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Intermittent Fasting Matters (Sometimes): There Is No Such Thing As A “Calorie” To Your Body, Part VIII
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January 15, 2014
5:46 am
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
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February 22, 2010
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Caution: contains SCIENCE!

In previous installments, we've proven the following:

  • A calorie is not a calorie when you eat it at a different time of day.
  • A calorie is not a calorie when you eat it in a differently processed form.
  • A calorie is not a calorie when you eat it as a wholly different food.
  • A calorie is not a calorie when you eat it as protein, instead of carbohydrate or fat.
  • A calorie is not a calorie when you change the type of fat, or when you substitute it for sugar.
  • A calorie is not a calorie at the low end…
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January 15, 2014
8:41 am
pzo
Guest

As always, fascinating.

I've been slowly losing weight over the last year, then got stalled in the same 5 pound range for months. Now, I can't tell you if the potato starch I've been taking for several months suddenly kicked in (well, the bacteria,) or my new regimen of not eating for 15-18 hours a day is responsible. Or, both. And, I always lose weight when I stick to low carb.

I've lost five pounds in six days. Really. Yesterday I punched a new hole in my belt.

Last week the Diane Rheem show had two men on it, they have written a book on IF. And Diane herself has been practicing it, losing 20 pounds. They do the more difficult one, not eating for a day twice a week.

It would be interesting to know if that type of IF'ing is of more benefit than the 15-17 hour kind.

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January 15, 2014
8:55 am
Brace
Guest

At my skinniest and healthiest, I practiced this without realizing it. Going to start practicing it again.

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January 15, 2014
9:37 am
Dave
Guest

I started my HFLC journey two years ago. I don't need to lose weight, but I'm still experimenting. For the past few months I've been eating just one big meal most days. Okay, I do drink a few cups of coffee with heavy cream during the day, but I don't think this has much, if any, effect on insulin and blood sugar.

Given that I'm practicing IF, I've felt freer to introduce more carbs back into my diet. However, the majority of my calories still come from fats. At this time I feel good about my health and have good energy throughout the day. I've absolutely no desire for breakfast, and the hunger pangs I used to feel around lunch have diminished. Many days when I get to dinner time, I'm still not particularly hungry.

Your article pretty much confirms my own n=1.

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January 15, 2014
10:28 am
Bill Lagakos
Guest

Nice, J! I like your framing of the purified high fat diet as an "industrial diet." Puts it into perspective nicely.

Grain-based rodent chows are even healthier than purified low fat diets, which themselves do a number on the intestines.

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January 15, 2014
4:16 pm
Ash Simmonds
Guest

Why hasn't there been an interventional study on the colour of calories yet?

I mean they say red meat is bad, and to get as many colourful veggies in your diet as possible - especially green ones.

Is it maybe as simple as classifying calories like a traffic light system?

Green calories: Go
Red calories: Stahp

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January 15, 2014
4:21 pm
Ash Simmonds
Guest

They all come out brown in the end, therefore brown calories are the most efficient as they don't have to undergo the metabolically expensive pigmentation modifications.

TL;DR - cover red meat (bad colour calories) in chocolate (good colour calories).

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January 15, 2014
4:29 pm
Ash Simmonds
Guest

Or what happens when you mix red calories with green calories... BROWN CALORIES!

Holy shit...

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January 16, 2014
1:26 pm
Johnnyv
Guest

Leave your steak in the fridge for several days extra and it will become healthy green instead of red, problem solved Ash.

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January 16, 2014
2:28 pm
UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 49
Member Since:
June 14, 2011
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A remarkable study you quote there. It certainly goes some way to shine a light on the complex biology sitting between calories in and calories out!

I've recently been drawing upon ideas on how grazing and inactivity seem to blur the signal to noise ratio required to inform our inner self, helping it to effectively manage energy stores and expenditure over the short, medium and long-term. Information needed by your body to control appetite, motivation & activity.

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January 16, 2014
6:53 pm
Johnnyv
Guest

Here you go Asclepius
Aerobic exercise reduces neuronal responses in food reward brain regions.
http://jap.physiology.org/content/112/9/1612.long
Similar effects with overfeeding, high protein meals and exogenous leptin administration.

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January 17, 2014
6:54 am
pzo
Guest

Any informed thoughts on the below?

