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I know if you burn more calories than you consume you lose weight. But I am asking how does it actually physically work. Where does the weight go?

So there are some specific questions and then I'll leave it open to you guys to flush this topic out (get it).

Let's say I eat a pound of broccoli, 150 calories, I must weig speed test h 1 pound more when I initially eat it (I hope) but according to nutrition science to gain a pound we need to consume 3000 more calories than we burn, so this weight must leave my body somehow. How?

  showbox When we work out if we burn 3000 calories we lose a pound, how does it actually leave the body? I think I saw somewhere that the reaction that burns fat leaves behind water and CO2 so this would imply that you sweat it out and breathe it out, just want more depth on this.

Then I was trying to think of a scenario where there are more than 3000 calories in a pound of something you eat, let's say you eat a pound of pure fat, that's 9 calories per gram, so a little over 4000 calories. Holding all else constant if you eat a poun usps tracking d of fat will you gain more than a pound of weight and if so how?

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  • 2 months later...
Guest DeadStarsStillBurn

Hey Mike this is a really good question. It just so happens I was a trained biologist in my undergraduate and a physicist in my graduate education and I also have a background in healthcare management systems and work in healthcare now. I realize this does not make me an exercise kinesiologist or a sports medicine person and it doesn't make me a dietitian it doesn't make me a physician however I do have some insight into the metabolic pathways of the body and how fat is converted into energy.

You are correct that eating the same mass of fat as of protein or carbohydrate will result in a greater amount of energy being absorbed by the body and it is excess energy that the body stores for later either in the form of fat or in the form of complex sugars stored in the liver.

By the same logic the same calorie count of fat will be lower in mass than an equivalent calorie count of protein or carbohydrate because you get more calories per gram. This is sort of like the famous question which weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of rocks obviously they weigh the same they're both 1 lb but most people get it wrong and say oh obviously the rocks way more well it's a pound of feathers and a pound of rock. But which one would you rather get hit with I'd way rather get hit with a pound of feathers because they're not dense and won't break my face. Same thing with fat fat is energy dense whereas carbohydrates and protein are relatively energy sparse.

Actually I wanted to give a quick caveat that carbohydrate actually has less than 4 calories per gram in some circumstances. For example a gram of soluble fiber has about two calories per gram because some of the fiber is digested by enzymes from bacteria in your gut and that energy is used by the bacteria before your body can absorb any of the metabolites produced So some of that energy is lost your gut bacteria. Insoluble fiber has zero calories per gram approximately and that's why you see this phenomenon of net carbs. Insoluble fiber basically moves through your digestive system and your body cannot process it and doesn't process it and so it is either completely passed through your system in the form of bulk or is only moderately acted on by bacteria in your colon at any rate the point is your body doesn't absorb any energy in an appreciable level from it and so you effectively get no calories from it. Therefore when you look at total carbohydrates on a USDA label on the back of a food product or online if it's for produce and you see total carbohydrates and net carbohydrates it should be the case that total minus net gives you the total grams of insoluble fiber. Now if there are any dietitians or nutritionists in the room they may correct me with some specifics and caveats and what have you But that's the general rule of thumb that I'm familiar with I again I'm not a dietician.

So anyway as to your point about how energy is derived from these molecules, it has to do with the chemical energy stored inside of these molecules. When you take two atoms of different elements and you fuse them together there is a certain amount of energy caught up in the electrochemical physical interaction between those atoms or between parts of different molecules So when you're looking at a large molecule like a hydrocarbon and you're breaking it down into smaller parts there is energy that is released as that molecule is broken up. Obviously I'm simplifying that a great deal if you never got a chance to take a chemistry class definitely take a chemistry class it will really open your eyes as to how the world works and how your own body works and fascinating ways in my humble opinion as a scientist. I realize however chemistry is not everyone's cup of tea and some people want to just snooze as soon as they crack a book because it's very dry material at times so your mileage may vary.

With that all said the reason there is more energy derived from a gram of fat than there is from a gram of carbohydrate or protein has to do with the fact that fats essentially have three side chains of hydrocarbons per molecule of fat whereas carbohydrates and proteins typically do not per gram. So the actual amount of energy available in a gram of the fat is just higher and the body processes it accordingly and takes as much energy out of it as it can because the body is adapted to survive in a world where tomorrow is not guaranteed and there could be a famine a drought or what have you The body's metabolism doesn't understand that you have a refrigerator in a grocery store down the block that is well stocked it thinks that there's a tiger behind every bush in a famine with every sunrise and so it says I had better get every speck of energy out of everything I eat that I can and I better store it as long as I can so we don't starve to death.

So yes weight loss works when you are burning more energy both with your resting base metabolism and with your activity per day than you are consuming and doing that long term will lead to slow but steady weight loss You really don't want to see more than 2 lb a week because you are at risk of bombarding your system with toxins that are fat soluble and are stored in your tissues and your adipose cells and you're also at risk of causing organ damage and insufficient energy supply to key systems that could make you sick over long term.

