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Thread: Calorie intake and obesity

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.

    Calorie intake and obesity



    Everything I've ever read about obesity indicates that it is a function of calories in versus calories out. If you eat more than you expend you get fat. Lately, with things like the Paleo diet or the Keto diet, the big enemy is carbs.

    If all of that is true, how do we explain this:



    It must be incorrect, yes? Either that or Italians have some magic anti-fat gene.

    Now, different studies will show different percentages because of differences in how it is measured, samples etc., but Italy is always among the least obese.



    What's going on?


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    Not all calories are equal. It is sugar that fattens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Everything I've ever read about obesity indicates that it is a function of calories in versus calories out. If you eat more than you expend you get fat.
    It's only true very roughly speaking, I think. What I noticed is that one's body will not necessarily take all, digest all food, if it doesn't feel it needs that much. So we should talk about calories digest and not calories eaten. Otherworld calories digested = calories eaten - calories pooped. ;)
    Also I could see genetic predisposition and function of gut bacteria in the process too. And epigenetics might be in action as well.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolan View Post
    Not all calories are equal. It is sugar that fattens.
    You can get fat on anything, it's just that sugar is a very simple, easily digestible fuel source loved by all plants and animals. It's good for you, but exercise moderation. :)

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    Interesting question. I am not an expert, my opinion is as follows:

    Refined carbs (sugars, starches) are "bad". However, keto diets differentiate an intake of less than 20 grams of sugar per day, or more. With less, one enters into ketosis. With more, not.

    So, I assume that very few human populations are in ketosis, nowadays. So, then the issue is how many "bad calories" a country eats. And it is possible that Mediterranean countries still eat "better" (more basic products, even if this is pasta). Also, in my limited experience, Italians eat pasta every day, but not huge amounts.

    Another different issue is what happens when you enter into ketosis. There is clearly a huge amount of research in recent years. The picture is not clear (basically, it is very difficult to sustain clinical tests for many years, basically impossible).

    But at least for some people (me included), entering into ketosis changes completely your body and even mind. You start having no hunger (or only a gentle reminder to eat, which is what I think most people, not addicted to carbs, call hunger), your body starts losing water and weight like there is no tomorrow, your mind is sharper, you feel euphoric, you smell much better ...

    But on the other hand, evidence by centenarians (from Okinawa to Sicily) shows that almost all of them practice a "pescetarian" diet, with a high intake of carbs (but most of them good quality carbs, not sugars or starches), and very limited protein.

    So, the answer to the OP could be: Italians probably eat a diet which is healthy (in the sense of a clean pescetarian diet). But people who individually and intensely use ketosis, they find extraordinary phenomena in their body.

    Maybe a good solution is to use ketosis as an emergency solution, to lose weight, and then switch to a pescetarian diet, for longevity. Who knows.

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    About calories in, calories out: of course, this is conservation of energy. It is true by definition.

    But what is obvious is that depending on which calories are going in, physical processes change. For example, a low calorie diet with low fat, will probably reduce your metabolism. So you burn less calories.

    For a keto diet, and probably even more with a high intake of proteins, food cravings go down, so the composition of calories matter for the future calories going in.

    So, conservation of energy is true, but irrelevant. Internal processes (including those in the mind, through hormones) dominate.

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    My dentist is on the keto diet. He eats two whole rotisserie chickens a day and some vegetables. Probably about 4,500 calories a day input. He does not exercise anymore. All his measurable (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc) are in the low normal range. He has lost about 80 pounds. So it's not calories in vs calories out. It is a lot more complicated than we knew. My personal opinion is that it is a function of metabolism and also gut bacteria.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsnake49 View Post
    My dentist is on the keto diet. He eats two whole rotisserie chickens a day and some vegetables. Probably about 4,500 calories a day input. He does not exercise anymore. All his measurable (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc) are in the low normal range. He has lost about 80 pounds. So it's not calories in vs calories out. It is a lot more complicated than we knew. My personal opinion is that it is a function of metabolism and also gut bacteria.
    Metabolism is clear: when eating sugar, insulin is high. When insulin is high, the body does not tap fat reserves. Then, in a low calorie diet (but with refined carbs), calorie intake is low, but fat reserves cannot be used -> lower metabolism.

    Instead, with a keto diet (or also in intermittent fasting), sugar is low, so insulin is low, so the body can tap fat reserves. So, in a low calorie keto diet, calorie intake is low, but fat reserves can be used -> metabolism does not need to go down to balance energy.

    About gut bacteria, I do not know anything, but it seems an interesting point.

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