My FBG was running in the high 110's and low 120's, spring and summer. I started on a potato starch supplement over two months ago, settling on 6 TBL's a day. Very soon, my FBG measurements were in the 90's, then 80's, hovering in there with an occasion high in the70's. My diet then was pretty close to PHD, my carbs were running high 90's/day average. (I recored everything in http://www.dietorganizer.com .)

I'd been very unofficially trying to not eat for 12-15 hours overnight for a long time. A week ago after hearing that Diane Rheem show, above, I decided to get to 17-18 hours fasting. Not easy, for sure. Breakfast at 10 or so, dinner at 4 or so. Then the long evening...........

"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned." I have some very small nibbles, even non-paleo things my brother/roommate is fixing and I'm tempted. But last night's secret sins amounted to only 7.1 grams of carbs, 42 for the entire day. (Losing weight.)

Eleven-twelve hours later from last tiny morsel, my FBG's are now running over 100, 110 the last two days. These increased levels started when I went from 12 hour "fasts" to 18 hour, and carbs cut in half.

Thoughts?

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January 17, 2014
7:39 am
Dave
Guest

@ pzo,

in my personal experience it is not necessary to practice any form of intentional caloric restriction when I eat only one meal per day (or two meals within a 4-6 hour period). I often eat to satisfaction, and then some. Of course, I do have some hunger pangs when it is close to feeding time, but it's not a ravenous can't-think-of-nothing-but-food kind of hunger.

While I value using the results from my glucometer, I don't obsess over getting 'perfect' results so long as mind and body seem to be functioning well. I used to experience reactive hypoglycemia. Those big swings in BG are not good for the mind.

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January 17, 2014
9:08 pm
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
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pzo:

I am aware of no data to support the concept that resistant starch makes you lose weight, and there is a great deal of data to the contrary: see this article.  So I suspect that your weight loss has much more to do with your new IF regimen!

Furthermore, my experience suggests that the response to IF is highly individual.  Some people do well on the Warrior Diet (continual 20-hour fasts); some do best with the standard 16/8; some do well on the 5/2 plan; and some, particularly women of reproductive age, don't do well at any more than 14/10, or sometimes at all.  You'll have to experiment to find out what works best for you...

...but when you find something that does work, don't be in a hurry to change it!  Ride the wave of success for as long as you can, because there are usually far more ways to screw up than there are to succeed.

As for myself, I have no problems with hunger at 16/8-- but unlike Martin Berkhan or the clients he posts pictures of, I am unable to gain muscle mass while on any sort of IF regimen.

 

Brace:

"Don't eat when you're not hungry" is a good guide to IF.  If you're not hungry when you get up, don't eat breakfast.  If you're not hungry for a meal, skip it...and don't feel like you have to do things the same way every day.  Sometimes I skip breakfast, sometimes I don't.

 

Dave:

Absolutely.  Fasting lets your body use up whatever it's digesting and go back to retrieving nutrients from storage.  I think of it as a sort of metabolic "reset".  As such, your glucose tolerance is likely increased after a short fast, and you'll be better able to tolerate carbohydrate.

 

Bill:

Any time you see "control diet" and "high-fat diet", substitute the terms "natural diet" and "industrial diet".  (Assuming the "high-fat diet" is D12492/58Y1, or any similar combination of casein, purified sugars, industrial lard and/or seed oils, etc.)  It makes the results of the research much more clear.  

Mice are natural seed-eaters, and are mostly herbivorous, so feeding them 60% lard is like feeding horses 60% lard.  Not to mention that D12492 is formulated specifically to make C57BL/6 ("black six") mice obese as quickly as possible...

...so when you see a headline about the deleterious effects of "high-fat diets", the proper response is "DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHH".  A more realistic headline is "Mice fed a diet specifically designed to make them fat and sick, become fat and sick."  This is about 90% of modern "obesity research", whose job is to turn this trivial result into something that gets NIH funding for further study.

 

Ash, Johnnyv:

I do not like green eggs and ham.

 

Asclepius:

Our bodies adapt to conditions.  If you never fast, the post-prandial state becomes your new metabolic and cognitive baseline.

Johnnyv:

Absolutely.  The central point of my hunger research is that "reward" is not a property of food: it is a property we assign to food, based on our current nutritional and metabolic state.  