So Cronometer is a really great app for that as it lets you track the macro and micronutrients in everything you eat as you log it and it lets you scan barcodes on products to load exactly what's in them and if the product isn't already in there very large database you can take a picture of the USDA label and a picture of the front of the package and it'll update everything automatically for you which is pretty swell. That will also let you set what your goal weight is what your ideal weight loss per week is and let you track exactly how many calories you've had for the day and way that against how much fiber you're getting how much vitamin A b c d etc how much calcium how much iron all of the good stuff and make certain that you are getting sufficient nutrition even though you are restricting calories. I have found in my own personal life and in the personal life of my partner that this has been a huge benefit because it very much helps you to shut down hunger pangs when you look and see that you've already had 2,300 calories for the day and you've had 100% of the daily recommended intake of your iron your fiber your you know protein etc etc it's a very easy thing to then say well I must just be having a hunger paying I'm not nutritionally deficient in anything I'm not malnourished anyway I need to just learn to deal with pains and stride and rise above it and you do that for a couple of weeks and you find that you just naturally want to eat less.

If you couple that with exercise in a moderate level not crazy you know nuts to the wall kind of exercise on top of restricting your calories you will lose weight steadily I've lost 30 lb over the last four to five weeks I had quite a lot to lose so it's coming off of me pretty quickly but it's been a really good journey so far I feel much healthier my blood pressure has stabilized my resting heart rate has dropped to a much better level and my general energy level is better as well as my outlook and my concentration so I found nothing but benefits from calorie restriction I am using the c25k app just to time my runs and to build up to a better amount of running over time so that I'm I have more stamina I tend to be a slow runner and I need the encouragement.

If you want more details than this and I really curious I'm happy to talk with you at greater length feel free to send me a DM or a response of this asking for a continued conversation and dialogue and I'll hop off of my voice to text and hop onto a keyboard and type this properly by the by if there's any weird typos in this is because I'm doing voice to text and didn't want to go back and proofread everything for 5 minutes at the end of this because it's the end of the day and I'm tired So forgive me.

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Guest DeadStarsStillBurn

Oh and PS, proteins are actually the form of calorie that are the least likely to form fat because they require the greatest amount of metabolic activity to break down The specifics of why that is get into the individual chemical reaction steps of the metabolic pathway so that gets pretty deep into biochemistry and that's beyond the scope of a forum post probably we will have people catatonic at the end of that and I certainly don't remember all the steps off the top of my head but there are just more steps the body has to go through to convert a calorie of energy from protein into something useful in the form of glucose and so there's just not a whole lot of energy left over with which to produce fat if you're eating a lot of protein that said eating an excessive amount of protein actually increases your insulin like growth factor one levels which are pro-inflammatory and are associated with reduced longevity and a lot of other disease processes So it's actually not a great thing to eat gigantically excessive amounts of protein So the people who are going around beating their chests and telling you that you should eat a huge salmon fillet and a steak dinner everyday with a little bit of broccoli and a couple of potatoes to round out your plate are to say it politely not very well versed on biochemistry and longevity studies because what that kind of diet will do is of course help you to lose weight but it will also make you live a much shorter lifespan It's much better to have a larger amount of carbohydrates but healthy carbohydrates with lots of fiber and then a moderate intake of protein so that you have plenty of protein to sustain your body your immune system that sort of thing but not excessive amounts that cause your mitochondria to work over time and produce more reactive oxygen species which in turn cause cellular insult and inflammation which in turn leads to genetic damage which in turn ages the cell which in turn kills younger So there's obviously a lot more to a complex topic like that than what I can spell out here but take it from me having done a lot of reading on this and having been educated in the sciences all my professional career that you don't want to have a gigantic amount of protein in your diet You probably want to keep it to know more than about 1.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight that you're trying to maintain It's very difficult to eat one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight when you're very overweight So if you're like 350 lb and you're a 5 ft 10 guy and you're trying to cut down to like 150 or something aim for trying to eat as much protein as you can towards the goal of getting 1.9 grams per kilogram but don't go crazy with it and and try to get 100% of that just because you'll be eating nothing but protein and won't get sufficient micronutrients to sustain yourself it would be fine to get like 70% of the way there and just keep losing the weight at a steady pace that just helps to make sure you're keeping your muscle mass on so that you don't preferentially burn muscle instead of fat You want to burn fat muscle So if you're exercising and using the muscle it's an indicator to the body that hey that was an important thing to keep around because we used it so the body isn't going to metabolize muscle that's being actively repaired if it has something else that can preferentially metabolize instead that would be what your fat stores are for. If you do not use a muscle your body will say well this is highly metabolically active and is draining a lot of energy and we clearly have an energy bottleneck right now so blow this cut it loose and you'll find that muscle over time will I don't want to say atrophy but it will it will waste a little bit so make sure you're doing full body exercise in the form of calisthenics a little jogging some push-ups that sort of thing that's weight-bearing that'll keep your bone mass and your muscle mass on and help you to burn fat instead

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