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All Calories Are Not Equal

All Calories Are Not Equal

Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

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12 Comments

  1. Lori

    This is a tough one. I have found through personal experience that I can eat more calories and maintain with a higher fat, moderate protein, low-moderate carb (100 grams of carbs) diet than a low calorie, low fat diet. It’s not a huge margin, maybe 200-300 calories per day more.

    I also find I am much more satisfied with the fat calories, so there is less inclination to nibble. I think it is harder for me to stick within a calorie range if there is a lot of ’empty’ calories making up that portion.

    However, I can’t just eat tons of calories of all protein or fat and not gain weight.

    I have always wondered if it isn’t the calories so much as how the body processes the calories. I think my body will more efficiently use protein and fat calories for what it needs, where maybe it tends to store carb calories. More like stoking a furnace. That’s just me, though.

    Again – this book was written by a younger man. Someone like that can eat junk food and still lose weight. Any change he makes will show up on the scale, whereas for a lot of women it shows very little difference (unless you were starting out from the beginning again).

    I am really curious as to how this will go for you. I am sure you will lose some weight during the week.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      And I’ve never done any “diet experiments.” I just limited my calories, exercised and lost weight. I didn’t try different combinations of foods to see if I’d lose more or lose faster. It was what it was and I was okay with it.

      This week of no sugar/candy/treats I’ve noticed that I’ve been hungrier than normal. I’ve been eating a lot of high fiber/high protein meals and yet I’m still hungry. I found that odd. I think you might be right about the fat. I need more in my diet. But not in a bad way (like I should be adding avocados to salads and such).

      I am curious about how this experiment will work for me. I honestly am slightly terrified that I will GAIN weight….

  2. Carbzilla

    I do not believe that a calorie is a calorie because of the way the body processes nutrients. It’s just more complicated than that. There are so many variables. I see it every week at Weight Watchers where we’re eating the same points and losing so differently. That said, I’ve lost weight eating better and worse, but I know I feel better when I eat better. 🙂

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I think sugar calories are way different. But I’m still a little skeptical about this whole thing!

  3. Coco

    Hmmm. I like your point about how our bodies process/metabolize different foods/calorie sources differently.

    Regardless of whether a calorie is a calorie for “energy balance” purposes, the type of food you eat certainly has an impact on how satisfied you are — or how miserable you are. I focus on getting more nutritional/taste “bang for my buck” out of my food choices and can be satisified hunger-wise and taste-wise on fewer calories with more “whole food” choices.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I’ve never tried an experiment eating different types of food for specific reasons so I have no idea how my body will feel on this (yet).

  4. John

    No I don’t. It’s well known that it takes energy to process protein, so I think that about 20 percent of the energy of protein gets used up in the process. That means that because I’m having a lot of protein at the moment, my energy intake is actually less than it is if you totaled all the numbers.

    Fat, carbohydrates and protein are all converted into human fat. Converting these chemicals takes energy, and in cases may release energy (ie exothermic reaction). It’s not a one step process. A -> B -> C. Taking Chemistry taught me that some of the time, C -> B then back again to C. Enzymes speed up reactions. It’s all very complicated.

    However, the reality of things is that, yes, to a degree, a calorie is pretty much a calorie, give or take a bit. As much as a person owning their own body and eating food cares. People don’t eat 90% of one type of protein/fat/carbohydrate.

  5. blackhuff

    All calories are different – you get bad or good calories.
    Sugary calories are the bad ones and fruit are the good ones because like you say, they contain fiber and nutrients as well. What nutrients do a sugary treat have? None.

  6. M iz

    it sounds crazy but I can totally recall the day I realized all this too.
    it was such a LIGHTBULB and life changing moment for me
    (and muscle tone changing :))

    Miz.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I hope I see some changes that make it worth it!

  7. Tom

    You simplify the 4HB a bit though. Ferriss is much more about the types of food you eat, and emphasizes getting nutrient dense food in your system. there is also a concentration on beans and green veggies as your source of carbs, because of the low glycemic load they just keep giving and giving, as opposed to some Ben and Jerry’s which will spike your insulin and give you a rush then crash you down hard.

    But different people lose differently as well. I have been on the 4HB diet now for three weeks and easily dropped 16 pounds and counting. Plus never hungry and lots of energy. And I get a cheat day every Saturday that is fun and does not affect overall weight, in fact helps to break any metabolic monotony and gets the weight going down again the following week.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      In all honesty I was offended by most of the book so I didn’t read it all. Michael read it all and took notes to prepare for the diet plan. I’m going to defer to him for details.

      How much did you have to lose when you started the diet? How close are you to your goal now?

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