hope you find the healing your body needs.

  2. Thanks for the article and link.Yeah he has a lot of good theories and insights, I can interlibrary loan order that book, that is what I do to get books I can't afford. Will check libraries I go to as well.

    If one pays attention to how fat people look today, the centralized obesity actually is FAR HIGHER. [compare to old pics of circus fat people] The weight is all in the stomach, even of the old men who are midsized fat. Even women you see these thin legs and large stomachs. My body it is extreme centralized obesity, it all hit the stomach, if my leg wasn't swollen from lymphedema, I would look like a bird on stilt legs.

    Yeah I believe I am right about this. Hey remember I knew they were lying to me and one reason I stayed alive was to fight and get the endocrine stuff diagnosed.

    Too bad that took so long. I think one reason everyone is getting fatter too, is the food is lacking in nutrients and the human body desires more food as a result.

    and then my blog is full of the other theories, including their profit motives.

    In my case, I believe a combination of severe thyroid disease untreated for at least 10 years--I never have met anyone of any weight who has needed almost 500 [475]mcgs of Synthroid a day, insulin resistance, PCOS, extreme stress-pseduo Cushings, and the intermittent use of prednisone to stay alive from severe asthma and chronic bronchitis, family history, etc all joined together for a toxic stew.

    I do my best with the food as I can afford. Actually the digestion has been far more stable lately, I still get sick on occasion but nothing like it was. This means constant vigilance for MSG which they have POURED INTO EVERYTHING just about.

    I'm kind of in pray and let the chips fall where they may mode, not really dieting or doing anything like that, trying to eat healthiest things I can afford when I can get ahold of them. For some reason eating a KEFIR pear daily, which I got from a friend's family farm seemed to heal the digestion more, wonder if its because these pears probably were not GMOed to death and still had some real nutrients in them.

    I probably have lost around 70lbs in last 6 years, but not really paying attention to weight or losing outside of monthly measurements to make sure I am not gaining [55, 60, 83] . I hope it doesn't sound bad, but I do not hold out for the day where I will be "normal" anymore unless God grants it. That said, I do constant tweaks to the diet, but do what I can restricted financially. One thing I am discovering is finding good food except seasonal stuff is getting harder and harder and the stores around here at least seem to be dummying down the food, no more fringe brands. Everyone wants to be like Wal-mart? Not sure.

    I believe politics, corporate interests, and other things are impacting the science world, studies, academia, where there is VERY LITTLE TRUTH about OBESITY. There is too much money they are making.

    Thanks for your posts, and I will check that book out.

  3. you don't have to "believe" in calories;calories are only a tech.measurement for an amt. of energy.that's all a calorie is.the supposid human calorie goes into us,from our food; when we are taking in more calories than we use, the extra calories get stored in our bodies as fat. some people CAN go on "less calorie" diets, and lose weight, but not everyone's body works this way,this mechanically.

    for example,that's my sister's favorite diet;"much less calories." it works,she loses it, but over time, she usually gains it back.your body has a "set-point"weight which it automatically returns to,which is why so many people can't keep the Only if you lose the weight VERY SLOWLY,and keep excercising,is there any hope of keeping it off.--and it's an up-hill battle,the rest our lives.Nature is fighting against you in many ways. Plus, yes, "less calories"is over-simplistic,as far as weight-loss.the human body,and environment,chemistry,is complex.

  4. I also think Taubes has a lot of merit. It's how your body processes the food and drink - how it responses to it. To take a blatant example, 500 calories from Jack Daniels gets dealt with differently than 500 calories of tuna and spinach with some light oil dressing. Now, people will say the alcohol is more like a drug, etc. Well, so are foods with a high glycemic load that cause a spike in blood sugar and more. Metabolism is a complex process, not a simple one. The calories in, calories out rule ignores how our bodies actually work.

  5. There's been no lying or misleading about calories, they're not a myth. But what I think we DON'T know is exactly how each of our individual bodies handles calories. The difference can be seemingly so broad that it would make you think the problem is the calories but WE ARE THE VARIABLE, not the calories.

    We all know somebody who quits drinking soda and magically drops 20lbs in a month. We eat rabbit food and exercise consistently and lose a couple pounds. It's happened to me. I once did a liquid diet for a week and gained a pound. Ugh.

    There HAVE been tests done on fat people. Gina Kolata has written about them. Definitely look for "Rethinking Thin: The new science of weight loss - and the myths and realities of dieting" and "Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise." You can probably find them at the library.

  6. Thanks I agree. We are the variable. How does the body use the calories. They are even doing studies with gut flora that are interesting to me and have proven some certain gut flora means less efficient use of calories. I know when I eat very little such as the times when I am ill, my temperature drops, it can drop at other times, but I get even colder then I am usual. The metabolism seems to go into this shut-down mode so the less food is not removing any weight. They used to admit different metabolisms in human beings, why do they deny this? Is this part of the fat prejudice affecting the science. I will look up Gina Kolata's writings. Thanks.