Therefore, the term "food reward" is intrinsically misleading -- because it implies that "reward" is a singular property of the food itself.  And it becomes impossible to explain results like those in your citation...or common-sense phenomena like "Why does food taste so much better when I'm hungry?"

 

pzo:

I see two possibilities here.

1. Resistant starch isn't magic, and its FBG-lowering effects wear off over time as your body adapts to a new equilibrium state.

2. Between fasting and carb restriction, your body is becoming insulin-resistant in order to adapt to the lack of carbohydrate (the state Petro calls "physiological insulin resistance").  You might try going full keto most days and refeeding carbs once every 4-7 days (depending on activity level).

In general, I agree with Dave: calorie restriction and IF are usually not good partners.

You might also experiment with vinegar, which has been proven in controlled studies to improve blood glucose control.  (For some reason, this fact has been lost in all the anecdotal RS hype.)  

 

Dave:

In general, I agree: CR and IF don't go well together.

JS

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January 18, 2014
6:38 am
pzo
Guest

Thank you, "J" and Dave. To clarify:

After I posted, I sort of remembered reading about higher FBG levels on VLC somewhere else, would have been Mark's forum or Freetheanimal. I'm neither alone in experiencing this, nor, really, fixating. :) I think of my constant monitoring of BG, weight, and blood pressure as a way of figuring out what works and what doesn't.

J, I did read a lot of the tatertot cited articles, and yes, some things are contradictory. The theory of why RS might help both BG and weight loss is, for my lack of a better term, cellular tuning. More efficient. Post-PS for even a short time, my bicycling level goes up. And now, post-PS for several months, it stays up. I have my routes, and my GPS, and sometimes over the last few years, I've recorded times and average speeds. So here I am, two years older, and I'm doing better.

The matter of being hungry doesn't even arise. You are all correct. What I'm talking about in the long evening is what I call "eatertainment." A flavor buzz. For almost fifty years of my life I had to keep eating to not lose weight, (ironic, eh?) it's a hard habit to break! But I will.....

"Calorie restriction" can be a broad definition. Yes, a 600 kcal/day diet for a large guy like me would signal the body to save energy and start shutting down "wasted" functions. My restriction is modest, I eat 1500-2100 kcals a day, my calculated BMR is around 2500. It works for me, all the energy I want.

Eating only when hungry is certainly the ideal, and a hard change of habit from culturally assigned times to eat or "eatertainment." I'm working towards that standard.

Whatever I'm doing right, whatever I'm doing wrong, here's the IF bottom line: I've lost four pounds in the last five days. Only rode the bike once, moderately.

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January 18, 2014
7:19 am
pzo
Guest

For all the CICO believers (not here, of course!) grapple with this:

The last five days Paul averaged 1562kcals intake. Paul "spent", approximately, 2662kcals a day. So, lessee, in CICO theory land, Paul lost 1.4 pounds, right?

Oh, wait! He lost four pounds? Obviously he's lying! Or, maybe he's starving himself!

Or, maybe this 18/6 thing (and PS?) is awesome. As my doctor and I nodded in agreement once, our bodies are very mysterious. Still.

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January 18, 2014
7:25 am
Dave
Guest

@ pzo,

Looks like you're on top of things! :)

As far as "eatertainment" goes, that's the reason I eat my one big meal between 5 and 7 pm. For example, yesterday I worked until 5, rode my bike home (not far really), got some cash and walked to the grocery store to buy food, an hour round trip. Got home, washed the dishes, cooked food, etc. All that time I was only mildly hungry and had plenty of energy. Finally, I ate. Dessert was some 88% cocoa chocolate I picked up at the store. And I only ate 3 squares. I enjoyed it, but as much as I love chocolate, I had no desire for more.

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January 18, 2014
7:38 am
pzo
Guest

@ Dave, compliment to me back at ya'.

Not sure if I'll ever go to the one meal per day, but I am, as of this AM, going to roll my mealtimes back what is normal in our culture, noon and 6 PM. The last few days have been 10 AM and 4 PM. Just sort of fell into that with my first 18 hour fast. Today and for a few days, I'll do an hour later, and then do noon/six.

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January 18, 2014
3:17 pm
pzo
Guest

Thanks, Dave. Aware of IF for four years, that show is what really convinced me to get serious about it.

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