If there’s one thing we “know” to be true about diet and weight loss, it’s this equation, which we’ll refer to as the “Calories In/Calories Out Model:”
Weight Loss = Calories In – Calories Out
That equation has been drilled in our heads for years. Need to lose weight? Either decrease your calories in (eat less) or increase your calories out (exercise). If you “burn” 3,500 calories in total, that will translate to shedding a pound of fat. Science!
The Calories In/Calories Out Model has a firm foundation in thermodynamics. From Dr. Jules Hirsch, an obesity researcher, quoted in the NY Times:
There is an inflexible law of physics—energy taken in must exactly equal the number of calories leaving the system when fat storage is unchanged.Dr. Jules Hirsch, referenced from The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung
According to this theory, weight loss all comes down to calories, right? If I just stick to the right amount of calories, I’ll be totally fine, regardless of what those calories consist of.
This begs the obvious question – is a calorie really just a calorie? In other words, are all calories created equal? One man ate 5,000 calories per day for 21 days to prove the answer is unequivocally no.Continue Reading