Calories in / Calories out debunked

Do Hoboken residents enjoy being overweight and unhealthy?

Several of my contacts in the health industry here in Hoboken (who are also proponents of the low carb lifestyle) get frustrated seeing many of their customers at the gym – week after week, month after month, and even year after year – exercising consistently, but are still fat, miserable blobs.

Sure, they may have some “strength” in their bodies – but they’re still unattractive, flabby and most likely susceptible to diabetes, cancer and other deadly diseases.

These fitness gurus want to “tell it like it is” to the clients, but have to walk a fine line because everyone is so damn sensitive these days, and despise being told the brutal truth, so they choose not to offend them.

Instead, they use more “passive” methods in hopes that the customer will “wake up” eventually – but sadly, educating people that way just doesn’t work nearly as well.

So it is, and will remain.

Relying on calories in / calories out only works with low carb

For 50 years, the public has been mislead by the “First Law of Thermodynamics,” which simply states that in order to lose fat you must “burn more calories than you consume.”

Well if that was correct – why are the same tubbies at the gym – who are sweating their butts off – unable to shed that thick, unsightly layer of pancake batter under their skin?

“Burning” is a complicated process. The fact of the matter is that if your blood sugar is too high – your body has a very hard time using stored body fat for “fuel” (i.e., losing excess weight).

High blood sugar throws all weight formulas off base

And to further demonstrate that the simpleton phrase “calories in vs. calories out” really isn’t as simple as it sounds – and that there are MANY factors at play.

Read what one of my favorite low-carb advocates Dr. Peter Attia said:

“There are 4 ways we “expend” energy, though we generally only think of the first one in this list:

  1. Exercise
  2. Activities of daily living (e.g., walking to and from our car)
  3. Digesting food, and probably most important…
  4. Basal metabolic expenditure.

The inter-dependencies between these are complicated, but ultimately, if we are to remain neutral in weight, the sum of these 4 “sinks” of energy expenditure must match energy input.

A big problem with over-consuming carbohydrates (and especially the very simple ones and sugars) is that they put us in metabolic state where we prefer to oxidize carbohydrates over fats.

In doing so, we tend to expend less overall energy at rest, which is when we actually do the bulk of our calorie-burning.”

So the next time you’re at the gym you see someone reaching for the sugary Powerade or Coconut Water (which even I used to think was great) – just think to yourself “They just wasted their time. I could have walked to the PATH station and back with a bottle of water and improved my health 10x more than this guy just did.”

There’s much more to say about “Calories in / Calories Out,” but understanding the proper way to quantify what you actually burn (most casual BMR calculators and treadmill calorie counters are useless), and putting yourself in the proper position to actually use body fat for fuel – the argument is pointless and way too difficult for a common dolt to make sense of.

Let them keep drowning in beer and diabetes medication – only to find out the hard way one day.

Here’s a another simplified way of looking at “Why we get fat” from Dr. Peter Attia::

Further reading: “A calorie is a calorie” violates the second law of thermodynamics

Leave a Reply

3 Comments on "Calories in / Calories out debunked"

Sort by:   newest | oldest

your powerade comment is off base. unless you are trying to just do cardio to burn fat, if you are lifting (and really lifting not casually lifting) your body uses up it’s glycogen stores and they need to be replenished to keep at your peak level of strength and endurance. Many people have upto 100g of sugar in their post workout drinks/shake just to bring their blood sugar levels back to NORMAL after a good workout. I’m all for posting information but you, and many others, are a little off base with this low carb necessary approach to getting in shape. Find me a pro bodybuilder that goes low carb year round – impossible.


Guess you missed the news last year, when a Professor of Nutrition went on a junk food diet and counted calories. Lost 27 pounds.


Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes is a must read.