A calorie is a calorie.
People always come to me saying that they cannot lose weight, that they have tried everything from exercise to diet but still can´t get rid of those extra kilos. They say that they have a ¨slow metabolism¨ or some other excuse and they are basically lying ( click here). Lying to themselves and to the people around them because, listen closely I´m going to tell a secret, to lose weight you have to eat less and move more. Yes, that´s right, eat less and move more, don´t believe me, look at the studies (1-4).
People don´t understand but you can actually lose weight eating ¨junk food¨ as long as you are in a calorie deficit. You see, there is no evidence that junk food is more fattening that healthy food if both foods have the same number of calories (5) because a calorie is a calorie. Well ok, consuming proteins causes a greater energy expenditure than consuming fat or carbohydrates (6), but still for the sake of simplicity a CALORIE is A CALORIE. If you want to lose weight create a calorie deficit, meaning burn more than what you are eating. And that is exactly what John Cisca did a couple of months ago. He lost 37 pounds in 90 days eating just McDonald’s, it´s a true story (click here). And how did he do it, you ask?? That´s right – by creating a calorie deficit.
Even after explaining this to people you will still hear (at least I do), that ¨I exercised and I ate less and still I didn´t lose weight¨. So what do you do with these people? First, you tell that in almost 100 years of weight loss research, there hasn´t been a single human that didn´t lose weight when they were in a caloric deficit, so they probably aren´t the exception. Second, you explain to them that people are horrible at counting calories and most of the time eat more than what they think (excellent video – you have to watch both parts) and also move less (burn less calories) . If they still don´t believe you (which some actually won´t), smile and walk again.
Now there are some exceptions to this rule,people who have a thyroid problem will have a problem losing weight(7) and also some medication can hinder weight loss;
- Paxil- used for anxiety
- Depakote- used to treat bipolar disease
- Prozac- It is associated with weight loss in the first 6 months but after it causes the opposite effect. It´s used for depression
- Remeron- Anti-depressant
- Zyprexa- used for bipolar disease
- Deltasone- Treats asthma and inflammatory bowel disease
- Elavil- Anti-depressant
- Diabines, Insulate- Type 2 diabetes drugs
- Insulin- stops protein breakdown.
- Tenomin- Beta-bolcers, drugs used for high blood pressure
* if you are on a medication NEVER stop unless you have talked to your doctor first.
Hoped you like it, until next time
- Buchholz AC, Schoeller DA. Is a calorie a calorie? Am J Clin Nutr.2004;79(5):899S-906S
- Schoeller DA. The energy balance equation: looking back and looking forward are two very different views. Nutr Rev. 2009;67(5):249–254.
- Schoeller DA, Buchholz AC. Energetics of obesity and weight control: does diet composition matter? J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105(5 Suppl 1):S24–8.
- Westerterp KR. Physical activity, food intake, and body weight regulation: insights from doubly labeled water studies. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(3):148–154.
- Surwit RS, Feinglos MN, McCaskill CC, et al. Metabolic and behavioral effects of a high-sucrose diet during weight loss. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65(4):908–915
- Westerterp KB. Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutr Metab (Lond),2004 Aug 18;1(1):5